After floods, food security may emerge as challenge

ISLAMABAD - The national humanitarian disaster of the decade - devastating flood - continues to play havoc in most parts of the country. The re-emergence of another cycle of monsoon in September may increase the sufferings of homeless flood victims who have already lost their near and dear ones and are currently surviving in shelterless areas.

Though the leadership of federal and provincial governments were seen intensely engaged in political wrangling, yet they are now seen giving attention towards the worries of flood victims. Experts believe that the rescue and relief operations are still insufficient especially in far-flung and unapproachable areas.

With the loss of precious lives, the ravishing floods have badly damaged agricultural lands in the country. The inundated ripe crops have obviously been badly damaged in mainly Sindh and Southern Punjab areas, which may cause another disaster in terms of food insecurity in the country.

This impact of food shortage [mainly vegetables] will soon start emerging in the country. “The ripe crops in Sindh, Southern Punjab and some areas of Balochistan have been affected. The challenge ahead for the farmers will be cultivation of crops,” Pakistan Kissan Ittehad president Khalid Khokhar said while talking to this scribe.

Recurring of another monsoon’s cycle may increase sufferings of flood victims

“Import of wheat in bulk quantity will be a challenge for the country,” he feared, adding that the next year would be toughest for the farmers and the government will have to take care of the requirements related to agriculture.

Realising the gravity of the situation, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Tariq Bashir Cheema has also consulted with provinces on minimum wheat support price. However, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet will take the final decision on the minimum wheat support price, after proposals from the provinces are received by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

The country over a decade ago had also witnessed devastating floods in the country but the strategy or planning to deal with such disastrous situation is revealing the facts of governments’ apathy over this important matter.

It may be recalled that the then government had also promised to make a strategy to deal with the same situation but the real efforts of three different governments’ era [Yousaf Raza Gilani, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan] have been exposed in this national disaster.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PTI’s chief Imran Khan have started paying separate visits in the flood-affected areas. It is the time to make a unanimous strategy to deal with the crisis-like situation in the country by putting aside political differences for the affected people of the country.

The political point-scoring between Imran Khan and PDM’s leadership, even in this humanitarian crisis, is still on its peak. The political opponents are registering cases, which is very unfortunate, commented political experts.

The experts in agriculture and food security believed that the leadership of the country should sit together to avoid another possible food insecurity challenge in the country which may emerge in a couple of months.

 

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