Engr. Daroo Khan Achakzai, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) emphasized on the food security in Pakistan which has high linkage with human capital and strong economic implications.
While highlighting the facts and figure of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, he added that high rate of malnutrition can cost to an economy around 3-4 percent of GDP and incase of Pakistan it is around US$ 7.6 billion every year. He added that Pakistan is among the top seven countries that cumulatively account for two-thirds of the world’s under-nourished population. He stated that the food security affects our human capital particularly the future labor force.
At present, 37 percent of our population is food insecure despite the fact that Pakistan is self-sufficient in major staples and the main problem is access to food. He further stated that the malnutrition is high in rural area of Sindh and region of Baluchistan, Gilgit Baltistan and FATA.
He added that the State Bank of Pakistan also showed their concern over the food security in their quarterly report because high population growth and unfavorable water and climatic conditions in the country means that concerns regarding food security may increase manifolds over the next two to three decade.
He also urged the government to implement the National Food Security Policy which was announced in 2018 and also increase investment in agriculture research which is currently very low i.e. 0.18% of agriculture GDP compared to regional countries India 0.30%, Nepal 0.28, Sri Lanka 0.34%, China 0.62% and Bangladesh 0.37% etc. Moreover, due to insufficient facilities and lack of technological advancement, our post-harvest and supply chain losses in agriculture is also very much high that also need to be curtailed. According to Asian Development Studies the post-harvest crop losses cost to US$ 1.12 billion annually.