Team Members: Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Syed Qasim Ali Shah
United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948. Scarcity of food can be a potential source of conflicts and incidence of socio-economic and political instability. There is a close nexus among food insecurity, poverty and disease. So food is not only an agricultural and a trade commodity but is also a political and public health issue.
Despite being a complex process, securing food is the only way to honor the right to food and thus international commitments. Food security leads towards healthy lives, a resolve national governments have reiterated through international covenants and declarations such as the UDHR 1948, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR 1966) and World Food Summit (WFS-1996).
Food security has international, regional, national and household dimensions. Effective supply and demand and equitable distribution of food are the preconditions to secure food at any of these levels. A minimum level of health standard that can help convert food intake to support a healthy body is an additional requirement to measure effective food security.
For sustainable food security at national and household levels, states need to provide its people an enabling environment by ensuring them an easy access to opportunities of having sufficient food. They need to monitor the state of food security within their respective countries and at household levels. Food Security Analysis (FSA) provides such an opportunity that helps plan and timely intervene to ensure food security. This however, requires institutional capacity and capability, which many developing countries including Pakistan lack at present.
World Food Programme (WFP) Pakistan, being cognizant of this deficiency, undertook a preliminary FSA in 1998. Its findings however, could not help ascertain the true food security situation of Pakistan due to limited scope and content of the FSA.
This shortcoming prompted WFP to plan another more comprehensive FSA, both for rural and urban areas. As in case of poverty, there also exists in many countries a rural urban divide in terms of food security. Accordingly, at first place, FSA 2003 for rural Pakistan was undertaken from June 2003 to June 2004. It analyzed, using a set of relevant indicators, available secondary data on the basis of three key determinants of food security namely physical access to food (availability), economic access to food, and effective biological utilization (food absorption). FSA 2003 findings, summarized below, translate into a “State of Food Insecurity” prevailing in Rural Pakistan.