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This paper documents the main findings of a study on food insecurity and vulnerability in the Indian state of Orissa in support of promoting interventions for food security and livelihoods at state level. A similar study was undertaken in Himachal Pradesh, India. The paper analyses the main characteristics and causes of food insecurity and vulnerability. It seeks to identify who are vulnerable and food insecure and where they are, why they risk food insecurity and what options exist to reduce their vulnerability. Using the sustainable livelihoods framework and collecting qualitative and quantitative data from four selected districts, the paper looks at six livelihood groups, notably marginal and small scale farming households, labouring rural households, mining worker households, rural artisan households, fishing households and scheduled tribal households. Even though Orissa is virtually self-sufficient in food grains, there is a significant prevalence of food insecurity in the state and around 9 percent of the population are classified as extremely food insecure (consuming less than 1,800 kcal per day). The situation varies significantly within the state: 15 percent of the population in the southern region are extremely food insecure compared to 3 percent of the population living in the coastal areas. The study finds that food insecurity and vulnerability are mainly caused by a limited physical as well human asset base, slow economic growth, limited or no access to welfare provisions and public services, lack of land reform and difficulties in accessing credit institutions. Based on the findings of the analysis, the paper identifies key interventions to address the causes of food insecurity and vulnerability in Orissa. These need to address the immediate food needs of the most vulnerable and to stimulate rural development, in particular promoting agriculturally linked livelihoods. Proposed interventions include increased investment in agricultural research, improved watershed development, developing financial services and promoting small scale industries as well as micro enterprises and strengthening anti-poverty programmes within the state. Finally, the paper includes recommendations on indicators to be monitored as part of a potential Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System (FIVIMS) in Orissa, focusing on a core set of indicators to be monitored at the state and district levels.


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