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The State of Food Security in Pakistan: Future Challenges and Coping Strategies

  • Munir Ahmad

    (Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad)

  • Umar Farooq

    (Chief Scientific Officer, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad)

Pakistan is a low-income developing country and agriculture is its most important sector due to its primary commitment of providing healthy food to her fast-growing population. The total cultivated area has increased by just 40 percent during the past 60 years, while there has been more than a four-times increase in population and a seven-fold urban expansion resulting in mega cities as well as a rising population pressure on cultivated land. Although the production of wheat, which is a major food crop, has increased five-fold during the same period, yet the country is a marginal importer of wheat. Reducing poverty, hunger, and food insecurity are essential parts of the Millennium Development Goals. The paper refers these and highlights the implications of the government’s current food security policies—on the one hand, the government’s wheat-centred food policy is heavily costing the national exchequer, and on the other, urban consumers are subsidised at the expense of farmers, which wheat millers are absorbing almost all the subsidy provided by the government to implement the wheat policy. Much effort is needed to narrow the gap between population growth and domestic food production. Managing food security in Pakistan requires an understanding of how agricultural policies affect food supply and income, and the poor and the vulnerable in the rural and urban areas, and how this burden is transferred to the other sectors. The main focus of this paper is to find the pathways to achieve food and nutritional security for a growing population in Pakistan.

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Article provided by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in its journal The Pakistan Development Review.

Volume (Year): 49 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 903–923

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Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:49:y:2010:i:4:p:903-923
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  1. Smith, Lisa C. & Elobeid, Amani & Jensen, Helen H. & Johnson, Stanley R., 1999. "Geography and Causes of Food Insecurity in Developing Countries (The)," Staff General Research Papers 1651, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
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  4. Staatz, John M. & Boughton, Duncan & Donovan, Cynthia, 2009. "Food Security in Developing Countries," Staff Papers 49227, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
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  7. Benson, Todd, 2004. "Africa's food and nutrition security situation: where are we and how did we get here?," 2020 vision discussion papers 37, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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  9. M. Falkenmark & J. Rockström & L. Karlberg, 2009. "Present and future water requirements for feeding humanity," The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 59-69, February.
  10. Herrmann, Michael, 2006. "Agricultural Support Measures of Advanced Countries and Food Insecurity in Developing Countries," Working Paper Series RP2006/141, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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