The public distribution systems of foodgrains and implications for food security: a comparison of the experiences of India and China

Zhou, Zhang-Yue, and Wan, Guang-Hua (2007) The public distribution systems of foodgrains and implications for food security: a comparison of the experiences of India and China. In: Guha-Khasnobis, B., Acharya, S.S., and Davies, B., (eds.) Food Insecurity, Vulnerability and Human Rights Failure. Palgrave MacMillan, Hampshire, UK, pp. 106-127.

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The issue of food security has been around for a long time and the right to adequate food and to be free from hunger has been repeatedly affirmed in a number of documents adopted by the United Nations (for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1966; and the Rights of the Child in 1989). Nevertheless, by the early 1990s, there were still more than 800 million people, mostly in developing countries, who did not have enough food to meet basic nutritional needs. This led the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to assemble a World Food Summit in 1996, in which 194 countries took part and during which the Rome Declaration on World Food Security was drawn up. The Summit called on the international community to cut the number of hungry people by half to about 400 million by 2015. However, progress towards achieving the target, as reviewed in the World Food Summit: five years later (June 2002) has remained disappointingly slow (FAO 2002). According to FAO (2004: 6), in 2000-02, the number of undernourished people worldwide remained as high as 852 million, including 815 million in the developing countries. The number of people undernourished in India and China, the world's two most populous countries, currently stands at 363 million (two thirds are in India), accounting for 43 per cent of the world total (FAO 2004: 7). Sources of food insecurity for both countries - that is, huge population, limited agricultural resources, unstable and unpredictable world markets - still prevail, presenting potential threats to national food security. Looking into their past practices, especially the access to food by the poor, may reveal valuable experiences and lessons. In this chapter, we focus on the institution of the public distribution system (PDS) of food in these two countries and discuss how these systems have helped to improve food security.

Item ID: 3006
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-230-55357-6
Keywords: food security; China; India
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2009 01:59
FoR Codes: 14 ECONOMICS > 1402 Applied Economics > 140201 Agricultural Economics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919999 Economic Framework not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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