Nepal faring better than other South Asian countries in fight against hunger

Kathmandu, October 14

Nepal has fared better than any other South Asian country, including India, to be ranked 72nd in the 2016 Global Hunger Index, an indication that it is making gradual progress in fighting hunger.

Nepal ranked 72nd with a GHI score of 21.9 followed by Sri Lanka, which ranked 84th with a score of 25.5, Bangladesh 90th with 27.1, India 97th with 28.5, Pakistan 107th with 33.4 and Afghanistan 111th with a score of 34.8 among 118 countries.

Nepal had scored 36.8 in 2000 and 29.2 in 2008. As many as 14 countries, including Bhutan, were not included in the GHI because of absence of data.

The US-based International Food Policy Research Institute calculates GHI.

Countries that scored less than 9.9 suggest low severity of hunger, while 10 to 19.9 shows moderate level of hunger, 20 to 34.9 shows serious problem of hunger, 35 to 49.9 score means alarming hunger level and a score above 50 shows an extremely alarming hunger situation.

The 2016 GHI score indicates Nepal is still in the serious zone.

Around 7.8 per cent population in Nepal is undernourished, lacking adequate food intake, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Countries worse than India include extremely poor African countries such as Niger, Chad, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, besides two of India’s neighbours: Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China all rank above India.

Two measures of child hunger wasting and stunting are used to give a more complete picture of hunger in the countries. Wasting refers to low weight in relation to a child’s height, reflecting acute under-nutrition.

Stunting refers to the deficiency in height in relation to age, reflecting chronic under-nutrition.

The 2016 GHI presents a multidimensional measure of national, regional, and global hunger, focusing on how the world can get to Zero Hunger by 2030.

Levels of hunger are still serious or alarming in 50 countries. The highest hunger levels are still found in Africa south of the Sahara and South Asia.

Although GHI scores for these two regions have declined over time, the current levels remain close to the alarming category.

Africa south of the Sahara has achieved the largest absolute improvement since 2000 and South Asia has also seen a sizeable reduction, but decline in hunger must accelerate in these regions if the world is to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.