As the second most populous country in the world and home to a quarter of all undernourished people worldwide, India bears a huge burden of global food insecurity. Around 21% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day, and levels of inequality and social exclusion are very high. Despite recent improvements in the nutritional status of children, malnutrition remains widely prevalent. On the 2020 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 94th out of 107 countries.
53% of women in India suffer from anemia
1/4 of the world’s undernourished live in India
17.3% of India’s children are severely malnourished
WFP has been present in India since 1963. Since the country achieved self-sufficiency in cereal production, our work has transitioned from food distribution to technical assistance. With the government now providing its own food distribution systems, WFP’s work focuses on the strengthening of these food security systems to ensure they become more efficient and reach the people who need them most.
- WFP is working to improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of India’s own subsidized food distribution system, which brings supplies of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil to around 800 million poor people across the country.
- To boost the nutritional value of the government’s Midday Meal school meals program, WFP is pioneering the multi-micronutrient fortification of school meals. The pilot project saw rice fortified with iron resulting in a 20% drop in anemia. WFP also helps tackle malnutrition by fortifying food given to babies and young children in the Kerala State.
- WFP uses its own Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) software to identify India’s most food insecure areas, which allows policy and relief work to be targeted appropriately.