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The India Food Security Portal provides policy research, capacity-building resources, and an active and inclusive policy network that is fostered through interactive dialogues on food security. The goal of the India Food Security Portal is to inform the policymaking process and ensure that food security-relevant policy processes at the national and state levels in India are more effective at addressing food insecurity.

R. Zougmoré / CCAFS (Flickr)

Author: Rachel Kohn

Weather shocks-- from changing temperatures to fluctuations in rainfall-- pose a serious risk for low-income farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk and others whose livelihoods depend on the natural resources impacted by these changes.

India’s monsoon season is off to its weakest start in five years, sparking fears over the potential for drought and increased food prices throughout the country. During the first half of June, cumulative rainfall for India as a whole was 45 percent below average, according to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Agriculture and Cooperation; India’s Meteorological Department is predicting that total monsoons this season will reach only 93 percent of the long period average.

Quality healthcare plays a crucial role in improving the lives of the poor. In many developing countries, however, high-quality healthcare can be hard to come by.

This is particularly true in India, where public sector medical care is often plagued with high rates of absenteeism and where private sector care is costly and of low quality. As a result, the country’s poor populations tend to have a low opinion of medical professionals, leading them to consult unqualified practitioners, or even no one at all, when they are sick.

With less than two years to go to meet the Millennium Development Goals, how has the world done on its goal of halving hunger? According to the IFPRI 2013 Global Food Policy Report, released this week, much work remains. While the number of chronically hungry people has declined from 1 billion to around 842 million over the last 30 years, this number is still unacceptably high. One in eight people around the world suffers from hunger on a daily basis.

Extreme poverty and gender inequality are two of the most daunting challenges faced by the developing world. To tackle these challenges, many policymakers are turning to public works programs. Such programs can help governments provide stable, balanced wages to households in need, while at the same time investing in important infrastructure, like roads and irrigation systems, that can promote economic development in the future. But these programs are not without controversy.

This article is cross-posted from ChinaDaily, written by Shenggen Fan, the Director General of International Food Policy Research Institute.

Use, control, and ownership of productive assets – land, money, livestock, and education, to name just a few – are essential stepping stones on the path out of poverty. But this pathway can look very different depending on whether you are a man or a woman. Growing evidence suggests that women typically have fewer assets than men, and that they use those assets differently. What’s more, agricultural development programs may impact men’s and women’s assets in different, sometimes unexpected, ways.

Fertilizer use in India has exploded since the government began a subsidization program in the 1970s. National fertilizer consumption rates increased by 50% during the 1990s. But research has shown that the effectiveness of these inputs has actually declined – on average, 8 kilograms of grain were produced per kilogram of fertilizer in the late 1990s, compared to 25 kg of grain per kg of fertilizer in the 1960s.

High food prices affect poor populations in a variety of ways. While households that only consume food suffer as a result of rising food prices, households that also produce food can actually benefit from price increases. But there is another, less recognized avenue through which high food prices can impact the poor: rural wages. The lion's share of the world's poor relies on agricultural jobs to make a living; whether or not agricultural wages increase as a result of rising food prices therefore has significant implications for how those price increases will help or hurt.

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