Hunger and poverty: ‘Food insecurity major cause of concern for Pakistan’

Published: October 17, 2014
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A woman devotee at Data Darbar holds up her chador to receive langar (food). PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

A woman devotee at Data Darbar holds up her chador to receive langar (food). PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

LAHORE: 

Food security is the most tangible threat to Pakistan. An increase in food production and improved access to food sources can help mitigate the threat.

These views were expressed by food security experts at an inter-school drawing competition and an awareness session on the World Food Day (WFD) on Thursday.

Titled WFD 2014 – Family Farming: feeding the world, caring the earth, the competition between St John’s Sacred Heart School and Talent School System was organised jointly by Indus Consortium and Oxfam Pakistan at St John’s Sacred Heart School.

More than 100 students participated in the event. Prof Victoria Patrick from the Kinnaird College, St John’s Sacred Heart School Principal Daisy Sant Ram and Indus Consortium Principal Sophia were the judges.

Last year, the United Nations had declared 2014 as International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) to stress the vast potential family farmers have to eradicate hunger and preserve natural resources.

According to the National Nutrition Survey 2013, around 60 per cent of Pakistan’s population is facing food insecurity, and in these households, almost 50 per cent women and children were malnourished.

An estimated 35 per cent of child deaths (under age 5) in the country are linked to malnutrition, while the World Health Organisation labels a national average of 15 per cent or above as an “emergency”.

The Indus Consortium in collaboration with Oxfam Novib is implementing GROW campaign in Pakistan to promote the food security agenda and to enhance the outreach of campaign to urban population, a statement from The Indus Consortium said.

It said the theme, Family Farming: Feeding the world, caring for the earth, had been chosen to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farmers.

“It focuses world attention on the significant role of family farming in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2014.

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