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The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 (SOFI 2020)

Topics Covered: Issues of buffer stocks and food security.

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 (SOFI 2020):


The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World is an annual flagship report jointly prepared by:

  1. Food and Agriculture Organization.
  2. International Fund for Agricultural Development.
  3. United Nations Children’s Fund.
  4. World Food Programme.
  5. World Health Organization.

Objective of the report: To inform on progress towards ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and to provide in depth analysis on key challenges for achieving this goal in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


The latest edition (SOFI 2020) was released on July 13th.

  • A new feature of SOFI 2020 is a detailed analysis of the “cost and affordability of healthy diets around the world”.

India-specific observations:

  1. Hundreds of millions of people in India above the international poverty line of $1.90 purchasing power parity (PPP) per person per day cannot afford a healthy or nutritious diet.
  2. This analysis confirms the fact that the problem of poor nutrition in India is largely on account of the unaffordability of good diets, and not on account of lack of information on nutrition or tastes or cultural preferences.
  3. Those we officially count as poor in India – with a cut-off that is lower than the international norm of $1.9 a day – cannot afford a nutrient-adequate diet let alone a healthy diet.
  4. Overall, the report estimates that 18% of South Asians (numbering 586 million people) cannot afford the nutrient-adequate diet and 58% of South Asians (1,337 million people) cannot afford the healthy diet.

Concerns for India:

The number of people who cannot afford a healthy diet have risen in the last three months, as employment and incomes collapsed for the majority of workers in the informal sector.

Need of the hour:

  1. Redefine poverty line: The Indian poverty line of 2011-12, as defined by the Tendulkar Committee, amounted to ₹33 per day in urban areas and ₹27 per day in rural areas, and corresponded roughly to $1 a day at international PPP prices.
  2. Affordability: If we want to reduce malnutrition and food insecurity, we have to address the problem of affordability of healthy diets.

Insta Concepts:

Three types of diet are defined:

  1. “Basic energy sufficient” diet: In which the required calorie intake is met by consuming only the cheapest starchy cereal available (say, rice or wheat). A requirement of 2,329 Kcal for a healthy young woman of 30 years is taken as the standard reference.
  2. “Nutrient adequate” diet, one where the required calorie norms and the stipulated requirement of 23 macro- and micro-nutrients are met. This diet includes least cost items from different food groups.
  3. “Healthy diet”: This is one which meets the calorie norm and the macro- and micro-nutrient norm and also allows for consumption of a diverse diet, from several food groups.

Cost of these diets:

  1. energy-sufficient diet- $1.9 a day.
  2. nutrient-adequate diet costs $2.12 a day.
  3. healthy diet costs $4.07 a day.

What constitutes a healthy diet?

It includes 30 gm of cereal, 30 gm of pulses, 50 gm of meat/chicken/fish and 50 gm of eggs, 100 gm of milk, 100 gm of vegetables and fruit each, and 5 gm of oil a day. In short, a balanced and healthy meal but not excessive in any way.

  • The Indian recommendation for a healthy diet includes consumption of items from six groups: starchy staples, protein-rich food (legumes, meat and eggs), dairy, vegetables, fruits, and fats.


Prelims Link:

  1. SOFI report is released by?
  2. About International Fund for Agricultural Development.
  3. What is World Food Programme?
  4. Types of diet mentioned above.
  5. International poverty line.
  6. Poverty definition in India.

Mains Link:

The number of people who cannot afford a healthy diet have risen in the last three months in India. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.