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.

 

Food security and threats

Ever growing population and faltering economy, along with, the disastrous changes being witnessed in the climate of the country has severely threatened the food security of the state. Pakistan, being the agricultural country, has highly depended on the wheat, rice and other food articles. Despite the high growth rate in these areas, unfair distribution and hoarding of the grain as well as unpredictable high prices make it hard for the poor and unemployed people to buy for diet. Concurrently, for the food security, economic and social strength is essential to maintain sufficient food availability because lower economic growth results in the failure of buying power of the people. Scary Statistics are shown by the Global Report on the Food Crises 2017 in which Pakistan is among those top three south Asian countries who are most poverty stricken in the world i.e. Bangladesh and India. It shows that 5o million child’s, under age 5 have not weight enough to meet height. Agricultures sector that was most progressing in the 2000s had plummeted to negative growth last year and this year, it has growth rate of 2.01%. with this growth rate and declining the stock exchange reserves, poverty would rise to unprecedented scale and would further deteriorate the food situation.

Horrible situation came to front in the supreme court hearing in which the plight of the children of the Thar was noticed. Unavailability of the food caused death of hundreds of the children, at the same, no long-term initiative has been taken to ensure the food security there that is the fundamental right as per law. Concurrently, where global population is expected to be doubled till 2050, situation is far worse for the countries like us with high population growth rate.  Provision of the safe food to millions of people in the face of impending threats of global warming, melting of glaciers, shrinking agricultural lands and declining exports pose high risk to the massive population. According to the recent estimates, cultivated agriculture land has declined from 0.45% in 1996 to 0.15% in 2018. Deficiency of the food is also due to the energy crises that posed multidimensional problems i.e. unemployment, shut down of the business, cut down in exports, decrease foreign reserves and slow agricultural growth. With these multifaceted issues, food threats become more illuminant and hazardous.

Globally, incentives are taken to use more technology and manpower to raise up growth of the food items in proportion with the rising population. Even in the country like us, lavish use of the meat, milk, butter and other articles of food linked with rural life have reduced due to massive urbanization and lack of incentive on the part of the government. This has generated need of the artificial industry to meet the demand of the meat, milk, butter and fast food. Unplanned urbanization has resulted in the reduction of the cultivated lands, cities have absorbed massive chunks of the land leaving huge unemployment.  In the same way, unemployment is linked with the domestic agricultural and industrial growth that is sluggish in our country. If any country has robust growing economy, their population always have had enough earnings to buy food, but, if economy is already faltering, lack of resources on the part of people would make their survival difficult.

The government should boost economic growth by taking much needed steps of giving incentives to the industrial and agricultural sector that would in return, create jobs for the people. With the rewarding jobs, threats of the food security can be tackled. Moreover, climate change is endangering the existence of the agricultural sector in our country. Immediate measures are required to be implemented in controlling the climate change in collaboration with other neighboring countries in order to maintain reasonable temperature to avert the threats of ice melting. Thus, food security and economic growth interact with each other and go hand in hand.