The calls for “Atta” from all quarters of the society are rising to a chorus. Due to the food shortage in Pakistan, the new government of Pakistan Democratic Alliance is all set to become a glutton for punishment and humiliation in very near future. Though it would be unfair to blame them for the looming food crisis in the country, but an empty stomach doesn’t understand logic or argument.
One may ridicule United States in many regards, but when it comes to statistics the auxiliary offshoots of this world body often prove right. United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has predicted that Pakistan is in the grave danger of becoming an acutely food insecure country in the very near future and according to other sources it is expected that food riots would break in the streets.
WFP country director Wolfgang Berbinger has told media that currently 60 million food insecure people are present in the country, the increase of 35 per cent in wheat prices and more for some other food items, did not match the increase in wage rate that was 18 per cent as compared to last year. According to the WFP stats, 38 per cent of Pakistanis are food insecure, and that basically means that they are not able to afford poverty line intake of 2,350 kcal per day. WFP also reveal that approximately 12.5 of wheat is wasted on way from field to the consumer whereas vegetable loss is 30 per cent.
The food insecurity is in every district of Pakistan. In the most populated province of Pakistan, in Punjab, out of 34 district only 9 are almost food secure. In NWFP, out of 16 districts, only five are food secure. In Sindh, out of 15 districts, only 9 are food secure. In Balochistan, out of 25 districts only 4 are food secure.
These statistics are alarming and demand immediate attention from the high-ups. The restoration of judiciary and the matter of war on terror are extremely important, but prolonged hunger can turn any nation into angry animals frantically searching for food to appease their natural instinct.
So it is the need of hour that government should start working on war footings about extending the crop maximization plans to balance food price inflation and improvement in storage and harvesting-thrashing to control wastage of food. Government needs to understand that easy and cheap food availability, access and deliverance to everyone at everyplace is the key to their survival.