The FAO report

The FAO report


The FAO report stated that 16.6% of the country’s population was undernourished and more than 74% of Indians could not afford a healthy diet in 2021.

  • The FAO report serves as a regional overview, focusing on the Asia Pacific region, shedding light on the impacts of the pandemic and the “5Fs” crisis (food, feed, fuel, fertilizer, and finance) on food security and nutrition


GS-02 GS-03 (International Institutions)

Key Highlights:

  • Declining Affordability of Healthy Diets: Over 74% of Indians couldn’t afford a healthy diet in 2021, showcasing a marginal improvement from the previous year.
  • Regional Disparities: The report compares the situation in India with neighboring countries, revealing that Pakistan and Bangladesh also face challenges in securing healthy food, with 82.2% and 66.1% of their populations, respectively, encountering difficulties.
  • Impact of Rising Food Costs: The correlation between rising food costs and the ability of individuals to afford a healthy diet is the issue where the increasing food costs are not accompanied by rising incomes and more people struggle to access nutritious food.
  • Persistent Challenges in the Asia Pacific Region: The FAO report depicts the Asia Pacific region as still grappling with the aftermath of the pandemic and the 5Fs crisis, with half of the global undernourished population and severe food insecurity.
  • India’s Nutritional Challenges: India faces specific nutritional challenges including-
    • Undernourished individuals- 16% of the country’s population
    • Stunted growth under age of five- 31.7% of the Children
    • High rate of childhood wasting- 18.7% of children under five
    • Prevalent anaemia in women- 53% of women aged between 15 to 49.
  • The report also notes improvements in exclusive breastfeeding with a percentage of 63.7. But highlights persisting issues like low birth weight and obesity(27.4%).

Suggestions to Overcome the Outlined Problems:

  • Enhance Income Opportunities: Implementing measures such as skill development programs, job creation, and support for small-scale industries can contribute to rising incomes and improved affordability of nutritious food.
  • Integrated Nutrition Programs: Implement comprehensive and integrated nutrition programs targeting vulnerable groups, especially women and children. These programs should include initiatives for maternal health and nutrition, promotion of proper infant and young child feeding practices, and measures to address stunting and wasting. Additionally, awareness campaigns about the importance of a balanced diet should be prioritized.
  • Regional and Gender-Specific Interventions: Focus on regions with higher prevalence rates and design targeted strategies to improve food security and nutritional outcomes. Gender-specific programs should be implemented to address the higher prevalence of anaemia among women and other gender-specific health issues.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):


  • FAO, a specialized United Nations agency, leads global initiatives to combat hunger.
  • World Food Day, celebrated on October 16th annually, marks the FAO’s founding anniversary in 1945.
  • Headquartered in Rome, Italy, FAO collaborates with sister organizations like the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Key Initiatives:

  • Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) initiative.
  • Monitoring the Desert Locust situation worldwide.
  • Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) oversees the implementation of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
  • Adoption of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in 2001.

Flagship Publications:

  • Publishes vital reports such as The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA), The State of the World’s Forests (SOFO), The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI), The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), and The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO).

Way Forward:

  • Comprehensive strategies to improve income levels, enhance food affordability, and implement targeted interventions must be taken care to combat malnutrition.
  • A call for urgent action to achieve global nutrition targets, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, urging governments and stakeholders to prioritize initiatives that ensure food security and access to healthy diets for all is also the need of the hour.