GHI: Timor-Leste is a country with a top alarming levels of hunger in Southeas Asia

GHI: Timor-Leste is a country with a top alarming levels of hunger in Southeas Asia


DILI, 14 september 2023 (TATOLI) – Timor-Leste ranks 110 out of 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022, scoring 30.6 based on rates of undernourishment, wasting, stunting, and child mortality. 

GHI places Timor-Leste as the 12th hungriest country in the world, after Yemen, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Congo, Chad, Liberia, Haiti, Niger, Lesotho, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau.

The ranking places Timor-Leste as the top hungry country in the Southeast Asia region behind Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, and Singapore. 

With a score of 30.6, the level of hunger in Timor-Leste has been labeled “serious.”

Each country’s GHI score is calculated based on a formula that combines four indicators that together capture the multidimensional nature of hunger: Undernourishment (the share of the population with insufficient caloric intake; Child stunting (the share of children under age five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition; Child wasting (the share of children under age five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition) and Child mortality (the share of children who die before their fifth birthday, partly reflecting the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).

One of the drivers of hunger in Timor-Leste is food insecurity, as many households cannot afford to buy nutritious food.

According to the Timor-Leste Food and Nutrition Survey 2020, the country has one of the highest prevalences of childhood stunting in the world. According to the report, 47% of Timorese children 0-59 months were stunted, 8.6% were wasted, and 32.4% were underweight.

United Nations Common Country Analysis (UNCCA) reported that among the most prevalent issues in Timor-Leste are the issues of food insecurity and malnutrition: “Despite some progress being made in tackling malnutrition since 2010, the rate is still one of the highest in the world. The current rate of progress, with high rates of food insecurity and alarming rates of stunting and wasting among children under five years of age, combined with high rates of anemia and under-nutrition among women of reproductive age, means that Timor-Leste is highly unlikely to achieve SDG 2 by 2030.”

UNCCA said that Food insecurity remains one of the most pressing issues Timor-Leste is facing, affecting not only nutrition but also economic growth and social cohesion. 

“The First Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) shows that only a quarter of the population can be considered food secure: 36% of the Timorese population suffers chronic food insecurity, including 21% who experience moderate chronic food insecurity and 15% who experience severe food insecurity. Crucially, three municipalities fall under severe chronic food insecurity: Ermera, Manufahi, and Oé-Cusse. On average, households in Timor-Leste spend almost 70% of their income on food – with poorer families spending even a larger portion,” the report said.

Related News:https://en.tatoli.tl/2023/01/12/konssantil-20-of-the-timorese-population-suffering-from-food-insecurity/15/

Another cause of hunger in Timor-Leste is poverty. More than 45 percent of people are living in poverty, and this is the highest number in Southeast Asia.

According to a joint survey conducted by the Secretary of State for Vocational Training and Employment (SEFOPE), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Timor-Leste (CCI-TL), and KSTL in 2014, the minimum wage of US$115 is insufficient for the country resulting many Timorese people unable to afford a decent life. 

International Women’s Development Agency said two-thirds of Timorese live on less than US$2 a day, making life for most a struggle.

Related News:https://en.tatoli.tl/2021/12/28/unicef-data-analysis-reveals-47-8-of-children-living-under-the-national-poverty-line/16/

It is a wake-up call to the government to take the hunger issue seriously in order to make a serious investment in the agricultural sector to achieve the country’s goal of becoming a self-sufficient country.

The IX Constitutional Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, pledged during the inauguration ceremony to make good investments in the productive sector, especially the agricultural sector, in order to increase food production and combat hunger and malnutrition in the country.

Meanwhile, the President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta, disagreed with the GHI report: “This data could be true or wrong. But, it is a lesson for Timor-Leste to work in every possible way to reduce the rate of malnutrition and hunger in the country.”

Related News:https://en.tatoli.tl/2020/10/29/results-from-the-global-hunger-index-igh-2020-raise-questions-about-data-sourcing/23/


Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges


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