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Status, Dimensions, Issues and Options for Food Security in Pakistan.

Byline: Fateh M. Mari and Himayatullah Khan

Abstract

The paper describes dimensions of food security in Pakistan and discusses different aspects and issues of food availability, access to food and sustainability of food supplies in Pakistan. The paper investigates the status and pattern of growth in production, area and yield of food crops including wheat, rice and maize, and animal products such as milk and meat. The paper also presents per capita wheat, rice and maize, milk and meat production in Pakistan. The paper relates food production with different factors of food security starting from production to distribution and ability for utilization of food.

Keywords: Food Security; Dimensions; Growth; Food Index; CPI

Introduction

Food security has been a major issue in Pakistan. The recent shortage of wheat and flour and price hike of food items created a crises type situation in the country causing food insecurity and hunger among the people. Food security is generally defined on the basis of food availability in the country. The concept of food security emerged in the mid 1970s at the time of global food crisis. The focus, at that time, was on supply side issues, which is availability and volume/price stability. Over the past thirty years, there has been considerable reconstruction of the official thinking on food security resulting shift to demand side. During 1974, global concern was availability and stability in food supplies, which expanded to include access by the vulnerable groups to avail supplies in 1983. The aspect of sustainability and continuous supply of food was recognized in 1998 and the decade of 90s appreciated the issues related to food safety, nutritional balance and food preference.

Thus, definition of food security on the basis of food availability does not necessarily mean that people of the country have food security, as it is not only an old definition but its incomplete as well (Riaz, 2009). Food Security is a flexible multi-faceted concept as evidenced by the numerous attempts to define it. In this backdrop, World Food Summit (FAO, 1996) defined it as "Food Security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life". Food security assures access for every person to enough nutritious food to sustain an active and healthy life, including: food availability (adequate food supply); food access (people can get to food); and appropriate food use (the body's absorption of essential nutrients). Food insecurity is a condition of uncertain availability of or ability to acquire safe, nutritious food in a socially acceptable way.

This means that food insecurity exists when people do not have physical or economic access to food as defined above. It shows that fighting hunger is not just about supplying countries in need with food or the money to buy food, but also ensuring that hungry people have access to this food and can use it to nourish their bodies. As such, researchers, policymakers and advocates think of hunger and food security in terms of food availability, access and use. Further, Millennium Developments Goals have promised to halve the poverty and hunger by the year 2015.

The Four Dimensions of Food Security

Food security in the country has national and household dimensions. Effective supply and demand and equitable distribution of food are preconditions to secure food at these levels. The dimensions of food security include availability, access, stability and safe and health utilization of food. The availability means production, imports, stocks and food aid. Access means both physical and economic access where levels of poverty, purchasing power, marketing and transport infrastructure and food distribution matter. Stability describes supplies and access, which is affected by weather, price fluctuations, natural and human-induced disasters. Safe and healthy food utilization considers factors including care and feeding, food safety and quality, access to clean water, health and sanitation.

Considering the multidimensional and broader definition of food security, the objective of this paper is to investigate the status and pattern of growth in production, area, and yield of wheat, rice, maize and other food crops in Pakistan. The paper also presents per capita wheat, rice, maize and other crops production in Pakistan. Further, the paper also explores different issues in ensuring food security to the populace of the country. The rest of the paper is organized as follows. The next section describes methodology followed by a section on results and discussion. Finally, the last section summarizes the results and draws conclusion.

Materials and Methods

The materials and methods for this research paper included time series data and review of literature on different dimensions of food security. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of data and literature has been performed for this paper. The availability of food is analyzed through status and pattern of growth of food crops while the access issues are addressed by combination of information on poverty, food inflation and vulnerability of people while sustainability aspect is addressed by discussing some issues of disasters, environmental degradation and water scarcity. The data and model for estimation of growth is defined in the next section.

Data

Data used in this study for assessment of availability, are annual production, area and yield of wheat, rice, maize and other food crops in Pakistan from 1990-91 to 2003-04 published in Government of Pakistan (1998 and 2005). The data of overall food crops production form the same data sources has also been used to estimate historical growth of food crops.

Calibration of Historical Growth

Growth rate in production, area and yield of wheat, rice and maize is calibrated using following model:

Xt+1 = (1+g) Xt

where Xt is the amount of variable in year t and g is its growth rate. Recursive substitution of the above equation yields the following solution:

XT = (1+g)T X 0

g = (XT/X 0)1/T - 1

where 0 is initial year and T is the final year.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Food Security Scenario of Pakistan

Daily average availability of calories per person is lower by 10% and 26% relative to the average in developing and developed counties respectively (UNDP, 2009). Pakistan is trying to maintain 2,350 cal/person/day since 1990s from a level of 1,754 cal/person/day in 1961. Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption, (%) below 2350 calories per day of food intake (Food poverty line), was 25 percent in 1990-9 1 which increased to 30 percent in 200 1-02, while the prevalence of underweight children under 5 years of age was 40 in 1990-91 which increased to 41.5 percent in 200 1-02 (UNDP, 2009). In Pakistan, around half of the caloric needs are met through cereals only. Wheat and rice are the staple food crops, and shortfalls in production adversely affect both food security and national economy.

Food availability in Pakistan: A context

Food availability depends on both domestic food production and imports. Although the Government of Pakistan made a commitment to achieve WFS goals, the food balance sheet reported by Government itself shows no progress in the seven years from 1996/97 to 2003/04. The per capita availability of the main staple food, wheat, which accounts for 53 percent of caloric intake, declined from 130.85 kilograms per capita annually in 1996/97 to 116.31 kilograms in 2002/03. Though it has increased to 127 kilograms per capita in 2006 but still it is less from the level of 1996/97. Per capita per day caloric level in Pakistan is less than the recommended allowance of 2550 kcal/day (Government of Pakistan, 2005).

Improvement in nutrition has been negligible between the First National Nutrition Survey (NNS) in 1985-87 and the Second NNS conducted in 2001-02 (NNS, 1987 and 2002). The Government attributes this to the unavailability of health facilities, but it may also be due to the problems of distribution of, and access to food among the rural poor. The prevalence of malnutrition, which is high in mothers and children, is a serious concern and has not shown improvement over 15 years. The main causes are inadequate food intake and poor health status that are influenced by poverty and lack of access to food, feeding practices and large family size (Government of Pakistan, 2004).

Present Status and Pattern of Growth in Pakistan

The area under food Crops in Pakistan has grown from 11687 thousand hectares in 1986-87 to 12567 thousand hectares in 2003-04. During the same period, area under cash crops has grown from 3713 thousand hectares to 4291, and pulses marked a negative growth as the acreage reduced from 1522 thousand hectares to 1447 hectares. The area under oilseeds has grown from 441 thousand hectares to 698 thousand hectares and total area increased from 17363 thousand hectares to 19003 hectares during the same period. The production from food crops have also grown from 17261 thousand tones in 1986-87 to 26854 thousand tones in 2003-04, and the production cash crops have significantly grown from 31897 thousand tones to 63946 thousand tones during the same period. The area as well as production of pulses has decreased in Pakistan during the said period (Government of Pakistan, 1987 and 2005). Table 1 presents the further details of area, production and yield of food crops in Pakistan.

Table 1. Crop Area and Production in Pakistan during 1986-87 and 2003-04

Crops###1986-87###2003-04

###Area 000 Hect.

Food Crops###11687.00###12567.00

Cash Crops###3713.00###4291.00

Pulses###1522.00###1447.00

Edible Oilseeds###441.00###698.00

Total Cropped Area###17363.00###19003.00

###Production in 000 Tonnes

Food Crops###17216.00###26854.00

Cash Crops###31897.00###63946.00

Pulses###791.00###871.00

Edible Oilseeds###2981.00###4155.00

###Yield Per Ha Tonnes

Food Crops###1.47###2.14

Cash Crops###8.59###14.90

Pulses###0.52###0.60

Edible Oilseeds###6.76###5.95

Total Cropped Area,###Production and Yields

Total Area 000 Hec###17363.00###19003.00

Total Production 000 Tonnes###52885.00###95826.00

Overall Average Yield /hec###3.05###5.04

Source: GoP 1987 and 2005, and author's calculations, 2009.

Pattern of Growth of Food Crops

Table 2 presents the annual percentage growth estimates of food crops in Pakistan and its provinces from the years 1986-87 to 2003-04. The growth rates show a slight growth of wheat, rice, maize and bajra in Pakistan, whereas, the growth sorghum and barley are negative. Annual percentage growth of wheat, rice and maize production was respectively 2.88 percent, 1.95 percent and 3.19 percent in Pakistan. The annual percentage growth in terms of area as well as production of wheat, rice and maize was negative in Sindh during the said period while the yields of wheat have slightly grown in Sindh. Further, the production of bajra, sorghum and barley has also been negative in NWFP and Balochistan. The growth rates across crops and locations suggest a kind of dependence on one province, Punjab, and one crop that is wheat. This kind of dependence may result a risk to food security as the progressive thought considers diversification of base for any sector as a risk-reducing factor.

Table 2.Annual Percentage Growth of Food Crops Production during 1986-87 to 2003- 04

Crops###Pakistan###Punjab###Sindh###NWFP###Balochistan

Wheat

Area###0.377###0.68###- 0.96###- 0.46###0.88

Production###2.88###3.77###-0.10###0.39###1.55

Yield###2.50###3.07###0.86###0.85###0.66

Rice

Area###1.03###2.15###-1.56###-0.79###2.85

Production###1.95###3.75###-0.45###0.59###2.28

Maize

Area###0.87###1.25###-4.65###0.75###-0.22

Production###3.19###4.88###-4.44###1.77###1.55

Bajra

Area###0.34###1.53###-1.04###-6.91###0.0

Production###0.95###1.55###0.07###-6.33###0.0

Sorghum

Area###-0.09###0.26###0.55###-5.93###-2.66

Production###0.06###0.40###0.59###-5.24###-1.67

Barley

Area###-338###-2.82###-5.01###-5.23###2.18

Production###-1.85###-1.19###-6.00###-3.86###3.61

The above table shows that different food crops have experienced different type of growth rates in different province. We know that different parts of the country particularly desert and mountainous areas, arid areas and areas with out irrigation are vulnerable in terms of food security. Wheat, which is a major source of food in Pakistan and all the districts of NWFP, are deficient in wheat production, whereas, 21 districts of Balochistan, 7 districts of Punjab and 4 districts of Sindh are also deficient in wheat production (Aslam and Asim, 2008). This means that wheat is transported from wheat surplus districts to wheat deficient districts. The details of district-wise food availability scenario are presented in table -3.

Table 3. District-wise Food Availability Scenario

Food Zone###Punjab###Sindh###NWFP###Baluchistan N.As AJK###FATA###Total

Extreme Deficit###3###2###17###12###4###7###52

High Deficit###1###1###3###5###-###-###10

Low Deficit###3###1###3###4###1###-###12

Sufficient###6###2###1###3###-###-###12

Surplus###21###11###-###2###-###-###34

Total###24###17###24###26###5###7###120

Source: (SDPI, 2003) and (WFP), 2004

Per Capita Food Availability in Pakistan

Although per capita availability of food items are based on average and it cannot suggest equity in access but the per capita availability is encouraging. Further, the per capita food availability in relative terms are much lower and far below from other countries. We have noted in the above sections that food production has not increased in a good fashion as it is lower from the rate of population growth, therefore, the increase in per capita must be because of imports of these items. This is a short-term solution but a country whose major sector of economy is agriculture cannot depend on imports for meeting its food requirements.

Table 4. Per Capita Food Availability in Pakistan

Crop###Unit###2002###2003###2004###2005###2006###2007

Wheat###Kg###114.7###112.0###116.3###115.8###123.2###127

Rice###Kg###13.9###17.2###16.8###17.6###10.0###16.6

Other Grains###Kg###11.1###11.1###11.6###11.5###17###16

Pulses###Kg###7.02###5.8###8###6.8###7.9###7.2

Milk###Liters###83.1###83.8###85.9###85.9###90.3###94.2

Meat###Kg###21.3###21.3###21.5###21.0###21.8###23.3

Eggs###Dozen###4.5###4.5###4.6###4.6###4.8###5.0

Source: Pakistan Economic Survey, 2008.

Food Inflation

Food inflation was estimated as 7 percent in 2006 as against 12 percent in 2005 (Government of Pakistan, 2006). Referring the above estimations, it can be suggested that food inflation in 2008 touched a level of fifty percent as it is evidenced in the following table where taking 2001 as base year, the food inflation in 2005 is about 12 percent as Food Price Index is 112 which grew to the level of 1669.5 in 2008. According to the survey report of World Food Program (2008), the number of food insecure people had increased by 28 percent. Riaz (2009) has suggested that people at risk of becoming food insecure is 77 million in Pakistan which earlier was 60 million but the recent food inflation has put 17 million additional people under risk of becoming food insecure. This means that almost half of the population in Pakistan is under food insecurity.

Pakistan's 71.2 million poor citizens (44.4 percent of total population) need substantial support in their efforts to cope with the worsening food crises (Mazhar, 2008). Table 5 further shows that food inflation is higher when compared to other consumer items which in result will not only indirectly contribute in food insecurity in the country but may effect the employment and other businesses.

Table 5. Food Price Index and Consumer Price Index

Year###1996###2001###2005###2008

Food Price Index (2000-01=100)###82.9###100###111.7###169.5

CPI (2000-01=100)###75.2###100###106.7###155.7

Source: Data from Pakistan Economic Survey (different Issues)

Factors Affecting Food Security

Access to Land

Land as a productive resource is considered as a main deriver of poverty or prosperity. IFAD (2001) in its report on rural poverty concluded land as major factor in rural poverty. Those who have no access on land were poor in Asia and Africa. Anwar et. al. (2009) in their paper on landless and rural poverty concluded that poverty in rural areas is substantially higher than urban areas. They also concluded that poverty is strongly correlated with lack of assets particularly land in Pakistan. Thus, equity is a major issue of concern related to food security. In Pakistan inequity in land holdings and income is relatively high. There is also a wide variation in income, human development as well as overall development across regions and provinces.

Access to irrigation water

In Pakistan, irrigated agriculture significantly contributes to produce food items. Food security in an economy and country dominated by agriculture demands the fundamental issues affecting the productivity of irrigated agriculture. The population is increasing in the country and agricultural growth is slower when compared to population growth. Presently 83 percent of available water is used for irrigation, which is expected to decrease to a level of 69 percent by 2025 (Mari et al, 2005). Further, the distribution of water among tail and head areas is also inequitable. The inequitable distribution and water scarcity may pose a serious threat to food security in the country.

Resource degradation

Resource degradation is seriously affecting the food security particularly of those who depend on natural resources. For example, the urban wastewater and sewerage including industrial waste is added in fresh water sources across the country which is not only hazard for human health but it is polluting ground water aquifers. World Bank (2006) estimated the economic losses from the reduced yields due to soil erosion in Pakistan as around Rs. 15 billion per annum or 0.25 percent of GDP. The losses from forest and rangelands degradation in Pakistan are additional. Resource degradation losses are mostly by Sindh and Balochistan. The degradation of fresh water bodies and Indus Delta have put around 1.5 million fisher folk under the threat of food insecurity.

Low Agricultural Productivity

Agricultural productivity has also been low for different crops in Pakistan. Shah, Ali and Khan (1994), estimated technical efficiency of wheat, maize and sugarcane in NWFP and concluded that farmers were not fully exploiting the technology and there were inter and intra crop variations. They concluded that there was a chance to improver the yields by 12 percent. Mari, Memon and Lohano (2007) concluded that the technical efficiency of onion, tomato and chillies ranged between 40 to 70 percent.

Food Security and Rights Perspective

The right of food is guaranteed in the constitutions of 22 countries in the world while 17 countries in the world have national legislation on right to food. UN convention on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights also recognize the right to food and well being of people. Article 38 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan underscores the need of social and economic well being of Pakistani citizens. Giving importance to agriculture for sustenance of people particularly poor is kind of food security insurance. Ending gender disparity and decent work and wages are also considered as right to food. Further, the rights regime takes availability and access to food by victims of disasters and external shocks or internally displaced people in to account under rights based approaches of development.

Conclusion

The above analysis suggest that the majority of people in Pakistan are vulnerable and food insecure. Vulnerability refers to the full range of factors that place people at risk of becoming food insecure and reportedly 77 million people in Pakistan are food insecure. The degree of vulnerability is determined by exposure to risk factors and existing coping mechanisms. Those who would be vulnerable under any circumstances are due to disability, illness, age or some other characteristics, or those whose resource endowment is inadequate to provide sufficient income from any available source and those whose characteristics and resources render them potentially vulnerable within the context of social and economic shocks. Climate changes may cause desertification, soil degradation and water logging and salinity, which are expected to increase the vulnerability of people.

Further, it is concluded that availability, access and sustainable supplies of food in Pakistan are major issues. The solution to these could be efficient, sustainable and diversified agriculture with appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies for climatic change effects. Need for issue based scientific research and better coordination among institutions for appropriate decision-making and technology of transfer are also highlighted. To cope with climate change in Pakistan, it is necessary to identify integrated adaptation and mitigation strategies and options for range of agro ecosystems so as to enable a favorable policy environment in the country for effective policy and practices.

Some specific options were identified as sustainable and land and forest management, restoration and rehabilitation of Indus Delta and ecosystems, changing varieties, research on high yielding varieties, efficient water use, adjustment of crops with whether variations, environment friendly control methods of insects and pests and better use of weather forecasts for minimizations of risks in crop productions. The options of promoting small-scale indigenous methods, systems and modes of production for local level and community level food security systems may improve the status of country in terms of food security.

References

Anwar, T., S. K., Qureshi and H. Ali, 2004. Landless and Rural Poverty in Pakistan. The Pakistan Development Review, 43: PP 854-8 74.

Aslam, M. and M., Asim, 2008. Understanding Climate Change to Ensure Food Security: An Appropriate Approach. Proceedings of Eleventh Sustainable Development Conference, Sustainable Policy Development Institute, Islamabad.

FAO, 1996. Rome Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of Action, World Food Summit, 13-17 November 1996, Rome, Italy.

IFAD, 2001. Rural Poverty Report. International. International Fund for Agricultural Development, Rome, Italy.

Mari, F. M., H. D. Lonao and Y. Memon, 2005. Managing Irrigation Water for Food Security in Pakistan. Paper Published in Proceedings of The First International Symposium on Sustainable Agriculture for Subtropical Regions. Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Mari, F. M., R. A. Memon and H. Lohano, 2007. Measuring Technical Efficiency of Onion, Tomato and Chilies Production in Sindh, Pakistan. The Pakistan Development Review.

Masood, M.A., and Javed A, 2004. Wheat Production Forecast Model for Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Agricultural Economics, 5 (1): 69-82.

Mazhar, T, 2008. Towards Ending Hunger in Pakistan: Policy Proposals and Recommendations. Hunger Free, ActionAid Pakistan

Government of Pakistan, 2006. Pakistan Economic Survey 2005-06. Finance Division, Economic Advisor's Wing, Islamabad.

Government of Pakistan, 2005. Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan 2003-04. Ministry of Food Agriculture and Livestock (Economic Wing), Islamabad.

Government of Pakistan, 2003. National Nutrition Survey of Pakistan 2001-02. Federal Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan

Government of Pakistan, 1998. Economic Survey 1997-98. Finance Division, Economic Advisor's Wing, Islamabad.

Government of Pakistan, 1993. Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan 1991-92. Ministry of Food Agriculture and Livestock (Economic Wing), Islamabad.

Riaz, A. Khan, 2009. Food Security: Concepts and Perspectives. Presentation to the LEAD-Pakistan, Cohort-13, Islamabad

SDPI, 2003. Food Insecurity in Rural Pakistan 2003. Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Shah, M. K., F. Ali and H. Khan, 1994. Technical Efficiency of Major Crops in the North West Frontier of Pakistan. Sarhad J. of Agric. 10(6); 613-621

UNDP, 2002. Targets and Achievements of MDGs by Pakistan. Accessed on January 2009 at http://www.undp.org.pk/goal-1-eradicate-extreme-poverty-and-hunger.html

World Bank, 2006. Pakistan Strategic Country Environment Assessment. South Asia Environment and Social Unit, World Bank.

World Food Program, 2009. Food Crises and Food Insecurity. World Food Program, Pakistan, Islamabad.

Fateh M. Mari Assistant Professor, Department Agricultural Economics Sindh Agriculture University, Tando Jam and Himayatullah Khan Professor, Institute of Development Studies University of Agriculture, Peshawar
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Publication:The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 31, 2009
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