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FAO Warns of Potential Food Security Crisis in Pakistan Amid Worsening Economic and Political Crisis

By: Asem Mustafa Awan

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has warned that if the economic and political crisis in Pakistan worsens, the country may face the problem of food security. The worst economic and political crisis since the last year has affected the performance of every sector of the economy with no exception of agriculture. The world body’s warning shows that government priorities need to be realigned.

Food security, economic sustainability, and political stability are often linked in a complex relationship. Since politics is an expression of administrative capacity and decision-making power. Mostly, decision-makers’ abilities are undermined during a prolonged political crisis. Evidence suggests that food security can be disturbed by a lack of political or social stability.
The problem in Pakistan is that despite having a democratic system, the lower-level administrative units could not be empowered. The country is facing a big challenge in development matters. The prices of food items are increasing from time to time clearly indicating lack of government control over the prices. Pakistan is prone to natural disasters, with earthquakes, floods and droughts having a severe impact on food security, particularly for deprived segments of society surviving on day to day basis.

For some time now, it has become apparent that Pakistan’s food security challenges often exceed defense security issues. The country faces challenges related to good governance both politically and economically. The incompetence of government institutions extends to the management of agriculture and the nutritional needs of the population.

Factors such as lack of agricultural technology, government priorities, climate variability and then inadequate management capacity are linked to ‘middleman’ tactics, transportation challenges and inflationary effects the entire nation.

The National Food Security Policy 2018 was said to be based on progress in several social and economic sectors and results could not be achieved due to unending political chaos in the country.

As per reports estimated 832 million people worldwide suffer from a chronic lack of adequate and healthy food to survive.
Due to political threats and weak institutions, this problem is intensifying in many underdeveloped countries of the world. The data shows that 124 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean are facing political risk and food security problems.

The study of these countries and its results show that internal and external conflicts, socio-economic conditions, corruption, interference of unelected forces in politics, religious tension, ethnic tension and poor quality of bureaucracy affect food security in developed and developing countries.

A study suggests that the Arab Spring movements were triggered by food insecurity. The reality is very complicated. Rising food prices have added to already existing social unrest, sparking protests in Egypt, Syria, and Morocco, and perhaps in other countries as well. However, the results of the protests in these countries were different. This can be traced to the food security policies adopted by the respective governments.

Political instability and the recent increase in food insecurity are linked, and the relationship between the two disorders may become stronger in the future those at the helm of affairs must take note before it is too late.

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