QUESTION : What must India do better to keep pace with its South Asian neighbor’s in tackling hunger? Analyse the causes and the challenges in achieving this goal.






SDG-2 :Removing Hunger 




16th of October is being celebrated as World Food Day. Food is the essence of life and the bedrock of our cultures and communities. A proper food system can be a powerful means to bring people together to grow, nourish, and sustain the planet. 




  • It is a framework that includes every aspect of feeding and nourishing people: from growing, harvesting and processing to packaging, transporting, marketing and consuming food.


  • To be sustainable, a food system must provide enough nutritious food for all without compromising feeding future generations.




  • Global hunger: More than two billion people globally still lack access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food.


o Projections show that the world is not on track to achieve zero hunger by 2030, or to meet global nutrition targets.


  • Multi-dimensionality of India’s food challenges:


o Malnutrition, Anemia:

The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2016-18 revealed that over 40 million children are chronically malnourished, and more than half of Indian women aged 15-49 years are anaemic.


o Intensified food production systems with excessive use of chemicals and unsustainable farming practices cause soil degradation, fast depletion of groundwater table and rapid loss of agro-biodiversity.


o Fragmentation of landholdings: In India, more than 86% of farmers have less than two hectares of land contributing around 60% of the total food grain production and over half the country’s fruits and vegetables.


o Climate change continues to be a real and potent threat to agrobiodiversity, which will impact everything from productivity to livelihoods across food and farm systems.


 Climate-related shocks made it difficult for farmers to deal with pest and locust attacks, as well as floods and cyclones.


  • COVID-19 poses a threat to food security and agricultural livelihoods. It also compounds the threats already faced by 690 million people around the world.




  • Public distribution system: Central and State governments were able to distribute around 23 million tonnes food grain during lockdown through the Public Distribution System. It provided much-needed emergency assistance to families around the country.


o The government also successfully mobilised food rations for 820 million people including finding alternate solutions to provide food rations to 90 million schoolchildren.


  • Agricultural growth: Due to the government’s efforts to remove bottlenecks in the food supply chain during lockdown, the agriculture sector grew at 3.4% during the first quarter this financial year and the area cultivated this kharif exceeded 110 million hectares.


  • Agricultural productivity has improved significantly in recent decades. India has gone from being a net importer to a net exporter of food grains.


  • Dealing with climate change through the development of drought and flood tolerant seed varieties, weather-based agricultural advisories, promotion of millets, and small-scale irrigation.


  • The Integrated Child Development Services provides cooked meals and take-home rations to 100 million children under the age of six, as well as to pregnant and lactating mothers.


  • The mid-day meal programme under which every child in every Government and Government aided primary school was to be served a prepared Mid Day Meal.




  • The UN, and its three agencies — the FAO (The Food and Agriculture Organisation), IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development) and WFP (The World Food Programme) are working with government, civil society, farmers’ organisations and the private sector to build sustainable food systems.


o The FAO is celebrating 75 years of fighting hunger in over 130 countries.


o IFAD has become the first UN agency to receive a credit rating.


o For its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict, WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.


  • The food agencies of the United Nations (UN) have pledged to work together to end hunger, eradicate food insecurity and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2.




  • It is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations.


  • It is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the largest one focused on hunger and food security, and the largest provider of school meals.


  • Founded in 1961, it is headquartered in Rome





  • In India, resilient food systems will have to be built back as the world is not on track to achieve global targets.


  • The way India produce foods must change through agroecology and sustainable production practices in agriculture and allied sectors.


  • All of the nations across the world must stop the waste: one-third of the food we produce is wasted.


  • World should call for global solidarity to help all populations, and especially the most vulnerable, to recover from the crisis, and to make food systems more resilient and robust.


  • Governments, the private sector, civil society and local communities have a role to play in transforming food systems.


  • World should withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks and deliver affordable and sustainable healthy diets for all, and provide decent livelihoods for food chain workers.


  • We must all work in concert to make sure that our food systems nourish a growing population and sustain the planet, together.




As countries begin to develop and implement COVID-19 recovery plans, it is also an opportunity to adopt innovative solutions based on scientific evidence so they can build back better and make food systems more resilient and sustainable.


QUESTION : Discuss the aims and objectives of UN’s World Food Programme.






Nobel Peace Prize-2020




Nobel peace prize of 2020 has been accorded to World Food Programme (WFP) for its efforts to combat hunger, bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.





  • According to the WFP, 132 million more people could become malnourished as a consequence of the pandemic.


  • To the 690 million people who go to bed each night on an empty stomach, perhaps another 100 million or more will be added.




  • Founded in 1961, WFP is the food assistance branch of United Nations


  • It deals with hunger eradication and promotes food security in the world.


  • WFP is funded completely by voluntary donations.


  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and works in close tandem with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).


  • WFP partners with more than 1,000 national and international NGOs to provide food assistance and tackle the underlying causes of hunger.


  • WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation implementing school feeding programmes worldwide




  • Hunger as Weapon of War: For its efforts to combat hunger and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict, WFP was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.


  • Need for International Cooperation: The message this award is sending to the world — that we need multilateralism as an expression of international solidarity.


  • Dangers of Pandemic: The award is also a warning that the novel coronavirus pandemic is reversing the substantial gains made in the fight against hunger and poverty. The Nobel Prize to the WFP will nudge our collective conscience to come together and relieve this looming humanitarian crisis.


  • Need for Funding: The WFP’s achievement are modest, not because it is an inefficient institution, but because it is perennially under-funded





  • An important message which this award is sending to the world is that the world needs multilateralism as an expression of international solidarity in the face of the global crisis




  • Food, energy and water security are inter-linked with strong feedback loops. There exists inter-connectedness among these challenges.


  • Enhancing food security may lead to diminished water and energy security. It may also have collateral impact on health security.


  • Raising crop yields with current agricultural strategies means higher incremental use of chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides.


  • India’s unprotected farmers are exposed to serious health risks as a result and often get bankrupted not due to crop failure but debilitating health costs.


  • One has to realize of these inter-connections and hence come together to work collectively in a multilateral framework.


  • A narrow Nationalistic approach to global challenges like Climate Change, hunger and Poverty will not be sustainable in long run


  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are cross-domain but also cross-national in character, and hence demand greater multilateral cooperation in order to succeed.


  • Thus, there is need for a more democratic world order since lack of cooperation from even a single state may frustrate success in tackling a global challenge.




Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba is working with WFP to develop digital “World Hunger Map”.


  1. The map will help to monitor global hunger and operations to end scourge by 2030 which is one of UN’s key Sustainable Development goals.


  1. It also aims to boost efficiency of interventions and shorten emergency response times.




A fresh pandemic may erupt in any remote corner of the world and spread throughout the globe. Prevention cannot be achieved through coercion, only through cooperation. It is only multilateralism that makes this possible.

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