ROTI, kapra, makaan. We used to hear these slogans back in the 90s but they aren’t fulfilled yet or even become worse. The rapid surge in food insecurity shows the economic dynamic of Pakistan that how Pakistani people are suffering for two times meal. The inflation rate is in the sky and people don’t know how to fly.
According to the World Food Programme, 7 million children needed emergency nutrition services, while 14.6 million Pakistanis needed emergency food assistance. These statistics are alarming and show that people are not lucky to feed their stomachs two times a day. Malnutrition is another birth of food insecurity which leads to mortality. How will a pregnant woman give birth to a normal newborn when she won’t be able to eat properly? We can’t expect a normal baby from a family where they are facing food insecurity.
Pakistan is working on this food insecurity, Benazir Nashonuma Programme is akin to an angle for the people of Pakistan. Still, we need many other programs too. Government must work on the grassroots level for food security.
Hunger and malnutrition lead to crime. The steep rise in crime is illustrating that people have no other way to feed their families. High taxes on basic amenities are a shock for poor people. Nutritional deficiencies give rise to many syndromes and diseases. There is an emergency for food insecurity.
There must be a proper systemic programme for the poor people of Pakistan. Reproductive health, water, sanitation and food fortification. We need to work on these things to ensure that every individual is having a good life.
The Government should make policies and increase some per annum growth in the agriculture sector and eradication of poverty, to achieve the zero hunger SDG and implementation of provincial agricultural policies.
Understandably, this would not be an easy task for the authorities, especially in terms of acquiring funding amidst the current atmosphere of limited fiscal space and persistent balance of payments constraints. However, gauging the stock of existing situations and communicating clear objectives is a good start, and the government now needs to build on that.
Furthermore, the policy is not a factor in the case of population growth and its impact on food security over the long term. This is important, considering that the country’s population is estimated to double over the next 25 years at the present annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent. With that, the urgency of addressing food security concerns would also commensurately escalate.
— The writer is a columnist and researcher based in Karachi.
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