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14 Alarming Things You Need to Know about the Food Insecurity in Pakistan

Food Insecurity in Pakistan

WRITTEN BY

Bibi Sayed
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Food insecurity has been recognized as one of the great causes of militancy in the world. The term food insecurity highlights the desire to eradicate hunger and malnutrition. It may cause environmental unrest or instability in socio-economical conditions.

The World Food Summit (WFS) defined food security as: when a country has enough food to feed everyone, and everybody has physical and economical access to get over from the food crisis, have safe and nutritious food to meet the dietary needs for healthy life. That means food security can be broadly divided into three main components such as:

  1. Food Availability
  2. Physical and economic access to food eating
  3. Effective Food utilization

Pakistan being one of the lowest ranking countries, suffering from food insecurity since 2003. It has only two major sources of food:

  1. Crop based
  2. Animal based

Access to food can be determined from consumption vs. production of food that includes household income, infant ratio, living conditions, food expenditures, market prices of food commodities and some other strategies.

Do you know: In Pakistan, almost half of the population is suffering from food insecurity and starving from hunger. (Source: SDPI)

Here are ten disturbing things that you need to know about food insecurity in Pakistan:

  1. According to the world summit declaration, more than Eight Hundred million people mainly in the developing countries (including Pakistan), don’t have enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs.
  2. Pakistan has constitutional provision on the rights of citizens to adequate food as in several other countries.
  3. Pakistan’s rural population faces many hindrances and particular challenges with 2/3 of the total population living in the rural areas. (IFAD 2012).
  4. 45 percentage of Pakistan population depends on the agriculture for their livelihoods.
  5. In Pakistan, wheat and Rice are the two main Food grains and major staple of people.
  6. Wheat is the largest grown crop over an area more than 8 million hectares. For 165 million inhabitants, we require about 21.8mmt of wheat to tackle the hunger of on growing population of Pakistan. Research data shows that every year 32 lac new infants are being added to the population.
  7. Hidden hunger is more pronounced in Pakistan than what is being shown through macro-screen.(WFP 2003).
  8. According to National Nutrition survey 2013, around 60 percentage of Pakistan’s population is facing food insecurity and these households. Almost 50 percentage mothers and children are malnourished.
  9. An estimated ratio shows that 35% of child deaths in the country are linked to malnutrition.
  10. In Pakistan, 61 % districts are inadequate for food security. Fata has the highest percentage of food insecure population, while lowest percentage of food insecure population is in Islamabad.
  11. Increase in poverty
    • People spend more on food rather than non food items. Within poorest group, the average ratio of household expenditure on food has gone up to 61.6%.
    • Some agencies say, Food insecurity in Pakistan is linked to the prices rather than availability. Many people suffer from hunger just because of their low income levels.
  12. Men and Women and children suffer from undernourishment but the impact on the health of mothers and children is most acute. Said by shahid awan (A nutritional officer at UN).
  13. Increase in female literacy ratio may overcome food insecurity in Pakistan. If there were the investment in the education of women, who plays a great role in determining household food acquisition patterns, food would be secured.
    Education of women is the key factor of saving nutrition. As per estimates, agricultural growth rates of 5-6% are required to reduce poverty in the country.
  14. It is being estimated that educating women to at least primary level is likely to be nearly three times more effective than increasing income by 10%. -Poverty, household food security, and nutrition in rural Pakistan by Harold alderman, Marito Garcia

  15. Due to urbanization, shortage of water resources, climate change, flooding, earthquakes, poor sanitation, and violent conflict at the borders has increased the food insecurity at the emergency level.

This situation is alarming. Major threats to the food security should be overcome through developing the modern agricultural system and enhancing education and awareness about the malnutrition.



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