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Head of UN anti-hunger agency commends India’s efforts to combat malnutrition

WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.
WFP/Giulio D'Adamo
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.

Head of UN anti-hunger agency commends India’s efforts to combat malnutrition

The head of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) wrapped up a two-day visit to India by lauding the Government for legislation that has made the right to food legally enforceable in a country that is home to about a quarter of the world’s undernourished.

The National Food Security Act, which was signed into law in September, is designed to provide staple foods at highly subsidised prices for more than 800 million people across the country, making it the largest food safety net in the world.

“Given the Government’s commitment towards the most vulnerable, we are confident that with innovative solutions, together we will be able to reach India’s poorest with better nutrition,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.

The agency is working to strengthen Government capacity to improve the nutritional impact and effectiveness of food-based social safety net programmes. Although India grows enough food for its people, pockets of hunger remain, WFP noted.

While in the capital city of New Delhi, Ms. Cousin met with the Minister for Agriculture and Cooperation and the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. She noted that India has the knowledge and expertise to guide other countries dealing with hunger and malnutrition.

She also thanked the Government for its support for WFP food assistance worldwide. Just yesterday, WFP welcomed a $1.8 million contribution from India that will support 121,300 of the most vulnerable people in Yemen for the next six months.

The agency used the funds to purchase around 2,600 metric tons of wheat that will be distributed to those suffering from food insecurity, including internally displaced people, children under five, and pregnant women and nursing mothers.

WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, the Rome-based agency reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.