Monday, October 17, 2011

World Food Day: Pakistan Hunger Rising

World hunger data collected from 2006 to 2009 shows that Pakistan's hunger index score has worsened this year to 20.7 (based on 2009 data and reported in 2011) after three prior consecutive years of improvement. International Food Research Institute's GHI (Global Hunger Index) score for Pakistan improved from 21.7 in 2008 to 21.0 in 2009 to 19.1 in 2010, and its world ranking has dropped to 59 in 2011 from 52 in 2010. It was ranked 61 in 2008 and 58 in 2009 on a list of 81+ nations.

Global Hunger Index Scores and Rankings For Selected Countries

Among other South Asian nations, India's GHI score improved to 23.7 in 2011 to where it was in three years earlier in 2008 after worsening from 23.7 (2008) to 23.9 (2009) to 24.1 (2010). India's ranking remained at 67 in 2011, the same as it was in 2010 but worse than 66 in 2008 and 65 in 2009.


Pakistan GHI...21.7...............21.0.................19.1..................20.7

Pak Ranking....61.................58...................52....................59

India GHI......23.7...............23.9.................24.1..................23.7

India Ranking..66.................65....................67...................67

Since taking the reins of power more than three years ago, the coalition government in Islamabad, which is led by the Pakistan Peoples' Party, has been increasing the support prices of wheat and other agricultural commodities every year, a policy at least partly driven by politics of patronage to enrich the PPP's rural landowning constituency.

In 2008, the current government pushed the procurement price of wheat up from Rs. 625 per 40 kg to Rs. 950 per 40 kg. This action immediately triggered inflationary pressures that have continued to persist as food accounts for just over 40% of Pakistan's consumer price index. According to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) analysis, cumulative price of wheat surged by 120 per cent since 2008, far higher than the 40 per cent between 2003 and 2007. it is also many times greater than the international market price increase of 22 per cent for wheat in the same period. Similarly, sugar prices have surged 184 per cent higher since 2008, compared with 46 per cent increase during 2003-07.

The World Food Program (WFP) officials agree that decline in food security in Pakistan is now an issue of affordability rather than availability. With stagflation and rising unemployment, growing numbers of people simply lack the income to buy sufficient food for themselves and their families, resulting in under-nutrition and growing hunger.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Rural Economy Showing Strength

Politics of Patronage in Pakistan

IMF Country Report on Pakistan Poverty

Musharraf's Coup Revived Pakistan's Economy
Twelve Years Since Musharraf's Coup

State Bank of Pakistan Quarterly Reports

World Bank Poverty Report on Pakistan
Musharraf's Economic Legacy

Ishrat Husain: Structural Reforms in Pakistan's Economy
Pakistan's Economic Performance 2008-2010

Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan
Pakistan's Circular Debt and Load Shedding
US Fears Aid Will Feed Graft in Pakistan

Pakistan Swallows IMF's Bitter Medicine

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

India Pakistan Contrasted 2010
Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised
The "Poor" Neighbor by William Dalrymple
Pakistan's Modern Infrastructure

Video: Who Says Pakistan Is a Failed State?
India Worse Than Pakistan, Bangladesh on Nutrition
UNDP Reports Pakistan Poverty Declined to 17 Percent

Pakistan's Choice: Talibanization or Globalization

Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009

Pakistan's Economic History 1947-2010

South Asia Slipping in Human Development
BSE-Key Statistics
Pakistan Energy Crisis

IMF-Pakistan Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies

2011 World Hunger Index Report


Anonymous said...

has this affected the people living under poverty in both countries? Do you have the latest stats?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "has this affected the people living under poverty in both countries? Do you have the latest stats? "

Double digit food price increases have obviously hurt the poor the most in South Asia because the poor in India and Pakistan spend more than half their income on food.

Pavan said...

Thanks for this. Very informative. I think both India and Pakistan are just about retaining their low positions in the list.; Please note the steady and very impressive performance of Bangladesh. Over period of two decades, Bangladesh has improved its performance by 13.6 points whilst India and Pakistan have improved by a mere 6.7 and 5 points respectively. I see Bangladesh overtaking both India and Pakistan in a couple of years. I wonder if the Grameen Bank has anything to do with it. Pavan

Anonymous said...

Un less Developing Countries IMPOSE
Population Control like China
this problem will only get worse

Add to it the rising energy prices
and the cost of food production will only go up every year

Land and water are finite resources

Riaz Haq said...

When it comes to eating grass to build nukes, all of the available data from international sources shows that many Indians can't even find grass to eat, as hundreds of millions of Indians go to bed hungry every night.

Here's a quote from Times of India poking fun at the superpower claim:

With 21% of its population undernourished, nearly 44% of under-5 children underweight and 7% of them dying before they reach five years, India is firmly established among the world's most hunger-ridden countries. The situation is better than only Congo, Chad, Ethiopia or Burundi, but it is worse than Sudan, North Korea, Pakistan or Nepal.

Today India has 213 million hungry and malnourished people by GHI estimates although the UN agency Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) puts the figure at around 230 million. The difference is because FAO uses only the standard calorie intake formula for measuring sufficiency of food while the Hunger Index is based on broader criteria.

Riaz Haq said...

The number of hungry people has dropped in India with its score on the Global Hunger Index improving to 63rd position in 2013, but the country still lags behind China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Riaz Haq said...

The 2013 GHI says that in India the proportion of undernourished declined from about 21% of the population to 17.5%, the proportion of underweight children declined from 43.5% to about 40% and under-five mortality declined from 7.5% to about 6%. All this put together means that the hunger index for India declined from 24 to 21 between 2003-07 and 2008-12. The proportion of underweight children is an estimate done by IFPRI as the last survey was done in 2004-05.

In other words, the proportions and the index for India are at best an approximation. Other surveys done more recently have shown trends that indicate that the nutritive value of food consumed per person is dipping. A recent survey of consumer expenditure said that nutritional intake measured in terms of calories declined from 2,153 kilocalories (Kcal) per person per day in 1993-94 to 2,020 in 2009-10 in rural areas and from 2,071 to 1,946 Kcal in urban areas. These shocking results are according to a report of the 66th round of survey done by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO). Even between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the calorie intake per person per day dipped from 2,047 to 2,020 in rural areas and from 2,020 to 1,946 in urban areas.

Despite these caveats regarding the GHI data, India still continues in the "Alarming" category of countries classified by severity of hunger. That puts it in the category where the hunger index is between 20 and 29.9. Others in this category are Ethiopia, Sudan, Congo, Chad, Niger, and other African countries. These are places ravaged by resource wars and extreme poverty, and they make up the bottom most bunch in the Human Development Index rankings. Meanwhile, an October report on food prospects issued by FAO forecast a record cereal harvest for 2013 powered by a 7% increase in production over 2012. Wheat output is estimated at 705 million metric tons (MMT), a record. Coarse grains output is put at 1,288 MMT, another record. And rice output is estimated at 496 MMT, yet another record. Wheat prices have declined in international markets by 16% over last year, rice prices are down 23% and maize prices by 35%, according to FAO's price monitor in October quoting prices for September 2013. With huge production and declining prices worldwide, why the world's hungry are not getting enough food is a conundrum that policy makers and experts are groping to answer.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan plans zero hunger, family farming projects … via @Pakistan Observer

The government is in process of preparing a pilot project on National Zero Hunger and Family Farming Programme which would be implemented in most food insecure areas. A specially established National Zero Hunger Cell in Ministry of National Food Security and Research was tasked to prepare the pilot project before launching of larger National Zero Hunger Programme.
Official sources on Monday said in order to initiate the process of preparation of the pilot programme, a national mapping exercise was jointly undertaken by World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the concerned ministry to gain better understanding of ongoing programmes relating to school feeding, nutrition support, income generation and family farming support.
The sources said during the mapping exercise it was agreed that provinces would be taken into confidence before finalization of the programme. The programme will be implemented in most food insecure areas, in each of the four provinces of the country, in coordination with provincial governments.
The pilot project will help analyze the effects of the proposed intervention in each province and to incorporate lessons and experiences gathered into a more comprehensive programme.
Answering a question regarding levels of hunger and malnutrition in the country, the sources said the last National Nutrition Survey (NNS) was conducted by Aga Khan University’s Division of Women and Child Health, Ministry of Health and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
Ministry of National Health Services is also planning to conduct a National Nutrition Survey in 2017-18 by which latest information will be available. It is also important to mention that during the last three years in Pakistan food items like wheat, rice, maize, potatoes, onion, mango, citrus; palm dates, milk, meat etc. were produced in surplus as per country requirement.
The sources said for revitalization of agriculture, Federal government has taken some steps including Prime Minister’s Kissan Package, concessions of taxes and duties, reduction in prices of fertilizer, enhancement in target of agriculture credit and also guarantee scheme for small and marginalized farmers, reduction of cost of credit, concessional electricity tariff for Agriculture Tube Wells, concession of customs duty for Dairy, Livestock & Poultry Sectors.—APP