In Pakistan, the face of food insecurity is an ugly one: Hungry mobs looting bakeries. Impoverished women and children trampled to death while scrambling for rice hand-outs. Food aid organizations blown up by extremists. Traumatized farmers and urban laborers, unable to feed their families, murdering their children or committing suicide. Destitute, hungry young men succumbing to the temptations of militancy. Approximately 80 million Pakistanis are hungry and 45 million malnourished. With drought-like conditions and serious water shortages routinely afflicting Pakistan, many farmers have been unable to produce enough crops to feed their families, much less to maintain their livelihoods. Other Pakistanis, displaced by military operations in the northwest and forced to leave standing harvests, have struggled to access food in teeming refugee camps or in the crowded homes of the relatives who have taken them in.
The agricultural sector has long been neglected in Pakistan. As a result, outdated agricultural equipment has hampered crop productivity; poorly maintained roads have inhibited efficient food transport; and inadequate storage facilities have turned fresh produce into rot. Yet Pakistan’s history of food insecurity is not merely one of shortages, but also one of poor resource management, with food supplies not getting to the mouths that need them the most. The horrific flooding of 2010 has exacerbated this problem many times over. The challenges of bringing better food security to Pakistan are immense. Yet the stakes could not be higher. By 2050, the country’s total population could reach 335 million—nearly double the current population. Today’s statistics about food insecurity in Pakistan may seem staggering. Yet unless action is taken immediately, these figures could appear modest by comparison in several decades’ time. This volume offers fresh perspectives, from a variety of viewpoints, about one of Pakistan’s most pressing challenges. ISBN: 9789694025520 Publisher: VANGUARD BOOKS Subtitle: FOOD INSECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF PAKISTAN Author: MICHEAL KUGELMAN