Hunger Overview

Hunger Overview

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The 2013 Hunger Report-Within Reach Global Development Goals (2012) calls for a final push to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets by 2015. Extraordinary progress has occurred in countries around the world and it is possible to replicate these achievements in more. The 2013 Hunger Report focuses special attention on the U.S. role in achieving the MDGs by 2015.

The 2013 Hunger Report explains why partnerships between governments around the world and between governments and civil society are crucial to achieving rapid progress against hunger and poverty. It discusses the challenges that must be overcome, which depends on strong leadership to meet these challenges head on. The report argues that in the next set of global development goals every country should set it owns national goals.


According to the 2013 Hunger Report-Within Reach Global Development Goals (2012), published by Bread for the World Institute,  

• India has experienced economic growth rates of 7 percent or higher every year since 1990—yet nearly half the children in the country (48 percent) are stunted because of malnutrition, and India’s child mortality rate is currently 40 percent too high for the country to achieve the MDG target.

• Compare India’s performance to that of Bangladesh, a much poorer country, whose GDP grew by only 3 percent annually over the same period, but whose rates of child stunting declined from 68 percent to 43 percent.

• Between 2002 and 2010, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an average of 8 percent annually. Over the same period, Brazil’s GDP grew by 4 percent annually. But Brazil was able to reduce poverty by 4.2 percent per year, compared to 1.4 percent per year in India.

• India leads all other countries in the number of women and children dying each year of preventable causes. It has the highest number of malnourished children and the highest number of people living in poverty. India lags far behind China and Brazil—also emerging economic powers—in reducing hunger. China and Brazil have already met the MDG target of halving hunger by 2015, but at its current rate of progress, India will not halve hunger until 2042.

• In India, underweight prevalence rate among children aged 0-59 months declined from 64 percent in 1993 to 61 percent in 2006 among the poorest 20 percent while the same declined from 37 percent in 1993 to 25 percent in 2006 among the richest 20 percent. Therefore, a greater reduction in underweight prevalence occurred in the richest 20% of households than in the poorest 20%. 

• Under the new National Food Security law, 180 of India’s 240 million households would gain the right to subsidized rations. Indian civil society organizations are lobbying the legislature to use the new law to create stronger linkages between food security and nutrition security.

• India’s own development challenges show up clearly in primary education, where standards vary dramatically and in some parts of the country are as low as Afghanistan and Yemen, war-town countries near the bottom of the Human Development Index.

• In India, child mortality rates differ widely across areas of the country. In West Bengal, more than 50 percent of parents believe the correct treatment for children with diarrhea is to reduce fluid intake, exactly the wrong thing to do; while in a different state, Kerala, fewer than 5 percent of parents think this is the correct treatment. It’s not a coincidence that child mortality is three times higher in West Bengal than in Kerala. 

• Poor understanding about the importance of proper feeding practices, combined with inadequate sanitation, is one of the main contributors to child mortality in India. Exclusive breastfeeding until the age of six months is a key factor in child survival. Breastfeeding takes time but otherwise is free.

• 90 percent of India’s water resources go to the agricultural sector, but only 10 to 15 percent ends up nourishing crops, with much of the rest wasted.

• Percentage of rural population in India with access to improved water source was 90.0% during 2007-2010 while the same in China was 85.0%.  

• In 2012, China (1350 million) is the most populous country followed by India (1260 million). By 2050, India (1691 million) would become the most populous country to be followed by China (1311 million). Global food demand is projected to increase by 50 percent by 2030.

• In India, percentage of agricultural land area to the total was 60.5% during 2009-10 while the same for China was 56.2%. Average cereal yield (kg per hectare of harvested land) in India during 2007-2010 was 2,537 kg per hectare while the same for China was 5,521 kg per hectare.   

• In South Asia, 94 percent of women in the richest 20 percent of households receive prenatal care, while only 48 percent of the poorest 20 percent have access to such care. 

• Globally, an estimated 165 million children under-five years of age, or 26 percent, were stunted (i.e., height-for-age) in 2011—a 35 percent decrease from an estimated 253 million in 1990.

• The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47 percent in 1990 to 24 percent in 2008—and preliminary estimates indicate in 2010 it fell below half the 1990 rate.

• Among the world’s population who lack access to improved drinking water sources, 83 percent live in rural areas.

• The share of agricultural development assistance declined from 17 percent of all development assistance in the late 1980s to 6 percent by the late 2000s. In 2000, net official development assistance stood at $55.4 billion. By 2009, when adjusted for inflation, it reached $152.2 billion. 

• There are an estimated 942 million working people globally—nearly 1 in 3 workers worldwide live below $2 a day. 

• One of the key recommendations of the 2013 Hunger Report is that a post-MDG global development framework should include a bull’s-eye goal to end hunger and poverty in every country in the world by 2040. It has also been recommended that a post-2015 global development framework should address climate change within the context of a clear overall focus on poverty.

Rural Expert

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