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Food Security in South Asia : Issues and Opportunities

  • Surabhi Mittal

    (ICRIER)

  • Deepti Sethi

Food security is defined as economic access to food along with food production and food availability. Agriculture in the SAR (South Asian Region) is caught in a low equilibrium trap with low productivity of staples, supply shortfalls, high prices, low returns to farmers and area diversification - all these factors can be a threat to food security. South Asia still has the highest number of people (423 millions) living on less than one dollar a day. The region has the highest concentration of undernourished (299 million) and poor people with about 40 per cent of the worlds hungry. Despite an annual 1.7 per cent reduction in the prevalence of undernourishment in the region in the past decade, the failure to reduce the absolute number of the undernourished remains a major cause for concern. Estimates by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) indicate that by 2010, Asia will still account for about one-half of the worlds undernourished population, of which two-thirds will be from South Asia. Though SAARC countries have established a food bank to meet the needs of food security in the region, it has not been operational even during times of crisis. This is despite the felt need of member nations to evolve mechanisms to make the SAARC Food Security Reserve operational. It is against this background that this study has been undertaken. Conducted in collaboration with think-tanks from South Asian countries, it aims to identify issues relating to food security, the policy initiatives taken to tackle these issues, evaluate these policies and suggest measures to overcome identified constraints in order to improve the food security situation in the region.

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File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/22917
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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Development Economics Working Papers with number 22917.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:eab:develo:22917
Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
Web page: http://www.eaber.org

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  1. S. Narayan, 2009. "India," Chapters, in: The Political Economy of Trade Reform in Emerging Markets, chapter 7 Edward Elgar.
  2. Parakrama Samaratunga & Kamal Marunagoda & Manoj Thibbotuwawa, 2007. "Mapping and analaysis of the South Asian agricultural trade liberalization efforts," STUDIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT, in: Studies in Trade and Investment - AGRICULTURAL TRADE - PLANTING THE SEEDS OF REGIONAL LIBERALIZATION IN ASIA, volume 60, pages 33-74 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
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