UN agencies warn on acute food insecurity in Pakistan
TEAM PAKISTAN Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defence.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) recently released a report on the early warnings on acute food insecurity for the second half of the year 2023, saying that it is likely to deteriorate further in 18 hunger hotspots, comprising a total of 22 countries (WFP & FAO, 2023). Among these, Pakistan is a hotspot with very high concern, which means that it represents a hotspot with deteriorating critical conditions.
Food insecurity is likely to further exacerbate if the economic and political crisis in Pakistan continues to worsen, in addition to the consequences of the 2022 floods, which caused high livestock losses and negatively affected food production and its availability (Ahmed, 2023). According to the WFP and FAO report, over 8.5 million people were likely to experience acute food insecurity between September and December 2022, so right after the floods. The country is facing a mounting public debt, a financial crisis, growing political instability and civil unrest (Ahmed, 2023). This is probably going to worsen ahead of the general elections expected in October 2023, as well as because of the growing insecurity in the northwest of Pakistan (Ahmed, 2023). There is also a shortage of foreign reserves and a depreciating currency which cause a lower ability for the country to import essential food items and energy supplies (Ahmed, 2023). Moreover, households experience reduced purchasing power and ability to buy food or other essential goods (Ahmed, 2023). All these aggravating factors compounded make Pakistan one of the countries that will likely face acute food insecurity and malnutrition in the upcoming months.
Sources and further readings:
Ahmed, A. (2023, May 30). Pakistan designated ‘very high concern’ area in food insecurity. Dawn. Retrieved June 1, 2023, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1756769/pakistan-designated-very-high-concern-area-in-food-insecurity
WFP & FAO. (2023). Hunger Hotspots: FAO‑WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity, June 2023 to November 2023 outlook. Rome. https://doi.org/10.4060/cc6206en