Though South Asia has enjoyed rapid economic growth in recent years, the region is still grappling with extreme poverty, undernourishment, and a deterioration of natural resources. A growing population and rising economic growth are placing tremendous pressure on both the agriculture sector and natural resource base to meet the present and future demands for food. South Asia is home to more than 42 percent of the world’s poor earning less than US$1.25 per day. Nearly 21 percent of the population is undernourished and more than 41 percent of children are underweight.
In light of these challenges, IFPRI launched its South Asia Initiative in 2002 and established its South Asia Office (SAO) in New Delhi in 2005. SAO engages in evidence-based research and capacity strengthening related to food and nutrition security in the region.
The looming threat of climate change will undoubtedly impact South Asian economies and is likely to have strong adverse effects on food production and the poor. At the same time, rapid economic expansion and population growth has put pressure on the region’s natural resources, especially water and land. In India, IFPRI researchers are examining the economic feasibility of climate smart interventions via available technologies, policy options, and institutional frameworks.
SAO is also investigating modern food value chains, which have been increasingly recognized as a means to enhance market efficiency and promote inclusive agricultural growth and sustainable rural development in developing countries. The office is working to understand the nuances of marketing channels and value-chain financing sources.