Human Rights Commission of Pakistan worried over rising food scarcity
LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Monday expressed an alarm over rising food scarcity in Pakistan and its impact on the people, especially those below the poverty line.
In a statement issued on the eve of the World Food Day on Tuesday, the commission said: “There is unmistakable evidence of growing food scarcity in Pakistan and the consequent rise in prices has gravely affected access to food and nutrition not just for the poor but also for the large middle-income segment of the population.
The lack of attention to this critical issue is no less dangerous and frightening than the food scarcity itself.
The problems associated with food scarcity in Pakistan have not come about overnight; they are structural and have links with issues of land holdings, tenants’ rights, shortages of essential inputs, especially water, and the technical, educational and financial capacity of the farming community.
Successive governments have been exceptionally unimaginative in addressing food scarcity in Pakistan. The usual response to shortage of edibles has been to import the same. The increase in support price for main crops has led to a rise in the price of commodities and taken them farther away from the reach of the poor.
A steep rise in the cost of food is forcing even middle income families to divert the sums they earlier spent on health and education to put food on the table.HRCP urges the government to take up this issue on priority. Pakistan cannot get out of this tangle without making policy changes across a wide range.
The World Food Day is an occasion for all to reflect on what has affected people’s access to adequately nutritious food and resulted in the geographic and demographic incidence of food scarcity. It should also be an occasion to make a meaningful commitment to helping those struggling with hunger and malnutrition.”