PAKISTAN ranks 92nd out of 116 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) which aims to mobilize global action to fight hunger. The index includes four indicators: undernourishment, child wasting, stunting and under-five mortality rate. While 37.6% of children are stunted, Pakistan has reduced the proportion of undernourished population from 21.1% in 2000 to 12.9% today. Similarly, Pakistan has reduced the prevalence of wasting among children under five from 14.1% in 2000 to 7.1% in 2020.
Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe published a report on world hunger which stated: “As we approach the year 2030, the achievement of the global commitment to zero hunger is tragically distant. Furthermore, he claims that current projections show that the world as a whole – and 47 countries in particular – will not even reach low-income status by 2030.
According to the World Food Program (WFP) Global Report on Food Crises 2021, food crises will spread and worsen, with bleak prospects for 2021. The WFP estimates that 41 million people are on the brink of starvation .
Food security is threatened by a variety of sources, including increasing conflict, extreme weather events caused by global climate change, and the economic and health challenges posed by Covid. Food insecurity refers to more than just a lack of food in the market. It also indicates a lack of funds to obtain food, let alone nutritious and healthy food.
More and more Pakistanis are now facing food insecurity due to the double-digit rise in food prices and declining incomes over the past three years. According to the WFP, 18% of Pakistanis suffer from acute food insecurity. The WFP says access to affordable food is the biggest barrier to getting a balanced diet, and the majority of Pakistanis are unable to do so.
Therefore, increasing food availability is insufficient to eliminate hunger and undernutrition. If universal food security and the pervasive concern of stunting and wasting in children are to be addressed, it is equally if not more important to ensure that people have access to healthy and safe meals.
The number of food insecure people has increased, while social and economic imbalances have only worsened as a result of our economic and financial policies. The government must work to improve the value chain of fruit and vegetable crops while ensuring the availability of storage facilities to prevent future food crises.
To mitigate the destructive consequences of natural disasters on food security, the government must encourage crop variety, water management and climate-smart agriculture. The country’s food security depends on prioritizing agricultural value addition and maintaining subsidies for important commodities.
Posted in Dawn, July 25, 2022