Food security predicament in Pakistan

Pakistan is a low income developing Pakistan. Agriculture is one of the leading sectors in the country. About 68 per cent population in Pakistan earn their livelihood through farming and agriculture.

In general, looking at the global food security predicament in South Asian countries, and particularly Pakistan is on the hit list for food deficiency in coming years, the example we have in the recent past for Thar denizens, where hundreds of children died in the laps of their mothers due to widespread malnutrition. The magnitudes of food shortage would be even very much distressing for the marginalized secluded communities of Pakistan in near future.

During the World Food Summit held in 1996, the food security was defined as ‘food security exists when all people, at all times, 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.’ Food is a rudimentary fundamental human right as well as need originated from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), identifying the ‘right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food’, in addition to the ‘fundamental right to be free from hunger’.

Pakistan has total area of 79.6 million hectares, where 21.2 million hectares are cultivated. And the cropped area in the country constitutes 23.8 million hectares. Nearly 80 per cent of the cultivated land is watered. Pakistan is among top ten producers of sugar cane, mango, wheat, cotton, dates, and oranges and own 13th position in rice crop in the world.

As said by the Federal Bureau of Statistic 2010–2011, 40 per cent labor force of the country is working in agriculture sector where there is 36.2 per cent male and 75.4 per cent female. The sector contributes 20.9 per cent to the country’s GDP. Moreover, Pakistan has rich livestock sector, which employs almost 35 million people and contributes 11 per cent to the GDP of the country.

Having such rich and splendid agriculture landscape, our people are living hand to mouth. Hundreds of children are dying because of undernourishment. And we are struggling with substantial food insecurity challenges.

According to a report, the underprivileged people spend more on food as compared to non-food items. The report further elucidates that within the poorest group the average household’s expenditure share on food in Pakistan has gone up from 55.6 per cent in 2005-6 to 61.6 per cent in 2009. In three years 5 per cent graph of food expense had gone up.

According to a survey estimates 65 per cent population out of estimated 188 million 113 million people of Pakistan live in the rural areas. These are those people, who are directly affiliated with farming and agriculture. But now the state for farming in Pakistan is so poor that millions acre land is being degraded due to water logging and salinity. Where once one-acre land used to produce 60 to 70 man produce, but that has reduced to 40 men per acre? That thing in Pakistan is leading toward food shortage.

According to Global Food Security Index (2013), in South Asian countries Pakistan is second last for food insecure countries. According to World Food Programme (2009), in excess of 48 per cent of the population is food insecure.In line with the findings of the National Nutritional Survey (2011), up to 58 per cent, Pakistanis are food insecure. In two years, there seems 10 per cent increase in food insecurity. Additionally, according to it the situation was better in 2003 but has increasingly worsened with the year 2011 being the worst.

The reasons of food insecurity in Pakistan can be many such as, the rich are grabbing and controlling the resources, and compelling the relegated communities to live in poverty and hunger. Exceeding population over yield production. Larger urbanization and rise of cities. We are consuming more than conserving. Uneven water distribution, rural and urban divide, failed economic policies, negligence of new technology in the agriculture sector, lack of good governance, and corruption.

Moreover, there are many other reasons like natural and man-made disasters as floods, earthquakes, droughts, and conflicts, in the last two decades have played havoc with the existing agriculture system in the country. Recent flood (2015) in Pakistan have heavily hit the paddy crop in Punjab and Sindh, and thousand acres banana in Katcha areas of Sindh is spoiled. The same situation was created during floods of 2010 and 2011.

The World Development Report 2008 recommends that the growth originating in agriculture is four times more effective in reducing poverty than the growth coming from non-agriculture sectors. The government needs to revise its food securities policies and strategies focusing on rural agricultural land reform, a requirement for economic and social development within the country. The introduction of modern technologies in the agriculture sector needs to be implied.

Thus, to enhance the agriculture produce and overcoming food insecurity challenges in the country. The community level agriculture institutions need to be revolutionized, and rural farmers’ capacity enhancement help increases yields in future. Moreover, the integrated cropping methodologies and food preservation technologies must be developed. There should be more flexible trade policies with neighboring countries.


Save Earth from Climate change

The Earth’s climate has undergone a change in the past but never before have humans had such an influence on climate change as they do today. In the past, the earth’s climate was affected more by natural occurrences such as volcanic eruptions, changes in the earth’s orbit, & variations in the amount of energy given off by the sun.

Whether you realize it or not climate change has affected you!

While you may not feel like things have changed climate change evidence is all around and so are the effects of it.

  • Ice is melting all over our globe and fast (relatively). This includes not only ice at the North & South poles but also glacial ice found in mountainous areas.
  • Sea levels have risen and continue to rise more quickly.
  • Plant & animal species have suffered and/or are having to migrate due to the unfavorable climate for their specific species.
  • Rainfall (and snowfall) has increased on average globally with more rain happening in areas that typically get a lot of rain.
  • Hurricanes & Typhoons have increased and will increase in strength if not in number.
  • The temperature has risen approximately 1 degree Fahrenheit on average globally.

The NASA website says:

Most scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the “greenhouse effect”, the warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.

The most significant changes to earth’s climate change have occurred since the start of the industrial revolution. Don’t panic though because just like any other big change, it starts with making little changes that all together add up to a big result.

Climate-resilient Economic Development

With regard to climate change, among South Asian countries, Pakistan is hugely affected country. It is among the seventh countries vulnerable susceptible to climate change. The vulnerability of Pakistan is due to its geographic, demographic and varied climatic conditions.

Of that the nation has experienced severe consequences in the shape of economic instability, infrastructure immensely damaged, human capital loss, fishing, rare species of birds, flora, and fauna declined, and agricultural deficiency due to climate change since past few decades.

Not only has this but withal increment in temperature causes heatstroke death for past two years. Besides, there is increasing sea intrusion, expeditious melting of glaciers, elevating sea-levels, unprecedented rains, cyclones, droughts, and floods these adverse corollaries further threaten to hold back advantages in economic and social development.

As Pakistan already has suffered the most weather and climate cognate disasters, virtually every sector of development has adversely been affected due to transmuting climate pattern in the region.

Due to climate change, Pakistan has lost its actual gross domestic product from two decades.  Billions of rupees cash crop have been destroyed. Numbers of in-kind items have been spoiled.

Adapting to these hard circumstances, in recent past, Pakistan has taken good initiatives to combat with rising destructive climatic situation. Sustainable Land Management Program is initiated with the fortification of UNDP with the total cost of 105.400 million to combat desertification.

Pakistan has a climate change policy that “ensures that climate change is mainstreamed in the economically and socially vulnerable sectors of the economy and to steer Pakistan towards climate resilient development.”

In addition, recently the government has passed “Pakistan Climate Change Act 2017”. Also, the government has launched Green Pakistan Program (to increase the forest coverage) with the total cost of Rs. 3.7 billion till 2021, and a number of other climate battling projects.

Apart from these, at global level, Pakistan has signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Due to Donald Trump’s recent gainsays the USA to be no more the part of The Paris Agreement on climate change – is a great menace to changing global climate. Though, the US is the second country in the world that emits an astronomically vast quantity of greenhouse gases. Its withdrawal from the agreement will engender a huge breach and quandaries for other countries and be a great challenge for fighting climate change.

Pakistan has lots of options to adapt climate resilient economic development.

The most vulnerable to climate change are the people living in rural and semi-urban areas.

For that at the community level the focus need to be given on inclusive agricultural development – incipient climate resilient crops/seeds should be planted, new ways, means, and practices of cultivation need to be introduced among farmers, and their immediate linkages with new markets ought to be developed. It will also help in reducing poverty and improve the resilience of agriculture sector in the country.

In addition, the non-agricultural activities, such as consumption something through credit, insurance, and social safety nets need also be adopted. The government should expand tourism and services sector.

High rates of urbanization and economic growth will ameliorate climate resilience. The country’s climate change and economic policies should align for inclusive and sustainable economic development.

In climate affected rural areas, the government may setup inclusive economic generation zones that may help in the time of crises and disasters. Mostly affected are women and children, during the time of disasters, therefore for women there need to be initiated small business enterprises to generate some amount of money to run the households.

Moreover, economic diversification is one of the very potent implements for climate risk mitigation or adaptation in Pakistan.

It is a very earnest matter; therefore concerned departments and institutes ought to mainstream climate change adaptation in planning, budgeting and spending national and sub-national levels.

To sum up, measuring the growing economic menace of climate change to the country, and the required economic and fiscal responses, are challenging tasks that disclose obstacles regarding the absence of data and capacity.

However, Pakistan needs to develop knowledge and awareness base of the economic consequences of climate change is a significant stage to mainstreaming climate change into economic development.

موسمیاتی تبدیلی پر پالیسی سازی، ایک دیرینہ خواہش

ٓٓان دنوں پاکستان کی منتخب کردہ جمہوری حکومت خود ساختہ مسائل کا شکار ہے۔ ملک میں ہر جانب پانامہ گیٹ، جے آئی ٹی اور نواز شریف صاحب اور انکا خاندان زیرِ بحث ہے اور ہماری ریاست کا نام نہاد پانچواں ستون، میڈیا جو کہ ان دنوں ریٹنگ کے چکر میں پاگل سا ہو ا ہے۔لیکن اس چارچھ ماہ کے دورانیے میں ہم ملک میں درپیش بہت سے سنگین اورہنگامی بنیادوں پر حل طلب مسائل کو بھول گئے۔اب سوال یہ پیدا ہوتا ہے کہ نواز شریف صاحب اور ان کے شہزادے اور شہزادی کے کرپٹ ثابت ہونے یا نہ ہونے سے عام آدمی کو بھلا کیا فائدہ ہوگا؟ وہ عام آدمی جو دو وقت کی روٹی تک مشکل سے کما پاتا ہے۔ وہ عام آدمی جو کہ حالیہ مون سون بارشوں کے باعث سیلاب کے پیشِ نظر پریشان ہے۔ وہ عام آدمی جوگزشتہ دنوں چلنے والی شدید آندھیوں کے باعث 60-70فیصد تباہ شدہ گندم کی فصل پر بے بس اور مجبور ہے۔وہ عام آدمی جو کہ ماہ رمضان میں ضائع ہونے والے کثیر تعداد خوراک کے عوض سارا سال اچھی خوراک کھا سکتا ہے۔یا وہ عام آدمی جوسارا سال اپنی مدد آپ کے تحت مقامی سطح پرمل کر موسمیاتی تبدیلیوں کے حوالے سے صوبائی سطح پر پالیسی سازی اور حکومتی انتظام کاری کیلئے کوششیں کرتے رہے ۔

وہ کہتے ہیں نہ کہ ” بات نکلے گی تو بہت دور تلک جائے گی” ۔۔۔ تو پہلے بات کرتے ہیں ہماری نام نہاد جمہوری حکومت کی، جس کا ووٹر الیکشن کے دوران ہر وہ شخص ہوتا ہے جو کہ پچھلے دورِ حکومت میں آنے والی سیاسی پارٹی کے اُمیدواران سے اپنے وعدے پورے نہ کرنے کے باعث نئی پارٹی سے زیادہ امیدیں لگائے بیٹھاہوتا ہے۔ ان ووٹرز میں ہمارے کاشتکار بھائی بہن بھی تھے جن کوسماجی ترقی کی مد میں اگر صرف زرعی اصلاحات ہی میّسر ہو جائیں تووہ خوشی سے پھولے نہیں سماتے۔لیکن جنکے اپنے اتنے گھمگیر معاملات ہوں وہ ان غریب کسانوں کے بارے میں سوچے کیوں؟ لیکن ہاں! ایک وقت ہے جب ان کی بھی سنی جاتی ہے اور وہ ہے الیکشن مہم کا وقت۔ جی ہاں۔ اور تب سکیمیں بھی بنتی ہیں، صحت کارڈز بھی اور کاشتکاروں کے آنسو پونچھنے والے cowboyhat پہنے ہمارے قابل احترام وزیرِاعلی صاحب کی تصویریں اور ویڈیوز بھی میڈیا پر چلائی جاتی ہے۔ لہذا بنیادی شہری حقوق کی فراہمی سے زیادہ ہمیں صوبائی دارلحکومت،لاہورمیں کی چند سالوں میں بار بار بننے والی نئی کشادہ سڑکیں، میٹرو بس، اورنج لائن اور ائیرپورٹ کی دوبارہ تعمیر ہونے جیسے بڑے بڑے پروجیکٹ زیادہ عزیز ہیں۔ پچھلے دنوں سانحہ احمد پورشرقیہ کے موقعہ پر ایک صحافی نے دورانِ ٹالک شو ،کیا خوب کہاکہ چلیں آپ لے لینا اپنی کمیشن دلپسند ممالک ترکی اور چین سے،لیکن عوام کے صحت اورتعلیم جیسے انتہائی بنیادی حق کیلئے ہسپتال اور سکول ہی بنوادیں۔

اب کچھ بات کرتے ہیں عام آدمی کے عمل اور اعمال کی۔ رواں سال پانی کی عالمی دن کے موقع پر پنجاب یونورسٹی کے ایک منعقدہ سیمینار میں شرکت کا موقعہ ملاس میں ایک ماہرسائنسی علوم طلبہ و طالبات کوپانی کی قلت کی سائنسی وجوہات سمجھانے کی بجائے کچھ یوں تاکید کر رہے تھے کہ آج اگرملکی سطح پر ہمیں پانی کی قلت کا سامنا ہے تو وہ ہمارے بد اعمال کی بدولت ہیں ۔ہم سب گناہ گار ہیں اور توبہ نہیں کرتے جسکی وجہ سے اﷲہم پر یہ عذاب نازل کر رہا ہے۔ ان محترم کی باتیں سن کر میں سوچ میں پڑ گئی کہ کیا یہ شخص جانتا ہے کہ جن نوجوانوں سے وہ اس وقت مخاطب ہے ان کے نصاب میں تکنیکی سائنس کے ذریعے پانی اور موسمیاتی تبدیلیوں کے مسائل پر تحقیق تو شامل ہے لیکن انسان کے اعمال کی بحث شامل نہیں۔لیکن اگر ایک لمحہ کیلئے مان بھی لیں کہ پانی کی قلت، موسمیاتی تبدیلیاں اور غذائی قلت کی وجوہات ہمارے اعمال ہیں اس کا مطلب پھرتو ساری قوم دن رات کی نمازیں پڑہنا شروع کر دے اور اپنے گناہ بخشوائے۔گویا پاکستان کے شہریوں کے موجودہ حالات بلخصوص موسمیاتی تبدیلی ، پانی کی بڑھتی ہوئی شدید قلت اورغذائی قلت میں انکے عمل کانہیں کوئی عمل دخل ہی نہیں۔

ادارہ برائے تحفظِ ماحول پنجاب پچھلے تقریباً ایک سال سے لاہور ہائی کورٹ کے مجوزہ کمیشن برائے موسمیاتی تبدیلی کی راہنمائی ،پنجاب پلاننگ اینڈ ڈویلپمنٹ ڈیپارٹمنٹ کی شراکت داری اور دیگر غیرسرکاری تنظیموں کی مشاورت سے موسمیاتی تبدیلیوں پر صوبائی پالیسی ترتیب دینے کی کوشش میں ہے۔پالیسی مسودہ پر متعدد غیر سرکاری تنظیموں نے اپنے بھی تاثرات دئیے جن میں سے بہت سے نکات کو شامل بھی کر لیا گیالیکن تاحال اصل مدعا تویہ ہے کہ پالیسی مسودمیں ہر اس عام آدمی کے حق کا خیال رکھا جائے جو موسمیاتی تبدیلیوں سے چھوٹی یا بڑی کسی بھی سطح پر متاثر ہو رہا ہے، اور یقیناًپالیسی کا اسمبلی میں پیش ہونااور اصل صورت میں عمل درآمد ایک لازمی امر ہے۔ خدا کرے کہ ہر آنے والی حکومت ، اداروں کو اتنا خودمختار بنائے کہ چاہے سیا ست کا پارہ جتنا بھی ہائی کیوں نہ ہو جائے، اداروں کو صرف اپنے کام سے مطلب ہو۔