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Hunger and food insecurity

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Eradicating hunger by 2030 is a huge challenge. The heads of UN agencies 850 million people worldwide are still going hungry, reaching the target of zero hunger by 2030 is difficult to achieve. The number of people with not enough to eat has risen as the population increases. Huge numbers of children are not getting the nutrition they need. Half of all child deaths in Africa rise from hunger. Hunger remains widespread. There are 338 million school-age children and teens who are overweight and 672 million obese adults. Asia and Africa, which have nine out of 10 of all stunted children and more than nine out of 10 of all wasted children worldwide, are also home to nearly 75 percent of all overweight children worldwide, largely dependent by harmful diets. One in seven babies around the world was born with low birth weight in 2015, many of them to adolescent mothers. That puts them at danger of poor development. The world’s population has constantly grown, with most people living in urban areas. The world economy as a whole is not growing as much as anticipated. Climate breakdown is affecting agriculture and the number of farmers has declined. Hunger is increasing in countries where economic growth is slow and there is income disequilibrium. Hunger is on the rise in many parts of the world. Over 820 million people were denied of a healthy and balanced meal in 2018, compared to 811million in 2017. The hardest-hit regions are in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The South Asian region fares specifically poorly, with extensive malnutrition, stunting and a number of other mental and physical disability which are largely blamed on poverty, lack of awareness.
Pakistan is regarded as a food-surplus country and is a significant producer of wheat. Yet, much of its population continues to suffer from food insecurity. Although the country relies heavily on imports for certain food items such as edible oil, tea and pulses, it is able to provide for major staples on its own. If population increases at the existing pace over the next few years it will become extremely hard for Pakistan to maintain even the food self-sufficiency. Approximately half of Balochistan’s households face moderate to harsh food insecurity. In its third quarterly report on the state of the economy, the State Bank of Pakistan pointed provincial disparity in terms of food security in Pakistan. The enforcement effort of consecutive governments has exploited only half the possibility of the agriculture sector. The Agriculture Commission of Pakistan, in a report, accused the basic rural power structure, which handles lopsided representation in the federal and provincial assemblies, for the poor performance of the sector. Mistreating the important power vested in the state to manage the economy these components, it was found, plotted to evade taxes and divert subsidies and concessional bank credits to serve its limited interests. The report, however, ignored the growing role and impact of the harsh trading community; particularly those involved in import and marketing of seeds, pesticides and livestock. In Balochistan, at least 30 percent households experience hunger on a limited basis. On the other hand, Gilgit-Baltistan has the most food secure households nearly 80 percent in the region, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about 70 percent. Alarming, of the 36.9 percent “food insecure” households in the country, 18.3 percent face harsh food insecurity. Merely 63.1 percent of the country’s households are “food secure” in spite of the fact that Pakistan is self-sufficient in significant staples. Pakistan is among those seven countries that aggregately account for two-thirds of the world’s under-nourished population. Nearly a quarter of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line which is set at Rs3, 030.3 per adult equivalent per month. This would be around 50 million people in the country are not able to access basic needs given their incomes. Most of these people reside in rural areas where the poverty rate is 30.7 percent. High population growth and unfavorable water and climatic conditions in the country worries regarding food security may increase numerous over the next twenty to thirty years.
Pakistan with Per capita income of merely $1,497, Pakistan is still battling with issues like under-nourishment, micronutrient (iron, calcium, vitamin-A, etc) deficiencies, and a shortage of safe drinkable water. Per capita consumption of food products that possess high-nutritional value like beef, chicken, fish, milk, vegetables and fruits is nearly 6-10 times lower than that of developed countries. More frighteningly almost half of the children under five years are stunted (low height-for-age) and one in ten has been suffering from low-weight-for height. Integrating these factors, Pakistan was ranked 106th among 119 countries surveyed for the Global Hunger Index, and has been marked as facing a grave level of hunger. Pakistan is among those seven countries that aggregately account for 66 percent of the world’s under-nourished population as well as with Bangladesh, China, Congo, Ethiopia, India and Indonesia. About $2.24billion is evaluated as the loss of future labour force consequently under-5 mortality; $1billion is the estimated healthcare expense, which the families incur to tackle diarrhea and respiratory infection among children; $3.7billion is the estimated cost of low labour productivity emerging from stunting, anemia or iodine deficiencies in childhood; and $657million is the evaluated cost of occurrence of weakness and tiredness among 10million working adults with anemia experience. The base 60 percent of households in the country spend a phenomenal part of their incomes (45 percent on average) on food, has endangers their nutritional security. Even if prices are rest families still lack the purchasing power to buy food. Therefore, like other developing countries, Pakistan also has to use cash transfers to calm down and increase the real incomes of the poor. Only 0.3 percent of the population in Balochistan and 1.8 percent in Punjab gain from social protection programmes of some kind.