Pakistan’s 42.3pc population moderately or severely food insecure: Speakers

Rawalpindi   -   The speakers have said that over 42.3 precent of Pakistan’s population is moderately or severely food insecure, with 82.9 percent unable to secure a healthy diet. Speakers also emphasized that educating children about nutritious food should start in schools and childhood stunting, obesity, and diabetes are major issues. Speakers stressed that the government should regularize the curriculum to raise public awareness for food security and health.

They stated this while addressing at a seminar on food security held at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), here on Wednesday. Faiz Rasool, Head of Policy and Advocacy at GAIN, explained food systems’ complexity and the impact of government policies and climate change. He emphasized the importance of youth and women, noting Pakistan’s lag in sustainable development due to insufficient investment in food and nutrition. Faiz Rasool also stressed the need for effective policies to address nutritional challenges, criticizing the lack of a National Nutritional Policy and inadequate food security policies. He highlighted the changing dietary preferences from a young age and addressing junk food consumption among children. Qasim Ali Shah, Deputy Executive Director of SDPI, emphasized SDPI’s role in food policy and advocacy, highlighting challenges faced by Pakistani youth.

He stressed involving educated youth in precision agriculture and AI to promote smart agriculture and food security. Prof. Dr. Tariq Mukhtar, Dean of Agriculture at PMAS-AAUR noted critical issues like high child mortality and women’s iron deficiency and anemia. He emphasized the active role of organizations like GAIN and SDPI in promoting nutritious food in Pakistan.