Humans and their failed Resource Partitioning

People can hardly refuse temptation of delicious food. Apart from being a mere temptation, food is an essential element for the survival of human being. According to Dr. Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”, the basic “physiological needs” contains air, water, food etc. That’s why Professor Yuan Longping, “Father of Hybrid Rice” is so important to China as well as the whole word; he resolved the biggest problem faced by Chinese and saved thousands of people from famine.

Famine, the word sound so feminine but we can never understand the horror behind it until we have experienced it. Having the ability to get food at a click on our smart phones, one can never realize the pain of a mother in Thar caressing her crying baby to sleep that haven’t had a proper meal in days. According to a study conducted in University of Queensland, over eating today is a bigger problem than lack of food. Dilemma is that wealth and resources are concentrated in the hands of few while the rest of the poor majority starves to death.

In Pakistan, we love to do lavish parties and show off our wealth by the numbers of dishes served at a function. The sight of food being served at a wedding ceremony is extremely amusing but distressing at the same time. It looks like a battlefield; much like a fierce fight among people on whether who gets to fill their plate first.

While conspiring on capturing the table nearest to the food, me and my cousins would divide our responsibilities. One would guard the table while the rest are away getting food. The others would split the tasks of getting different dishes. It wasn’t until recently, when I studied the phenomenon of Resource Partitioning in ecology. It was surprising how our group of cousins was acting so similar to animal species. Resource partitioning is often seen in similar species that occupy the same geographic area. These similar animals avoid competition by using different kinds of food or other resources. If only humans had learned from these animals, there wouldn’t be 9.5 million hungry people in Ethiopia (African News Agency). Our greed has led us to procure as much as we can and become insensible towards the pain and suffering in other countries.

Pakistan produces enough food to feed the entire population but because of food wastage an estimated 6 out of 10 people go to bed hungry. On the Global Hunger Index out of 118 developing countries, Pakistan is ranked at 107 (The News). While wasting food we never ponder upon the effort a farmer has put into preparing his rice and wheat fields. In Pakistan, farmers feed the whole nation but unfortunately they are the least respected and most exploited population in our country. Sugar Mills and Flour Mills owners have become billionaires while a farmer’s situation hasn’t changed. How can there be peace in such an unjust society?

“A hungry people listens not to reason, nor cares for justice, nor is bent by any prayers.”

-SENECA

Early humans were hunters and gatherers. They would hunt just the amount of food needed and gather just the amount of fruits or vegetables required. There were no refrigerators or fridge to stock up stuff inside. The food was respected and cherished. The only way to rectification is our collective consciousness and concern for humanity. One should realize the consequences of one’s

actions. In short, we should think globally and act locally. Let’s vow not to waste food and respect it.

Water scarcity leads to Food insecurity

“Global Warming is not a prediction, it is happening”

Climate change is a global phenomenon, but their impacts are more pronounced in South Asia during the past few decades, which challenges food security in this region.

Thus, Pakistan facing frequent climate change induced annual drought and floods. Once, Pakistan known a water surplus country and now a water deficient country. The rain fall is neither sufficient, nor regular, to meet the growing needs of water. Yet we are wasting water on daily bases.

The surface water resources in Pakistan mainly the Indus River and its tributaries, which bring is about 138 million acre feet of water annually. The Indus River alone provide 65% of the total river flows.

The flow during the Kharif is 84% and during Rabi season is 16% in Pakistan.

Pakistan always face food shortage due to water scarcity and 47% population is food insecure. The production of food is greatly dependent on irrigation. So, Pakistan required new strategies to enhance water use efficiency, maintain and improve the quality and sustainability of resources base at Basin and water shed level. Pakistan need to invest soon in increasing rain water harvesting by increasing storage capacity of water.

Long term strategies may include the construction of large storage dams, better flood and drought forecasting mechanisms and resolving water distribution problems in all over Pakistan.

Short term strategies to save water are careful use of water in our daily use, campaigns and advocacy to ensure lesser water wastage, people in urban areas are wasting a lot of water in car wash, street cleaning, and other recreational activities these need to stop. Because water we waste in urban areas are causing a lot of trouble for the people in rural areas and causing damage to our agriculture. We are killing the rights of the people who are now deprived of the water because of our wastage of water.

World Food Day

World food day

It is celebrated on “16 October” every year on a global scale. The theme of 2018 on “WORLD FOOD DAY” is…

“Our actions are our Future”

Food is the basic requisite which must be fulfilled by every citizen of any country and a person of every religion, and creed in any geographical regions.

Food is basically any healthy matter which any living being eats, drink or can gain energy and fulfill its daily needs from.”

Foodies are the people who have tenderness to eat food as their obsession and not just because of hunger.

Food in Different Continents:

European people like to have a beer, blini, crepe and specifically borshch. Americans are fond of southern bbq. African like cuisines. In Asia, foodies adore to have Thai-basil chicken. Australians like to have burgers simply while Antarticans are fond of having fish and other sea-foods.

Foods in Pakistan:

In Pakistan, diverse regions have different cultures and traditions in food also. Like Punjabis eat food having much spices and chilies e.g; nan chany, karahi, biryani etc. While the people living in northern western (KPK) used to have saltish food e.g; Balochis and the people of Gilgit like to have dishes having less salt and almost no spices e.g; Saji, sea-food.

World food day theme in 2017 was “Zero hunger” but unfortunately it is might be possible in 2030 it is beneficial to celebrate food day internationally to lessen the scarcity at any level.

Major reasons that why we need to act upon this zero-hunger slogan:

    It could save the precious lives of 3.1million malnourished children wide-reaching.

    Well-nourished mothers could have well-nourished babies in their laps.

    GDPA could be increased up to 16.5% by acting upon this line of attack.

    Economical enhancement can also occur as a result of this NO HUNGER system.

    A healthy lifetime earning is upgraded as a result.

    Eliminating the iron deficiency can boost-up the efficiency rate up to 20%.

    9.4% of work-force can be increased by dwindling the mortality rate among children.

    Increasing food would be helpful for creating a more prosperous, healthier and satisfied human environment.

 

RURAL WOMEN: THEIR PARTICIPATION AND EFFORTS IN AGRICULTURE

Whenever we talk about the participation and efforts of village women in agriculture we cannot deny the fact based on anthropological studies that women were the first to plant gardens of Cereals. In ancient societies the task of planting and farming was the job of women whereas men were involved in hunting animals. So, in other words women are the real founders of agriculture. Even today women are the main producers and the main source of total agriculture in the world.

In Pakistan women are estimated to constitute 42% of the total family labor. In other countries like Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Morocco and Lebanon women comprised 50.7%, 55.3%, 34.7%, 53.2% and 40.7% of total paid and unpaid agriculture labor respectively. In developing countries, two-third of the women labor force is engaged in agricultural labor e.g. in countries like Zimbabwe, Congo, Afghanistan and Kenya women provide 40-80% of the labor. If we see the percentage of active females working in agriculture globally, the ratio of women working globally in agriculture is 50% it exceeds to 61% in low income deficit countries and touches 79% in least developed countries. In-short, rural women are playing a vital role in agriculture production sector all over the world.

Females all over the world are not only involved in field works like sowing , rearing, transplanting and production but they are perform activities which supplements agriculture productivity e.g. food storage, threshing, grain cleaning, cottage industry and livestock etc. They are also engaged in providing cattle for plugging and poultry farm activities. Women are an equally important part of society as males. As a part of society women are playing part in reproductive, productive and community management activities.

Females all over the world are facing serious constraints in agriculture but Pakistani women have to face more difficult circumstances because of strict social, cultural, financial, legal and political factors applied to the gender discrimination. Women are facing preferential treatment inside and outside the boundary wall. As the women are involved in every corner of household work and they are also easing their partners by equally participating in their field works, this overloading of work adversely affects the women health and also affects the health of infants and young children. Almost all the rural women are illiterate because of conservative cultural codes and are unaware of agricultural techniques. All the agencies access only men to provide them knowledge related to farming, latest techniques and productivity enhancement resultantly women only get secondary knowledge. In underdeveloped countries women are deprived of the right of land ownership. Emerging trend of male migration to urban areas in search of jobs increased the responsibilities of village women, particularly the farm work. In brief women participation is considered low in country’s development not because of their

minimum participation but because their efforts are not accounted and recognized at national levels.

Particularly in Pakistan, despite of all these efforts and contributions made by women in agricultural productivity they are not even accolade at family level. Instead of crediting their efforts they are disgraced by their men and are made to feel little because of their ignorance and little knowledge. Women are usually censured at minor things and they remain dependent on their males for their whole lives. Men’s ego never accepts a women working better than him.

That’s why he uses his man power for letting her down. In order to increase the agricultural production we have to recognize the efforts of rural women at national levels. We have to give them sufficient rights so that they can work without any hurdles.

Firstly, an integrative system should be designed by Government of Pakistan in order to ease women in all agricultural sectors e.g. tax reforms, financial services , land reforms etc.

Secondly, gender-segregated data should be collected and considered by policy makers. In addition to this, women should be taught about the use of latest agricultural tools and techniques. Moreover, women should be made familiar with the new methods of food preservation and processing.

Anyhow, we should celebrate the International Day of Rural Women on national levels and acclaim and appreciate the rural women efforts publically. We should stand for their rights and take steps to make their lives unruffled.

The perfect women, you can see is the working women, one who uses her hands, and her head and her heart for the good of others. (Thomas Hardy)