The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) has called for improving food security in the country by achieving stable economic growth, as Pakistan is facing chronic food insecurity due to insufficient agriculture production, political instability and corruption.
APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi, quoting the report of Asian Development Bank, observed that the lack of purchasing power and access rights to an adequate food supply by many of its poor people is the key reason for the country’s low level of food security.
He said that deep reforms and improvements in governance must be carried out to unleash the country’s growth potential. Without substantial improvements in governance and a reduction in corruption, decent economic growth is hard to anticipate, and hunger and malnutrition will continue to prevail because of the maldistribution of resources and the lack of purchasing power among the poor.
He stressed the need for improving governance and eliminating corruption with a view to improve country’s level of food security, besides achieving stable economic growth.
Ibrahim Qureshi said that investment in agricultural infrastructure and R&D also needs to be carried out urgently to improve productivity in agriculture and to better cope with natural disasters. He said that efforts are needed to reduce and avoid environmental pollution and use resources sustainably. Population control should also be on the agenda of the government and society. In the foreseeable future, Pakistan is most likely to continue to be subject to socio-political, economic, and environmental volatility.
According to him, environmental pollution and degradation present additional challenges for Pakistan to improve its future food security. Major environment issues include water pollution from raw sewage, industrial waste, and agricultural runoff; rising deforestation; soil erosion; and desertification. In addition, there has been a shortfall of investment in agriculture infrastructure and research and development (R&D), leading to limited innovation in the agricultural sector. Antiquated farming methods and the inefficient use of resources have contributed to poor productivity.
The slow improvement in agricultural productivity is detrimental to the rural population, especially the rural poor. Two-thirds of the country’s population and 80% of the poor live in rural areas. The lack of development in agricultural infrastructure and advancement in farming methods has made agricultural production difficult and inefficient, aggravating poverty in rural areas.
To improve its food security, ADB report mentioned that Pakistan is facing formidable challenges, in particular, in the area of poor governance, the lack of economic growth, and instability in the country. Pakistan has to overcome these challenges to achieve durable societal development outcomes, which are fundamental to stable economic growth and future food security.