Published Date: Jul 13, 2011
FOOD INSECURITY MAY LEAD TO CIVIL UNREST
Persistent food insecurity and militancy may cause civil unrest in the country and serve as a potential threat to the overall peace of the society.
This was discussed at a session with selected parliamentarians who discussed “relationship between food insecurity, poverty, extremism and conflict”, here which was jointly organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and United States Institute for peace (USIP) on Tuesday.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qayum Suleri said the country was facing policy led insecurities in Pakistan, and explained that there are four dimensions to food insecurity being individual, national, regional, and global security and they are all interlinked so steps need to be taken to curb it on an individual level so to prevent it from reaching higher levels.
“Policy led vulnerabilities reduce our resilience and we need to invest in individual security to build individual resilience, a must for all levels of securities,” he said.
Dr Suleri quoted recently published “Food Insecurity Report: Pakistanby SDPI, which comes up with substantial evidence that inter and intra provincial disparities exist in terms of food security.
Fata has the highest percentage of food insecure population (67.7 per cent) followed by Balochistan (61.2 per cent), and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (56.2 per cent. He said that the lowest percentage of food insecure population (23.6 percent) is in Islamabad.
Wazir Ahmad Jogezai, Former Deputy Speaker National Assembly, said that Pakistan is facing a governance crisis rather than food crisis. He was of the view that clear vision, efficient policies and better management at government level can address the ever lasting food scarcity in Balochistan.
He said that there is lack of capacity in terms of food storage, thus creating a constant uncertainty regarding availability of wheat stock.
Deputy Chairman Senate Mir Jan Mohammad Jamali, termed ban of wheat as unconstitutional and demanded its immediate lifting to gratify the needs of people starving in far flung corners of the country. He stressed upon the need to introduce innovative techniques so as to feed over 180 million population of Pakistan and talked about population control in context of depleting resources at hand.
He further said that Iran had been supplying food to Balochistan for a long time, especially in Makran region.
He stressed upon the need to improve food insecurity in Balochistan and asked to devise policies to support livestock in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Nazar Muhammad Gondal, former federal minister for food and agriculture talked about food consumption patterns in various parts of the country, and said that earlier there was diversity of food consumption with heterogeneous intake in different provinces like rice
was used as a staple food in Sindh, corn in KPK, and barley in Balochistan. But with heavy subsidization of wheat, it has become the staple food.
He said that Pakistan exported around 1.5 million ton surplus wheat every year and this surplus amount needs proper storage capacity. According to him, large amount of wheat and other food stock is wasted due to inappropriate storage.
MNA Nafisa Shah of the PPP discussed food insecurity in view of post eighteenth amendment scenario and suggested developing integrated policies involving food, education, health and individual security to build resilience people and reduce their vulnerabilities against social evils and all kind of insecurities.
She also recommended improving stock storage, enhancing yield, better distribution and providing vulnerability cover to the poor communities.