South Asian governments must enact a special and comprehensive law on rights to food immediately in order to battle the region’s prevailing and chronic hunger that left more than 304 people going to bed hungry every day, food security experts and policymakers from five SA countries said.
Despite Nepal’s Interim Constitution that guarantees food sovereignty, Pakistan’s Zero-Hunger Action Plan, Bangladesh’s massive investment in social protection, or Sri Lanka’s constitutional change, it is hard to see poor people have three meals everyday with existing legal loopholes and many related issues missing,” he said, adding that the rights to food bill in India could be an inspiration for other SA governments.
Lilian Mercado, Deputy Regional Director of Oxfam Asia, noted that South Asia has experienced the second fastest rate of economic growth in the world, enjoying an annual growth rate of six percent on average in the last two decades. Yet poverty has gotten worse as inequality has risen and become more severe.
“All those laws the region have in the past, though now outdated, were very good in those times, many still working well now. Except they’re good and effective in the papers because they are either not implemented or fully enforced,” said Dr. Ratnakar Adhikari of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), Oxfam’s research partner in South Asia. Participants urged the governments to come up with a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).