World food day: 27 pc households sans healthy food

Kathmandu, October 15:

There is a need to make food accessible to the country’s needy, since 27 per cent of the households of the country are “food insecure,” meaning they are not getting healthy food to consume.

Food security is linked to poverty and the number of people living under the poverty increased to 38 per cent in 2001 from 33 per cent in 1977, according to the data of United Nations Development Programme.

Experts say the number of people not having access to healthy food results in malnutrition and the problem should be addressed immediately, along with eradication of poverty.

Food Security Assessment of Nepal, conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation in July shows that in 2007, 42 districts in the country are likely to have food deficit due to inadequate agricultural production and poverty. It adds that 23 per cent of the total population of Nepal is malnourished.

Prem Dangal of Rights to Food Network-Nepal said, “Right to food is a preliminary human right, linked to the right to live.”

The interim constitution has incorporated the right to food as a fundamental right. “The mere inclusion is not enough, the right should be guaranteed.”

‘Nepal Demographic and Health Survey’ claims that 50 per cent children are stunting, 10 per cent are wasting and 48 per cent are underweight due to lack of nutritious food.

“The number of people consuming nutritious and qualitative food has o increase,” Nawa Raj Dahal, food researcher at the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control told this daily, demanding long-term plans and policies.

To raise awareness among the people regarding food security, the 27th ‘World Food Day’ is being celebrated with the theme ‘The Right to Food’ tomorrow.