Hunger scenario in
South Asia

Activities • Interventions
Hunger scenario in South Asia




South Asia despite being very rich in human and natural resources is the home of largest number of hungry and malnourished people in the world. At least 405 million people in South Asia suffered from chronic hunger in 2007-2008, up from 300 million in 2004-2006, according to UNICEF report. The report further added without urgent, inclusive government response, the poor of South Asia, nearly 20 percent of the world's population, will sink further into poverty and malnutrition with long-term negative consequences for growth and development in the region and globally, According to the Global Hunger Index Poverty in South Asia is predominantly a rural phenomenon and rural urban gap in terms of poverty is increasing alarmingly. Rural economy of South Asia suffers from problems of unemployment and poor employment conditions. Peasants are often landless or near landless and agricultural wage labourers do not have access to adequate wages to ensure their food security. Increase in rural poverty has resulted into more rural urban migration of youth and these poor youth often end up in taking shelter in slums and they are further exploited in the urban areas by various actors.

The root causes of poverty in South Asia are rooted in its history which has promoted a structure of socio, economic and cultural discriminations. Poor actors, peasants, fishers, forest dwellers, pastoralists, rural women who are producers of food, often go hungry in our countries because they do not have access to land, water, forest. The neo-liberal paradigm has weakened social security structures in our countries by imposing conditions on our governments (by World Bank, IMF) thus the poor actors have less access to social security benefits and entitlements.

In the above context when we look at our situation today in South Asia, we notice with apprehension that there are new trends emerging at global levels which are further endangering our food security in South Asia. These include agenda of corporatization of agriculture pushed by IFI further, increased privatization of natural resources, non implementation of genuine agrarian reform, increase in land grabbing by corporate and also by powerful states, promotion of monoculture (bio-fuel, sugar cane production) in the name of addressing climate change concerns etc.

The need of the hour is to hold our states and other global actors accountable and create pressure on these actors to listen to peoples aspirations and to ensure inclusive governance at grassroots. In this context several Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) feel the strong need for highlighting their demands for genuine resource reforms and for full realization of above commitments.

We strongly feel that the fundamental need is to challenge neo-liberal development paradigm, which is promoting wrong notion of development and exploiting our people. To challenge neo-liberal global paradigm, our people have focused on Food Sovereignty as people's development paradigm. Food Sovereignty is the right of peoples, communities and countries to define their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food and land policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances.

 

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