Food security under threat despite surplus food
Despite the country is enjoying surplus crops especially of wheat and rice, the food security seems extremely chaotic, as high inflation, declining income, unequal distribution of resources and stagnating domestic productivity are hampering attempts to achieve food security.
Experts are critically examining this situation giving a warning that the country’s food security is under threat due to the shallow approach of the economic managers.
Pakistan Agriculture Scientists Association Chairman Jamshed Iqbal Cheema said that there is a significant increase in the number of food insecure people in Pakistan, which now stands at 51 per cent of the total population as compared to about 22 per cent six years back; this is largely due to decline in agricultural production, especially in the Punjab, caused by ill-conceived policies.
He said that investment in agriculture sector not only ensures food security of any country but also help to produce a healthy nation besides promoting rule of law in the society. Farming is just not a profession but an effort to save 194 million people of Pakistan from hunger.
Keeping in view the population growth, Pakistan needs 50 percent more agricultural production by 2025 and it can only be done by strengthening the agricultural sector and promoting good agricultural practices for maximum per acre yield.
He was of the view that the government should reduce the input cost by waiving taxes on the inputs and bringing down diesel and electricity prices. He was of the view that it would enhance usage of quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other inputs which would result in better production thus ensuring more grain for ever increasing population of Pakistan.
PASA Chairman believed that undernourished Pakistani population were reduced to two meals a days from three meals. Due to increase in input cost, the per head person cost of Pakistani has increased to Rs 3,000 per month, Cheema said and added that due to increase in this cost people were compromising their meals to manage the other day to day affairs.
He said average family size in Pakistan was 5.5 persons which mean a family have to spend Rs 16,500 per month to ensure three meals a day.
He regretted that Pakistan which is attributed as basically agricultural country lacks in provision of sufficient food and it is in the ranks of those countries which have low grains per capita for its citizens.
Agri Forum Pakistan Chairman, Ibrahim Mughal, while commenting on the food security in Pakistan said that it happened first time in the history of Pakistan that despite food surplus, shortage and price hike has been created several times during last one decade. While farmer is producing more and more wheat but not getting any benefit,” he commented.
Source: The Nation