Tackling food insecurity
Pakistan, despite being an agrarian country and having availability of enough food, is gradually facing the dilemma that is lack of access food mainly due to the income inequality and sharp education disparities. Majority of the agriculture community is small farmers and they need special care of policy makers in terms of official policies and protection of their interests. Official data shows that half of the population in the country is food insecure, and physical food availability is on the rise while socio-economic access to food and food utilization is on the decline. According to research, 2100 kilo calories per person are the standard amount of calorie intake whereas Pakistan has nutrition value of 1700 kilo calories per person. Simply establishment of a food ministry is not the solution to the food insecurity problem, as there is a need to address the actual issue. There are numerous unresolved issues especially funds improper allocations. Our agriculture man force is sharply divided into two social groups – poor peasants and land lords. The first group put in their maximum labour and hard work while the other group reaps major portion of the crops profits. Major issues to agriculture sector include lack of commercialization, lack of modern skills, lack of research, and price instability. It is a point of grave concern that major agriculture land holders seem least bothered to get maximum yield of their crops as they have never ever taken any initiative to ensure proper training to their farmers or usage of latest agriculture tools. All this unhealthy situation is constantly creating feelings of being less competitive against the farmers community in India, where they enjoy multiple subsidies which have evaporated in Pakistan, courtesy the better policies of official authorities. Non-existence of agriculture reforms and government wrong priorities are considered to be the major bottlenecks in revamping the waning farming sector which involves over 65 per cent of the countrys total population in one way or the other. Since majority of the countrys farmers are landless, there is a desperate need to introduce land reforms as well as ensure that they get lands so that they could contribute more in production and get out of the situation of deficit. Though various national agriculture organizations like PARC and NARC are hectically involved in initiating research projects on modern lines, yet there is still need to go beyond our capacities in order to overcome the daunting crisis of food incurity and come at a stage to earn a substantial foreign exchange from the international market.