What does mean by food security and what challenges of it have engulfed Pakistan?


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1- Introduction
Food security assures people to fulfill their nutrient demands at all times. However, Pakistan suffers serious challenges- water scarcity, climate change, and depleting economy – making the country incur food insecurity.

2- Debunking the word food security
Availability, accessibility, and affordability of sufficient, safe, and nutritious food among the masses. 

3- Current  situation of food security in Pakistan

  • Suffering acute food insecurity

Case in point: UNICEF’s national nutritional survey 2018 reveals that Pakistan, despite being self-sustaining in major staples, cannot fulfill the food demands of its thirty-six per cent population, and about eighteen per cent of them suffers acute food crisis.

Case in point: Global Hunger Index, in its annual report of 2022, has ranked Pakistan 99th out of 121 countries suffering from food insecurity.

4- What challenges of food security have engulfed Pakistan?

  • Depleting water resources
    Case in point: Pakistan is the third most affected country by water scarcity and will dry up by 2025, The World Bank.
  • Rising soil erosion
    Case in point: Pakistan has the highest rates of soil erosion in the world as an estimated 4.5 million hectares of land is affected of land erosion, Food and Agriculture organization (FAQ) of the United States.
  • Changing climate
    Case in Point: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in its report, has stated that Pakistan has been experiencing a thirty-six per cent reduction in crop yields due to climate change for the past two decades.
  • Wasting food
    Case in point:  The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) has reported that Pakistan wastes around thirty-six tons of food annually, which is equivalent to about one-third of its total food production.
  • Increasing poverty
    Case in Point:  According to the World Bank, around eighty million people in Pakistan are living below the poverty line as poverty, in 2020, increased up to 39.3% from 24.3% in 2018.  
  • Burgeoning population
    Case in point:  The United Nation in its report has declared that the population in Pakistan is expanding by an average of 2.4% each year, and neither its cultivable land mass nor the production has  increased correspondingly

5- How can Pakistan avoid the malice of food insecurity?

  • By implementing  water conservative measures
  • By improving agricultural productivity
  • By constructing dams to avoid sudden floods
  • By addressing food wastage and loss
  • By enhancing purchasing power capacity
  • By ameliorating the economic outlook

6- Critical analysis

7- Conclusion


One of the gravest challenges confronting the world’s peace, prosperity, and political stability is nothing but the rising peril of food insecurity. Countries incurring the crisis of food security, such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Somalia, find it very difficult to acquire economic might and have their say in the international community. Ironically, Pakistan, with no exception, has also been suffering acute food insecurity for the last two decades. For instance, “The Global Hunger Index has ranked the country 106th out of 119 countries, facing a serious level of hunger.” Moreover, the challenges, such as depleting water crisis, increasing soil erosion, changing climate, and wasting of food, to a large extent, have made the land of Pure people bear the reddish and unsurpassable effects of food insecurity. However, as every cloud has a silver lining, implementing water conservative measures, assuring sustainable farming practices, improving agricultural productivity, and constructing dams can indeed help Pakistan to nip the evil of food insecurity in the bud.

“Food is as important as energy, as security, as the environment. Evertything is linked together.”

Louise Fresco

Debunking the world food security:

Food security refers to the availability, accessibility, and affordability of safe, healthy, and nutritious food at all times. A country, assuring all three dimensions of food, would be considered a food-secure. Moreover, in the ongoing days, sufficient food is available in the world; however, its provision to the entire population has been a problem for the world community. Hence, in the absence of food accessibility, man – in various parts of the blue planet – incurs hunger and mal nutrients. 

Pakistan’s current situation of food security

At present, Although Pakistan is self-sufficient in major staples, such as eighth in wheat, tenth in rice, fifth in sugarcane, and fourth in milk production, the country, ironically, fails to provide sufficient, safe, and healthy food to its citizens. In fact, there has been an inability of successive politicians behind the country’s current state of sorrow. Likewise, the United Nations Children’s Emergency fund (UNICEF) – in its nutrients survey 2018 – has stated, Pakistan despite being a self-sufficient country in major factors fails to fulfil the nutrient demands of its thirty-six per cent population, and eighteen per cent of which face acute hunger crisis.”  Further, many global institutions and organizations have indicated a grave concern about the rising monster of food insecurity. The annual report of the Global Hunger Index in 2022 has ranked Pakistan ninety-nine out of 121 countries, suffering acute food insecurity. The governments and all other stack holder need to take some rational steps to avoid the monster of food insecurity, engulfing the country’s social, political, and, above all, economic outlook. 

Challenges of food security:

After explaining the country’s current situation regarding food security, it is essential to throw some light on the challenges of food security, making the current bear the unsurpassable effects of the nutrition crisis. To begin with, the water crisis has wreaked havoc in the country. Although Pakistan remained abundant in terms of water resources at the time of its inception, it has been witnessing water shortage due to the inattentive and irrational policies of successive governments. As per the report by the World Bank, “Pakistan is the third most affected country by water scarcity, which would dry up by 2025. Second, rising soil erosion has also affected food security. Owing to the issue, about 4.5 million hectares are badly affected. Third, climate change has also given an impetus to food insecurity in Pakistan. It has badly jolted the country’s overall agrarian outlook. Likewise, draughts, unprecedented floods, and rains have badly tarnished yield production. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “Pakistan has been witnessing a thirty-six per cent reduction in crop yields due to climate change for the past two decades. 

Fourth, food wastage also raises the nutrient crisis in Pakistan. And ironically, as per the report by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), “the country wastes around thirty-six tonnes of food annually, which is equal to one-third of its food production. Fifth, increasing poverty due to economic depletion has also worsened the scenarios. Numerous people cannot afford food owing to lowering purchasing power capacity and rising poverty. For example, the World Bank has reported that around eighty million people in Pakistan are living below the poverty line as it increased to 39.3% in 2020 from 24.3% in 2018. Last but not least, the burgeoning population has also added fuel to fire. Pakistan’s population is increasing at a rate of 2.4% every year; however, the country’s cultivable land mass and yield production are shrinking rapidly.  

Way forwards: 

As it is aptly said that where there is a will, there is a way, Pakistan can still avoid the danger of food insecurity by implementing the following measures. First, the country must take conservative measures to avoid the wastage of water resources. And indeed, drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, and water recycling can play the role of ointment for injuries. Next, improving agriculture productivity can also increase yield production, which can be assured by the help of better seed varieties, ameliorating irrigation system, and adopting modern agriculture techniques. Moreover, increasing water storage capacity is the need of an hour. The higher authorities need to pay attention towards dam construction by building a consensus among all the provinces. Also, addressing food wastage can, for sure, enhance food availability. Last but not least, avoiding economic woes by bringing midnight oil can undoubtedly change the entire state of sorrow affairs and lead to days of prosperity. Certainly, poverty, low purchasing power capability, and joblessness, engulfing the country in all aspects, can be put down by assuring strong monetary footholds. 

Critical analysis: 

Critically, there has been political inability behind the acute food crisis in the country as no government- after Ayub’s era – paid head to the construction of dams. Sadly, there are only one-fifty dams in Pakistan, constructed since its inception; however, India- in comparison- has built around four thousand dams, making it able to assure agriculture productivity and thus food security. However, in Pakistan, the government and higher authorities are still distracted to solve the growing monster, putting the country’s sovereignty at stake. 


To conclude, Pakistan, despite being self-sufficient in lots of factors, has been incurring acute food insecurity, making it suffer social, political, and, above all, economic hurdles. In fact, its water scarcity problem, changing climate, and depleting economy have fueled the fire. Nevertheless, the country can still avoid food insecurity by implementing some sagacious steps as mentioned above. To sum up, the article, described above, beautifully explains food security and its challenges engulfing the country, Pakistan. 

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