Published Date: Apr 26, 2012
HALF OF PAKISTANS POPULATION FOOD INSECURE
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Executive Director Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri has said that Pakistan cannot develop in a situation where more than half of its population is food insecure, anaemic and malnourished.
He was speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Pakistan’s National Zero Hunger Action Plan’ organised by the SDPI here Tuesday evening. Shakeel Ramay of the SDPI conducted the proceedings.
Zero Hunger Plan (ZHP) is a five-year programme aiming to reach to a total of 61 million food insecure people across the country with a total cost of $16 billion. The programme includes provision of nutritious and fortified food commodities to most food insecure and vulnerable sections of society particularly malnourished children, pregnant women and primary school children. The programme also features school feed programme and establishment of ‘zero hunger shops’ in 45 extremely food insecure districts in Pakistan.
Dr. Suleri observed that food security is not ensured through surplus production, but demands adequate physical availability, socio-economic access and absorption of nutritious food to meet dietary requirements of everyone. He said that it is good that after consistent denials, government finally acknowledged food insecurity as a problem.
Talking of zero hunger plan, he said, “It faces many real challenges but we can learn from Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico where such programmes are running successfully.” He said, the most immediate challenges are related to governance, institutional arrangements, division of responsibilities between federation and provinces and pilferages and mobilisation of resources.
Kevin Gallagher, Country Representative, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said that Zero Hunger Plan helps government’s obligations under the right to food, which entails provision of nutritious food for everyone. Appreciating ZHP, he said that it would provide opportunities to vulnerable people, which also place conditional obligation on them to secure food by their own.
Jean-Luc Siblot, Country Representative, World Food Programme, lauded the efforts of the government in combating food insecurity and launching of ZHP. This, he said, reflects very high-level of commitment towards addressing hunger and WFP will continue its support towards the successful accomplishment of the plan.
Dr. Chaudhry Inayat of Ministry of National Food Security and Research informed participants that Zero Hunger Action Plan was drafted after a very rigorous process of consultations with various stakeholders. He said, the plan envisions a prosperous and hunger free Pakistan with food security available at every household.