The latest Global Hunger Index, published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has ranked Malawi at position 90 measuring the country’s hunger situation in the most critical category.
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranks countries based on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age).
The 2017 report titled: ‘The Inequalities of Hunger,’ ranked 119 developing countries where Malawi hunger rate stands at 27.2 percent from 2016’s 26.9 percent representing 0.3 percent increase, which translates into worsening of a country’s hunger situation.
“25.9 percent of the Malawian people are undernourished from 20.7 percent in 2016 while 2.7 percent of Malawian children under the age of five are wasting compared with 3.8 from last year’s index,” reads the 2017 GHI report.
“Stunting in children under the age of five years stands at 37.1 percent from last year’s 42.4 percent and under five mortality rate still stagnates at 6.4 percent,” it further reads.
Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), National Director, Pamela Kuwali, said the change from 26.9 to 27.2 percent was an indication that there was great need for improvement on the country’s food security efforts.
“This is not a good indication of how we are doing as a country. Position 90 is on the lower end of the scale. We need to do more. There is need to review the country’s strategies on food security,” she noted.
“There is need to invest more in sustainable programmes that are going to help address the challenge of food security in Malawi so that the country can ascend the scale,” Kuwali added.
Kuwali also said the increase in the proportion of undernourished in the population was also an area of concern since it reflects a downward trend showing retrogression. “This implies that apart from efforts on food security a great deal of attention must be directed to nutrition security,” she said.
However, she said in a bid to improve the country’s ranking and pace at which the country is reducing hunger, policies and strategies must be put in place to help farmers increase their productivity at all times through strengthening their resilience to shocks as well as enhancing conservation agriculture.
“On top of that, we need to address the challenge of malnutrition, it is critical that agriculture must be linked to nutrition. Additionally, there must be intensive awareness programs on the importance of good nutrition,” Kuwali emphasised.
According to 2017 GHI scores, the level of hunger in the world has decreased by 27 percent from the 2000 level.
Out of the 119 countries assessed in this year’s report, one falls in the extremely alarmingrange on the GHI severity Scale; seven fall in the alarming range; 44 in the seriousrange; and 24 in the moderaterange. So far, only 43 countries have scores in the low range.
The GHI is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional and national levels. The IFPRI calculates GHI scores each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger.
On the other hand, the GHI is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger, provide a means to compare the levels of hunger between countries and regions and call for attention to the areas of the world in greatest need of additional resources to eliminate hunger.