‘15% of country’s population undernourished’

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AURANGABAD: Highlighting the grim picture of farmers’ suicide placed by the NCRB data – stating that so far about 3,08,826 farmers committed suicide from 1995-2014 – representatives of FIAN India, Land and Livelihood Knowledge Activists Hub and Peoples Forum on BRICS said it’s high time that BRICS nations focus on impending crisis in agriculture.

On the occasion of World Bioethics Day – marked on October 19 with the theme Human Rights and Human Dignity – the forum said that despite number of food entitlement programmes, India tops world hunger list with over 15% of the country’s population is still undernourished. Nonetheless, more clear human rights approach is still missing when people should have the right to safe and adequate food in dignity to satisfy the basic nutritional needs.

“India also has the world’s highest number of malnourished and hungry children, 44% of children under the age of five are underweight and malnourished, and have a higher risk of death from common childhood illness such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. About 59% of women are anaemic. Hunger in India is a complex issue as it is widespread and the root causes are different across various sections of the society,” said Renuka Kad of FIAN Maharashtra representative. She was speaking at the Food Sovereignty and Agriculture in BRICS Summit, held in Goa on Sunday.

“India has improved its ranking 80 out of 104 in Global Hunger Index in 2015, but fighting hunger remains a challenge as undernourishment and mortality among children and women remain alarmingly high. This means that we are miserably failing and falling short with right to food and nutrition only successfully avoiding hunger deaths but not able to realize the right to food and nutrition in a reality,” said Suman Singh, FIAN India convener.

Meanwhile, FIAN India representatives also highlighted the grim picture of farmers’ suicides placed by the NCRB data, around 1.7 suicides take place every hour that comes to 42 suicides per day.

 “It is high time that BRICS nations focuses impending crisis in agriculture which is indeed sounding death knell on small and marginal farmers and lead to a road of no return,” said the forum.
The forum also highlighted that about 52% of the agricultural households in the country are estimated to be indebted. Only 10 per cent of poor and small farmers have got the benefit from farming related schemes.
“Suicides by farmers touched a grim high in 2015. The year 2015 recorded 2,590 suicides until October – the higher ever since 2001. It went on to register 610 more deaths in just two months of January and February 2016,” said Kad.
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