Accessibility links

Hunger pains: Pakistan’s food insecurity

The challenges of bringing better food security to Pakistan are immense. This collection of essays provides a broad overview of food security in Pakistan, with emphasis on the agricultural sector.

The document indicates that food security in Pakistan has been under constant threat during the last few years. Indeed, 77 million going hungry and the 36% of the population are afflicted by poverty. In addition, malnutrition is a serious problem, and females particularly suffer much more than males.

The paper highlights the importance of good governance in the context of food security. On the other hand, it advocates for a broadening of women’s earning opportunities in Pakistan, particularly through micro-financing.

Conclusions are as follows:

  • present-day food insecurity “is not episodic or short-term — it is chronic and structural, and must be addressed in those terms
  • food security policy framework should be enlarged, and hunger should be considered a national security issue
  • cash and food assistance programs should be supported, yet food support needs to be incorporated into the overall policy structure
  • a “radical” land distribution reform is required , whereas conflict and governance challenges should be resolved
  • in terms of agriculture, investing in agricultural productivity activities is necessary, and the improvement of storage facilities, transportation, and irrigation systems is essential
  • however, non-farm employment generation is of great importance, as well as safety nets for the poor

The authors argue that micro-level interventions should be focused on, and the products rather than commodities should be looked-for. Moreover, they suggest that the existing crop mix could be reconsidered, and the production function can be changed.

The authors finally state that it is crucial to move from thinking in terms of food security to thinking in terms of food sovereignty — the sovereignty of ordinary people, not nations.