Overcoming food security challenge - a hard task.

Pakistan is among the few developing countries which are experiencing adverse effects of climate change due to excessive use of fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) in the last few decades which is resulting in intense heat waves and torrential rainfalls causing severe droughts and floods. This erratic change has direct implications for the production ecosystem of the agriculture sector which, in turn, reflects on the food security situation in Pakistan as the balance between the level of food production and availability of stocks is disturbed.

During recent floods, millions of acres of wheat, rice, and corn growing areas got submerged which will result in increased import bills due to a reduction of harvest and post-harvest losses. Food security risk has increased significantly due to the unpredictable nature of temperature and rainfalls. Physical access and affordability are also two important parameters of food security. Due to increasing food prices globally, the buying power of the common man has been squeezed further exacerbating food security challenges in Pakistan.

The recent floods have triggered a vicious cycle. Starting from the agriculture sector (both forward and backward linkages) which is the mainstay of the rural population is said to have taken the worst hit. Connected to it is the food security issue as a lot of crops and livestock have been washed away which may result in food shortages and price hikes in the coming months. Brewing somewhere in between is a humanitarian crisis as a lot of people associated with agriculture sector will now be unemployed which will trigger a fresh wave of poverty.

In 2018, Pakistan introduced its first-ever National Food Security Policy. Its goal was to increase food availability, accessibility, and sustainability by making the agriculture sector more productive, modern, and climate-resilient. In Pakistan, 23 percent of the GDP is dependent on the agricultural sector. Even before the floods, 40% of the population faced chronic food insecurity which has aggravated further due to rising inflation.

Currently, Pakistan ranks 92nd out of 116 countries on the Global...

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