Experts term looming food insecurity an impending threat

ISLAMABAD – Speakers at a seminar on “Ramification of Food Insecurity in Pakistan” said that the looming food insecurity hovering in and around the region has posed an impending threat to all under developed countries especially South Asia including Pakistan.

The event was held here under the aegis of the Founder Group. Meher Kashif Younis former senior Vice President Lahore Chamber quoting the world food programme, said recently Pakistan’s double digit food price inflation, along with dwindling income, has left more Pakistanis food insecure. He said a sizeable number of Pakistanis are food insecure of which 18 percent confronted with acute food insecurity. He said 20 percent of population in Pakistan is undernourished and 44 percent children under five year are stunted. He said in recent years, Pakistan has produced more food that its population consumes and has been a major producer of wheat and rice.

However, the poor segment of the society and most vulnerable people in country can’t afford a sufficient and nutritious diet despite the overall growth in food production. Meher Kashif said primarily this is due to limited economic access to the poorest especially women lacking an adequate and diverse diet. He said all complementary feeding indicators are far below acceptable levels, only one in 7 children aged 6-23 months hardly gets a meal with scarce dietary diversity.  He said major chunk of children are deprived of the minimum number of the meals a day. Elaborating he said food insecurity has two dimensions availability and affordability.

He said abject poverty, food insecurity, mal-nutrition, frequent infections, poor health condition, and hidden hunger are also closely associated to each other while number of hungry people is rising every year.

He further said the main threats to food security are, population explosion increases food demand, higher food prices, absence of variety of agriculture plant species, increasing in the area of scarcity water, limitation of the availability of land and finally food losses and food waste.

He said in prevailing circumstances, we must take immediate corrective measures to avert severe food insecurity grappling the region including Pakistan.

He suggested that all stakeholders at the helm of affairs must be taken on board for formulating prudent national policy to address this core issue with the active participation of public and private sectors to achieve the desired results.

 

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