The Central Asian country of Turkmenistan, once a vital stop on the renowned silk roads, has made significant progress over the years in regards to alleviating hunger. The dictatorship has achieved this by having an abundance of natural resources, a high education rate, and political alliances with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Considering that Turkmenistan is the fifth-largest gas reserve in the world, the country has been endowed with plenty of natural resources, making rapid economic growth inevitable. In 2016 alone, the GDP rose by 6.2 percent. The influx of capital from exports allows for the country to be more liberal in their spending to assuage problems such as hunger, malnutrition and lack of education.
The improving economic condition coincides with the improvement in Turkmenistan’s hunger problem, as the undernourishment rate is merely 2.5 percent. An increase in agricultural production due to economic growth was the vital factor in bringing the malnutrition percentage down. Furthermore, Turkmenistan now falls into the moderate category with a score of only 12.3 on the Global Hunger Index – 4.8 points less than in 2008. This places Turkmenistan not far behind countries such as the United States and Canada.
Hunger in Turkmenistan is further combated through an active enforcement of education. With almost a 100 percent literacy rate, residents of Turkmenistan have a wider array of career choices, leading to more opportunities to increase their income. Access to additional income per capita allows for families to purchase more food, which leads to lower malnutrition rates.
The United Nations have duly noted the progress that Turkmenistan has made in regards to hunger. Not only has it attained the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of hungry individuals, but also it has succeeded in being one of the noteworthy countries to reach the World Food Summit’s goal of reducing the absolute number of undernourished people by one-half.
Although Turkmenistan has made notable progress when it comes to hunger, they still are not perfect. Affluent people often have a monopoly over the natural resource industry, and therefore don’t leave quite enough for the ordinary person. Honing in on this problem could make further strides to improve hunger in Turkmenistan.
– Tanvi Wattal