The food insecurity is another major issue in Pakistan. Poverty is one of the primary drivers of hunger in Pakistan. Although, Pakistan is a food surplus country and a series of good harvests has meant that food availability is high. Despite that, 60 per cent of the country faces food insecurity, with many of the country’s poorest people unable to afford an adequate diet.
As per latest estimates 24% of people in Pakistan live below the poverty line. The unavailability of adequate and quality food causing issue of malnutrition, particularly, in women and children. Pakistan has some of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. Although, undernourishment has slightly declined over the last two decades, it remains “moderately high”. Equally alarming is its stunting rate, which refers to impaired growth and development caused by inadequate nutrition. At 45 per cent, the incidence of stunting places Pakistan at 124 out of 132 countries. Similarly, the incidence of wasting (severe weight loss, causing low weight for a child’s height) is also extremely high.
The situation is especially bad in rural areas, despite the importance of agriculture to the rural economy. This is due to the high incidence of poverty in rural areas and the fact that many farmers are net buyers of food. Furthermore, economic and environmental shocks have left many poor Pakistanis deeper in poverty, which, in turn, decreases their access to food.
According to The United Nations’ World Food Programme Pakistan not only have the issue of production but both the quality and quantity of food available to most poor people to meet their basic nutritional needs. There is a famine-like situation in Thar almost every year and many children die of different diseases caused by malnutrition there. It’s not just Thar Desert where children suffer because of the defective food policy, but the poor, especially children all across Pakistan, even in big cities and high food production areas, remain starved and malnourished.
Through the program, SDO aims to provide food security to food insecure families in different parts of Sindh, to improve their nutrition and cover their needs that have been difficult to cover due to poverty and inflation primarily. We would also take food security projects in areas that are affected by any man-made or natural disaster, especially in the province of Sindh.
In the holy months of Ramadan and Zul Hijjah, SDO envisions to provide food security to vulnerable families through distribution of food ration and/or meat packets to secure the poverty and/disaster struck people. During 2016 to 2018, SDO distributed food packets to 3,995 families that helped 77,525 persons. Through our Sehri and Iftari activities, the organization provided cooked food to 30,000 persons in the holy month of Ramadan Kareem. In Zul Hijjah, at the occasion of Eid ul Adha, the organization provided meat packets to 24,456 families, i.e. served around 92,916 persons.