FOOD SECURITY IN PAKISTAN
By M. Modassar Ali*, Abdullah Bin Masood*, Mujahid Ali** (*IFSN, UOS; **Horticulture, UOS)
Food security is defined as per the World Food Summit in 1996, Food security exists when all people, always, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs, and their food preferences are met for an active and healthy life. And the food Insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Food security is a major concern in the developing countries. It is a major issue in countries of Africa. Pakistan is country having a huge population confined to a limited area, and as per the census of 2016 the population of the republic was 193.2 million. There is a significant increase in population of Pakistan as comparing to the census of 1998 when it was about 132 million. The area of Pakistan is about 796098 Sq. Km. Comparing to its area, Pakistan has a vast resource in all terms. It is the blessing of nature on Pakistan. It has four seasons, a proper rainfall, readily available water throughout the year, a vast variety of fruits and vegetables readily available throughout the year, a highly fertile land and much more uncountable. Besides all the resources the state Pakistan must bear a burden of huge population. Food, Fiber and Shelter are the basic human necessities. At the time of its formation Pakistan hardly had any reliable resources. There were no proper water channels and water resources. Agriculture technology was at its dead levels. There was a poor formation of all the government institution and a list of problem to be solved. With the time being the country improved its resources and dealt with several problems. New dams were constructed under “Indus Water Treaty”. The government itself got stabilized. Agriculture sector was given a great attention especially in 1965-69. Food security, still, is one of the major problem in Pakistan but it would be true if we say that Food Security is the real problem of Pakistan. There are several areas of Pakistan where the problem of food is at its dead levels, these includes the desert of “Thar” and the areas of Sindh and Baluchistan. Natural Calamities, poor law and order, poor rate of literacy, poor organization of government departments, pollution and old technology of agriculture have led to a sharp decline in food security across the country. 21st century is the time when nations around the world are improving their Agriculture resources, technology and techniques. Their agricultural productivity is being multiplied by numbers. They are preventing disease prevalence by universal vaccination, solving the problem of environmental pollution and equipping the latest techniques and technology related to agriculture. They are managing a well-managed agricultural institutions and departments that have a key role in the development of the sector. Their farmer is educated and trained. Another addition in the food sector are GMO Foods. Developed countries are putting a great attention on GMO Foods. A lot of new and more reliable verities have been produced and work is going on for production of more. Pakistan have no national strategy and plan to counter the problems or for the improvement of the agricultural sector. Pakistan has no proper institution or councils to fix the agricultural problems. The government of Pakistan is seeking no attention for development of agricultural sector. With the massive population increase the country is leading towards the widespread famine and hunger. Food security is in fact, much more than just food production, distribution and consumption. Food is the top most priority of every living being since their inception. Food gives the energy to grow and maintain the body functions. There are certain agricultural technologies that have affected the aroma, taste and the culture of food. Use of Insecticide, pesticides, rodenticides and fertilizer have led to a couple of problems concerning food safety. Two more terms related to food security are Food safety and food sovereignty. Food Safety is related to the handling, preparation, processing, storage, and transportation in ways that prevent foodborne illness. Food can serve as a medium for the growth of microorganisms and hence can transmit diseases from person to person. The food can also get contaminated with external factor during its storage, processing, transportation and preparation. So, food safety should be a major concern while dealing food security. Food sovereignty is a broader term, it is much more complicated and is confined to a person’s choice. Food sovereignty is about the right of peoples to define their own food systems. The advocates, of food sovereignty, put the people who are related to productions, distribution and consumption of food at the center of decisions on food systems and policies, rather than the demands of local markets and local corporations that are believed to have dominated the global food system. So, the terms “Food Safety” and “Food Sovereignty” should always be associated when dealing with term “Food Security”. Food should be safe in terms of contamination (microbial, physical or Chemical), food should be safe by any means of adulteration, food should be in its pure form and it should be free from any harmful chemical fertilizers and insecticides or pesticides. The chemical fertilizers and insecticides/pesticides spoil the food, make it contaminated and then this food is not good for human consumption. Summing up, the food security is the major issue now in Pakistan. Serious attention must be given to the agriculture sector, a proper department should be formed, and check and balance must be taken. Institutions should be formed that have a concern for safety of food. So, integrated approaches, advanced technology, techniques and methods should be adopted for advancement of agriculture sector.