Flood Situation In Pakistan May Threaten Food Security: Report

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Flood Situation In Pakistan May Threaten Food Security: Report
Flood Situation In Pakistan May Threaten Food Security: Report

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan is staring at a possible food crisis as the production of wheat in the upcoming Rabi season is expected to drop owing to low-profit margins that are forcing farmers to look out for alternative crops, according to a media report.

As Pakistan struggles to deal with the impact of devastating floods, even Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has expressed concerns about the food security situation. “Due to climate change, natural disasters and rising prices in the global market, there is a risk of further global shortages of nutritious food, which is already in short supply. Climate change is hurting our lives in many ways, including increasing global poverty and hunger,” Sharif tweeted on Sunday.

The Dawn newspaper reported that the country’s wheat cultivation area decreased by 2.1 per cent to 8,976,000 hectares during 2021-22. A year earlier, the area was 9,168,000 hectares. Additionally, the production also decreased by 3.9 per cent to 26.394 million tonnes.

Pakistan government officials have blamed water shortage, drought conditions at the time of sowing, less fertiliser offtake and heatwave for the decline in production, the Dawn report said.

The current floods have aggravated food insecurity and malnutrition in flood-affected areas, according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

An estimated 14.6 million people require emergency food assistance from December through March 2023, representing an increase of more than 100 per cent of the pre-flood estimate. This includes 4 million people in Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Phase 4 (emergency).

In addition, rising inflation and significant damage to irrigation systems are expected to deteriorate the food security situation. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the price of wheat and other basic food items reached near-record levels in August 2022.

With the loss of livelihoods and income, families are resorting to negative coping strategies. The multi-sector rapid needs assessments (RNA) findings indicated a significant loss in livestock, crops and orchards.

Some 31 per cent of livestock holders have lost at least one animal/poultry due to floods, with the highest proportion in Sindh (44 per cent) followed by Punjab (35per cent) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (25per cent). Floods damaged an additional 70 per cent of crops/vegetable areas and around 30 per cent of orchard areas in affected districts.

As of October 14, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has recorded over 1,718 deaths and more than 12,800 injuries since mid-June.

More than 2.1 million houses have been damaged or destroyed, and nearly 8 million people are reportedly displaced, including some 644,000 people living in relief camps, according to reports by the Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMA) of the affected provinces.

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