Indicator based assessment of food security in SAARC nations under the influence of climate change scenarios

Elsevier, Future Foods, Volume 5, June 2022
Singh R.K., Joshi P.K., Sinha V.S.P., Kumar M.
The availability of food is the basic entity for the survival of human. The resources that make a nation food secured is guided by multiple factors and can be evaluated using a set of indicators. We present an assessment for ranking food security of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations represented by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka using a set of indicators under the prevailing scenarios of climate change. The food security indicators can primarily be grouped into four dimensions represented by the availability of food, access to food, potential utilization and stability of food production. Each of the identified indicators that are independent of each other can be utilised to assign individual values based upon actual statistics and observations available for each country. The projection of these statistical values for evaluating future food security can also be done once the appropriate methodology is available for making projections. We assessed food security under the future scenarios of climate change for the year 2050 by synthesising a food security index using a set of indicators. The climate change scenarios were adopted from the IPCC (2014) assessment represented by RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0 and RCP8.5. The score of individual indicators were obtained from country specific statistics provided by Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Bank while the values of few indicators such as the projected availability of agriculture and forest land, estimates of future productivity under climate change scenarios and vulnerability of food production were synthesised by the authors for this study. The assessment shows that under all RCPs, Bangladesh is the most food secured nation followed by Sri Lanka. Whereas, Maldives and Afghanistan were found to fall under least food secured SAARC nation under all four scenarios of climate change. While rest of the nations had varying ranks and represented the middle-ranking of food security under all RCPs. India was consistently at the sixth position under all four scenarios of climate change followed by Afghanistan and Maldives in a consistent manner while Afghanistan maintained the rank of seventh and Maldives was found to fall at last position of eighth rank. The framework of assessment demonstrated by us can be used for ranking individual region while it provides an opportunity to the planners for allocating adequate resources and implement other adequate measures in regions that fall short in terms of food security.