Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Poverty and Food Insecurity in Nepal A Review

Joshi, Niraj Prakash and Maharjan, Keshav Lall and Piya, Luni (2010): Poverty and Food Insecurity in Nepal A Review. Published in: Journal of International Development and Cooperation , Vol. 16, No. 2 (2010): pp. 1-19.

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Nepal being the poorest country in the world, poverty remains one of the crucial development agenda in Nepal since it started its development effort in 1956. Therefore, this review paper analyzes the poverty and food insecurity in Nepal. Macro economic indicators of the country i.e., Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate and inflation rate shows that the country is historically a low growth country with inflation rate always higher than the GDP growth rate. Therefore, macroeconomic indicators are not in favorable condition to tackle the overarching problem of poverty incidence in the country. Since 1976/77, poverty incidence is in increasing trend in Nepal. It was only in 2003/04, some progress in reducing poverty was reported, which was mainly due to the significantly higher inflow of remittance compared to earlier years, rapid urbanization, and an increase in non-farm incomes. This resulted not only in the decline in proportion of population suffering from poverty but also decline in the absolute number of population suffering from poverty. However, such decline in incidence of poverty was achieved at the cost of increased inequality.The gini coefficient increased from 0.24 in the year 1984/85 to 0.41 in 2003/04. Imbalanced growth in rural and urban areas could be the reason for increase in gini coefficient. Reduction of poverty in urban areas remains always high compared to that of rural areas. Therefore, poverty incidence remains always the highest in Mid-western and Farwestern rural hills. Also, poverty and food insecurity is the highest among female headed household, dalit and ethnic communities, small landholding households, households engaged in laboring and agriculture. This is mainly due to unequal distribution of resources such as land, social discrepancy, and lack of access to basic social and economic structures. Government has been giving the fi rst priority to the reduction of poverty since eighth five year plan (1992). But the government’s programs are failed to reach the target population. For instance government programs represent less than 10% of the national food deficit. Therefore, besides in-depth analysis of poverty at household level in order to understand location specifi c problem of poverty and food insecurity, expansion of government programs focusing on targeted population is very critical in dealing with the problems of poverty and food insecurity.

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