Food insecurity arises, when there is a shortage of food, people do not have access or proper utilization of food or if they have access but it is not a balanced diet. In such case, we say people are facing food insecurity. It can occur at different levels like individual, household, state and/ or country.
It may be caused by different reasons, such as drought, agricultural productivity decline due to crop diseases, water scarcity, flooding, decrease in livestock production, inflation, decrease in per capita income and other socio-economic reasons, for example if the production of crop decrease in a fiscal year due to any reason like shortage in rainfall or pre or post harvesting lose (according to an estimate 30-40% yield lose especially of fruits and vegetables occurs due to improper crops harvesting and during transportation to market and due to non-availability of resources or techniques, the availability of food in market also decreases. Similarly if less percentage of food is available in market than its purchasing price will be high and in this way all the people will not be able to get it or have access. In this way the poor people and those living in the mountainous areas suffer more. Our social and cultural trends also contribute in food insecurity. For example in rural areas male are provided with good food as compared to females and food is first served to males then to females.
Besides all the mentioned reasons one of the most prevailing issue now a days, which is more unpredictable and more alarming is climate change. The mentioned factors can be prevented and controlled up to certain extent, where as climate change can not be predicted fully and to cope with it is quite difficult.
Most of the countries are now facing food insecurity due to climate change. Although it is a natural phenomenon but now it is accelerated and become more uncertain due to anthropogenic actions. Climate change not only affects our life supporting systems. Such as hydrological system, wind patterns and seasonal variations but it in turns directly effects all those process and assets which are dependent on these life support systems directly or indirectly like agriculture, livestock, health and ultimately economy.
The world is highly dependent on land and water resources and is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as drought and flooding. The vulnerability studies carried out, revealed that climate change could reduce the supply of surface water and crop yields, bring about land loss due to surface water and crop yields, bring about land loss due to surface run-off, and increase the incidence of acute diarrheic diseases and influenza, among other impacts. Most of the natural hazards associated with climate variability, including floods, windstorms and landslides, affecting people and causing millions of dollars’ worth of material damage. While food security is being adversely affected by unprecedented price hikes for basic food, driven by historically low food stocks, high oil prices and growing demand for agro-fuels, and drought and floods linked to climate change.
In mountainous areas, where agriculture is rain fed, decrease in precipitation will cause water scarcity for agriculture purpose, which results in decrease of production. Population will not get sufficient food or if it is available in one way or the other, it will be costly enough that poor people will not be able to have access. Thus the community will be called food insecure.
In the same way, due to decline in precipitation, fodder in required amount will not be available for livestock. Such situations will increase pressure on ecosystem, which as a result will not only cause further degradation of ecosystem but also decrease in livestock and its productions. The ultimate affect is on the dietary intake by the people.
In plain areas rivers, canals and tube wells are sources of irrigation. In case of melting of glaciers the rivers will carry excess of water that is usually cause flood conditions, which destroy surrounding land, agriculture, death of livestock and in extreme cases, human losses as well. Thus agriculture production also decreases and shortage of grains and other crops in market occurs. In such a scenario the most vulnerable group of people i.e. people living below poverty line are mostly affected by food insecurity. To become a food secure country their must be physical availability access and continuous supply of food.
Internationally several funds within the United Nations system finance specific activities aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resilience to the negative impacts of climate change. Because many mitigation actions that would have high payoffs also represent good options for adaptation within the food and agriculture sectors of low-income developing countries, it may be possible to obtain additional resources from bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, which are becoming increasingly interested in investing development resources in adaptive responses to climate change. The ultimate goal of FAO’s climate change work is to inform and promote local dialogue about what the impacts of climate change are likely to be and what options exist for reducing vulnerability, and to provide local communities with site-specific solutions.
In developed countries, however, to cater the future climatic changes different projects/programs are under way to control the food insecurity. However, in developing countries, like Pakistan, situation is more alarming. Every action, to be successful, depends on the policy that governs the actions. So far there is no such policy for climate change or food insecurity. How ever a number of organizations trying on their level to address the issue and create awareness in the government and private sector. But it is not sufficient and the government has to consider the overwhelming problem of food insecurity and its association with climate changes at all levels. Government should take some serious steps. The first step towards this goal is to compile statistical data of the entire country regarding most vulnerable groups/ areas of food insecurity, and then to address it in a comprehensive way. So that sustainable development can be made.
The Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC) predicts that during the next decades, billions of people, particularly those in developing countries, will face changes in rainfall patterns that will contribute to sever water shortages or flooding, and rising temperatures that will cause shifts in crop growing seasons. This will increase food shortages and distribution of disease vectors, putting populations at greater health and life risks. The predicted temperatures rise of 1 to 2.5 oC by 2030 will have serious effects, including reduced crop yield in tropical areas. The impact of a single climate water-or weather-related disaster can wipe out years of grains in economic development. This requires collaborative thinking and responses to the issues generated by the interaction of food security, climate change and sustainable development.
Mitigation of climate change is a human intervention aimed at reducing the sources or enhancing the sinks of greenhouse gases (IPCC 2007). Mitigation of climate change is a global responsibility. Agriculture and forestry provide, in principle, a significant potential for GHG mitigation. The assessment of mitigation potential remains a major tool for priority setting at the national level. If we could not make appropriate decisions about climate change we would not be able to cater the growing issue of food insecurity. This will ultimately affect the sustainable development of the country.
University Of Management And Technology Umt Lahore
M Abid Ayub
Punjab University PU Lahore
Punjab University College Of Information Technology Lahore
Allama Iqbal Open University Aiou Islamabad
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