The number of undernourished people has dropped by almost half in the past two decades because of rapid economic growth and increased agricultural productivity.
Unfortunately, extreme hunger and malnutrition remain a huge barrier to development in many countries. There are 821 million people estimated to be chronically undernourished as of 2017, often as a direct consequence of environmental degradation, drought and biodiversity loss. Food security is influenced by a number of factors including those that determine food availability and as well as determinants of food access, utilisation and vulnerability.
Achieeving sufficient food security involves promoting sustainable agricultural, supporting small-scale farmers and equal access to land, technology and markets. It also requires international cooperation to ensure investment in infrastructure and technology to improve agricultural productivity.
Despite the gains in reducing poverty rate, India is saddled with high levels of malnutrition, anaemia, stunting and wasting. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), almost half the pregnant women aged between 15-49 are anaemic and more than one-thirds of the women have low body mass index. Among children younger than 5, 38.4% have low height-for-age and 21% have low weight-for-age. Food security and nutrition pose a challenge in India because of a number of factors such as inadequate access to food, structural inequalities (gender, caste, social groups), lack of water and sanitation, micronutrient deficiencies and illeteracy.