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Need to Tackle Hunger and Malnutrition
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma9/6/2018 10:06:45 PM
Every year National Nutrition Week is observed from 1st to 7th of September by thousands of people across the nation to create awareness about the importance of nutrition and eating nutritious food for their better health. The theme of this year National Nutrition Week is " Go Further with Food" and in 2017 it was "Optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices: Better Child Health" This week is celebrated by various organisations concerned with the nutritional security with full enthusiasm and people commit together to eliminate hunger and malnutrition from society. This week reminds us that we should take action for the eradication of hunger and malnutrition. During this week awareness on eradication of hunger and malnutrition from the society is created among the people so that they can live a healthy life. The reasons behind hunger and malnutrition are acknowledged. The celebration of this week also helps in increasing awareness on the effective agriculture and food policies to mitigate the nutritional problem. On this day slogan competitions on nutritional security, essay competition on food and nutritional security, TV and radio talks etc. are organised by various organisations. On this day several organisations guide the people about the use of safe and healthy food and avoid the fast food. This year theme focuses on the main source of nutrition which should be chosen wisely and needs to explore the nutritious food options. While leading a healthy lifestyle, most of us think that dieting is the solution but eating a balanced diet is important for a good health. Most of the themes for this day revolve around agriculture because investment in agriculture supported by education and health can turn around this problem
In a world of 805 million people, one in nine persons lives in chronic hunger. Every year around five millions children under the age of five die due to malnutrition. Out of ten, four children are malnourished in the poor countries of the world. It is estimated that world produces enough food to feed every person on the earth. No one in the world should have the experience of hunger. With the climate change quality food production is a challenge for the entire world. There are more than one billion people in the world who are undernourished. Quality food is a common element for all the human beings on the earth. In India during the marriage ceremonies lot of food is prepared out of which many times lot of food is wasted. Such food can be preserved and distributed among the poor and needy people. A scheme can be launched in which certain percentage of the salaries can be deducted from the employees of various organisations who voluntarily want to donate for food bank and such money can be utilized to prepare the quality food to feed the poor people. On this day various aspects of agriculture and nutritious food etc. are discussed. People are guided to eat the nutritious food and eliminate food wastage. There is a need to concentrate on zero hunger. With zero hunger we can save the lives of 3.1 million children per year. Well nourished mothers have healthier babies with strong immune system. With the elimination of under nutrition in the children GDP up to 16.5 per cent can be increased. Proper nutrition in the early age can increase 46 per cent of lifetime earnings. Iron deficiency in the population can boost 20 percent of the workplace productivity. Zero hunger can help to build a safe, prosperous and healthy world.
In the pre-Green Revolution period, much of the increase in food grain production was mainly due to expansion in area under cultivation. India's food grain production has been on the rise despite year-to-year fluctuations since the Green Revolution of the 1960s. After the Green Revolution, increase in production is due to introduction of yield-increasing technologies, supportive services and infrastructure. The country's total food grain production was 50 million tons in 1950-51 which was 284.83 million tons in 2017-18.The per capita availability has also been risen during the same period from around 395 grams per day to nearly 463 grams per day despite unabated increase in population.
It has been observed that one third (34.3%) children in India are stunted, two children out of five are underweight, three fourth of them are anemic and one out of every three undernourished children in the world is from India. So, there is dire need to mitigate the problem of malnutrition in India. The country appears to be not only self-sufficient in food grains but also having marginally surplus as well. But the issue whether the present level of nutritional intake is adequate or not is still being debated. India has been regularly exporting rice and wheat since December 2000 and the government started offering grains for exports to prune the excessive stock-holding. India has since become the world's second largest exporter of rice and seventh that of wheat. The subsequent drought and increased domestic grain utilization in its wake slowed down the exports but even then the export surplus has continued to persist. Food-sufficiency does not reflect food security for the entire population of the country though it makes the country food secure at the micro-level. Food security needs to manifest in all its dimensions, covering all regions and all economic strata of society.
India accounts for 33% of the total poor people in the world. Time and again India evolved strategies to tackle rural as well as urban poverty. The real issue is not the availability of food but of its affordability by the poor. The issue is of food and nutrition security based on the access to a diet of high nutritional quality. The modern concept of food security has become rather broad-based, encompassing livelihood security and poverty alleviation as means to ensure economic capacity to buy food. Once that is achieved then the question of adequate nutrition arises. This has attained significance issue because of the problem of malnourishment has been more acute than stark hunger. The concept of food security also needs potable drinking water-something a sizeable chunk of the Indian population still lacks. Food security is meaningless without adequate health cover. There are different levels at which the food security needs to exist-from individual level to household, social, regional and national level. Within the household food security, there are issues related to gender, children and the old. Females and non-working old people tend to be discriminated against in food consumption at the household level. Thus, the debate on the aspects of food security seems to an unending process and is also undergoing a constant change, depending on the circumstances under which the definition is sought to be viewed.
From time to time different approaches have been adopted to overcome the problem of nutritional food. The struggle for ensuring the uniform food security is going to be dynamic as this is a complex issue. This is also because the nature of food security or food insecurity will go on changing socio-economic scenario. The channel between production and consumption is weakening now. Production is undertaken for the market and driven by the market. This might have created uncertainties over local level food availability. Diversification in agriculture and livestock improves livelihood access and nutritional food security. The market forces may prompt the grower to reduce the home-consumption component of the produce. Many landless rural people produce milk for sale hardly keeping for domestic consumption. States like Punjab and Haryana are exploiting natural resources such as water and soil nutrients at a much faster rate than the rate of replishment leading to rapid drop in groundwater table and deterioration of soil fertility. While some states are under-utilizing even the available utilizable natural resources resulting in vast untapped potential. Organic farming can play a pivotal role in quality and safe food for the mankind. A holistic and flexible approach is needed for the production of quality and safe food. If scientific knowledge is efficiently provided to the farmers, then quality food can be produced.
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