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Shahid Husain
Friday, August 17, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

Karachi

 

In the colonial era, August 15 was marked as the cut-off point before the authorities of the time declared a drought in areas that had not received any rainfall and people would start migrating to the barrage areas. However, despite the fact that Tharparkar has not experienced a single drop of rainfall during the monsoon season, the government has failed to make any announcement in 2012.

 

Climate change has been playing havoc, not only in this part of the world, but across the globe and experts say it is high time people shift to alternate crops.

 

A statement released by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) says the lack of rainfall and abnormally high temperatures had contributed to the most severe and extensive drought in the United States since the 1950s.

 

“Poor and vulnerable groups in developing countries are hard hit by the increased prices of the agricultural commodities that they depend on for their primary daily caloric intake. As experienced during the 2007-2008 global food price crisis, movements in domestic markets can have significant impacts globally markets, and vice versa,” the IFPRI said, while quoting its Director General Shenggen Fan.

 

“The rising maize and soybean prices can cause an increase in other commodity prices as the livestock industry switches from maize to wheat for animal feed and consumers are forced to shift their consumption to other commodities,” the IFPRI DG said.

 

Fan suggested several urgent actions to prevent a potential global food price crisis. “Monitor the situation. Key institutions, including the USDA, FAO, UNCTAD, the World Bank, and the World Food Programme (WFP) and G20 supported initiatives like Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), in collaboration with local partners, should pay close attention to developments in supply, consumption, prices, and trade, as well as agricultural commodity speculation. This will help quickly detect any imbalances and facilitate swift responses.”

 

Sources in Tharparkar said people will migrate to barrage areas after “Dewali” that falls on November 14. They also pointed out that despite orders that district coordinating officers should be in touch with all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other stakeholders, there are no preparations. The News also tried to contact Dr Faizul Bari, the project manager/national emergency coordinator, FAO, but he was not available for his version of events.