Biofortification: A plausible antidote to India's hidden hunger problem

A dip in India’s ranking in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) has rightly created a stir in the country. The continued focus on calories, along with the ignorance of nutritional aspects of food, are responsible for the distressed state of the food and nutrition system in our country. The present ranking is an outcome, and a true reflection, of the same. A few in the government appear to be shocked and have even questioned the methodology. Why is India, even after 72 years of independence, struggling at the bottom of the GHI rankings? It is high time that we look deeper into the issue and find a plausible solution to the dire straits we are in.

It would be prudent to accept reality. By changing the methodology, or by re-working evaluation criteria, we may move up a couple of notches, but we will continue to be among the lowest performers, and our countrymen will continue to suffer. According to our own Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (2016-18) and SRS (2018) data, 34.7% of our children are still stunted, 17.3% wasted, and 33.4% underweight. Lack of proper food is not only a development issue but is also a crucial economic issue for any country.

Photo credit: Alina Paul-Bossuet/ICRISAT