Food insecurity can be defined as inaccessible of food for an active and healthy life to survive.
It is a chronic problem which causes unavailability of food, malnutritionalized; thereby, people do not have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life; therefore, it is important to enhance the availability of food by utilizing different schemes so that the people of all over the world do not face the food insecurity challenges. Food insecurity is a major threat which is caused by various factors.
Following are the causes of food insecurity:
Mismanagement supply of foods: The Countries where mismanagement supply of food or not uniform distribution of food exist, these countries face the serious issue (Food insecurity). In recent years, Pakistan has produced more food than those of its population consumes. It has become a major producer of wheat. However, the poorest and most vulnerable people in Pakistan cannot afford a sufficient and nutritious diet. Despite the overall grow in food production. According to the UN World Food Program (WFP), more than 20 percent of Pakistan’s population is undernourished. Nearly 45 percent of children younger than five years of age are stunted.
Food wastage: Food wastage is common in the developed and developing countries. People waste food more than they eat. After eating minimal food, they throw the leftovers outside of their home or in the dustbins. Instead of giving them to the needy persons. There are many people who deprive of food, they strive hard to survive their families and satisfy them. Research has estimated that in developed countries 222 million tons food wasted per year. It means they have high quantity of food that they get eat to the whole country of Africa.
Urbanization: The most important resources of providing food are the cultivation of different types of crops such as rice, wheat, maize etc but these resources are decreasing day to day by urbanization (increasing the settlement) and the space or plot of producing crops are becoming limited. Increasing population and growth rate is an other cause of unavailability of food. The food resources do not meet the people and food insecurity prevalent for longer period.
Low quality of Food: In Pakistan, there is high quality of food produces but unfortunately they export the good quality of foods abroad and they leave low quality of food in the country. Exporters do not want that the people of their own country get avail of the good quality of produces. People produce food for commercializing, they do not think about the poor people. The persons who buy the low quality of foods, are unaware of these produces. They do not read the instructions of ingredients and use them; thereby, most of the districts suffer from various diseases. This trend is not exist in Pakistan that reading the ingredient carefully before using it.
Instability In Food price: When the country or state suffer from food insecurity than there the availability of foods become limited. At that time, the demand of food increases, due to this, the price of the limited produces reaches its peak; therefore, the poor strata cannot afford to get the food. In this case, the price of foods is high than its actual price. The supply and demand have opposite link with each other. When the supply of food increases then the demand decreases; but when the supply of food decreases the demand of that product automatically emerges. The check and balance does not prevail in the price of foods.
Natural Disasters: No doubt, Agriculture sector plays a key role in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country and also subjects in the reduction of other sources such as the three basic necessities of life i.e food, shelter and clothes. Food production is mainly dependent upon land and water resources. More than 90% of rice and 43 % of wheat in the world is produce and consumed in Asia; However, the natural disasters has been affecting the Agriculture sector for few decades.
Similarly, the crops require water to complete their life cycle; hence, due to the prevalent of drought, the farmers and the gardeners do not grow crops, fruits etc. It is one of the major cause in agriculture sector which the grower faces. Same in the case, sometimes there is attack of insect pests on the crops which harm the crop and damage the economy of every individual.
In Pakistan, desert locust have already devoured large quantities of crops in over 60 districts of all the four provinces. The locusts believe to have entered into the southwestern Balochistan province, from neighboring Iran. These insects, mainly originating from deserts, eat anything from bark to seeds and flowers. They travel up to a speed of 93.2 miles (149 kilometers) a day. The region saw the first wave of the locust strike in May last year since 1993.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Pakistan’s 38% of agriculture fields are breeding grounds for the insects. Out of which 60% locusts breed in Balochistan alone – the country’s poorest province. Followed by southern Sindh, 25%, and northeastern Punjab – the most populous province, 15%. The UN agency said the locusts may have caused financial loss worth 600 billion rupees ($3.72 billion). The report’s worst-case forecast predicted “severe damage” in areas where major rabi (winter-sown) crops like wheat, chickpea, and oilseeds grow. Losses to agriculture could reach PKR 205 billion (USD 1.3 billion), considering a damage level of 15% to the production of wheat, gram and potato alone. At a 25% level of damage, the FAO estimates total potential losses of about PKR 353 billion for the rabi crops. About PKR 464 billion for Kharif (summer-sown) crops.
Food insecurity affects over 220 million all over the world and no region is free from it. Being a global challenge, Governments and
international institutions should practice all the possible means to defeat food insecurity.
Followings are the suggestions to tackle Food insecurity:
To enhance the food access, wastage of food should be mitigate and turn it into the preventive way. People should give the leftover food to the person who needs instead to throw it away. This practice should be common phenomena all over the world. So that the needy people come out from this disaster and survive happily with their families. Most of the people producing food for commercializing. The risk of commercializing should be reduce. If food grows for the purpose of feeding the community or nation, food insecurity level will go down.
Furthermore, natural disaster i.e drought, pest etc which comes and causes feminine, damaged both Kharif and Rabi crops. Also harmed the economy of every individual. We cannot control the natural disaster but if we apply some possible strategies which prevent us from the immediate disasters.
People should increase their saving system, they should store half of their outputs ( yield) for next coming years rather than spend them in the current year. By doing so, the people of all over the world can cope the natural disaster.
Agriculture sector must improve. It is the main source of procuring the food . This can be improved by increasing the forest lands (afforestation), combating with global warming, improving the land by proper use of inorganic and organic fertilizers. It will also get high summits by minimal use of pesticides where it is want. It would be important to increase the value of land. The efficiency of water for more production and availability of food as well. It reduces the poverty of the country by promoting the efficient and sustainable Agriculture growth. It raises the income of small farmers. Poor people do not afford to buy the open market products in order to provide the required proteins and vitamins. It will be important to promote household vegetable production in the form of Kitchen gardens. So that they do not deprive of the food insecurity.
In Pakistan where the equal distribution of food is not prevail. Government should ensure the equally distribution by identification and targeting the food insecure people (needy people).
Food insecurity is a serious challenge which has dimensioned its roots everywhere. It has affected the life of everyone badly. Everyone has experienced the food insecurity. Either he is in the crisis of food insecurity or above. It is caused by distinct problems such as natural disasters (drought, floods, cyclones etc). The low quality and increasing the price of food also caused food insecurity. The poor strata cannot come out easily from this grave issue. Government should initiate the easiest and cleanest pavements to ensure the food security and tackle this challenge in a smooth way. Well developed countries should help the underdeveloped countries in time of critical situation. likewise one people should help the other one who is helpless. By doing so, the people all over the world especially the poor strata ( needy people) become happy in their life; spend their rest of days in a peaceful manner.
Authors: Ejaz Ahmed, Muddasir Ahmed, Muhammad Rafeeque, Lal Bakhsh