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Business Recorder

Published Date: Jul 28, 2012


The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to produce an assessment of food security and nutrition situation in Pakistan.

The MoU was signed by WFP Pakistan Deputy Country Director and Officer-in-Charge, Mageed Yahia, and Executive Director, SDPI, Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri. Dr Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Wheat Commissioner, Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS) was the chief guest while Dr Kevin D. Gallagher, Country Represen-tative, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) was also present at the occasion.

The assessment which will draw on data collected in districts and regions across Pakistan was commissioned by the Ministry of National food Security and Research (MNFSR) to update the food security situation in the country in view of what it said were likely changes due to flood disaster and rising food prices since 2009. Results from analysis will show the numbers of food insecure people in different parts of the country and provide malnutrition figures, including underweight among children under five years and Global Acute Malnutrition Rates.

The report will be produced in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Speaking on the occasion, Dr Shakeel Ahmad Khan said, government of Pakistan values the independent opinion and output of this study would provide a baseline for policy makers to set future priorities.

Mageed Yahia said, the assessment will provide crucial data for all organisations involved in fighting malnutrition and addressing the food needs of the population, and is the first major step forward under the government’s Zero Hunger Programme launched earlier this year.

Dr Suleri said, the right set of policies requires the right set of information and this report would be important to combat food insecurity in Pakistan. He said this report is the continuity of SDPI’s earlier reports in 2001, 2003, and 2009 on food insecurity in Pakistan. He informed that after floods 2010 and 2011, ground realities have changed and this necessitates a fresh study on food security in Pakistan.

Kevin D. Gallagher said, despite a cereal exporting country, Pakistan faces challenges in household food availability and accessibility. This report, he said, would help in understanding the dynamics of food security at household level and result into better policies aimed at improving food access, availability and consumption in the country.