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January 25, 2021

Food and climate

Editorial

 
January 25, 2021

The UN agency, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has said that small farmers “do little to cause climate change, but suffer the most from its impacts”. At a climate adaptation summit that starts today in the Netherlands, IFAD is set to launch a new $500-million fund to tackle climate change affected food security and aid more than 10 million people with weather change impacts. The FAO has been over the years the FAO emphasising the need for cooperation between developing countries from the region in order to improve agricultural outcomes and share experiences of fighting hunger. The need for agricultural collaboration should ideally go together with the agenda of reducing poverty.

In Pakistan, the situation can get very dire very fast. The country in itself has also been facing food security issues over the past few years, despite the fact that Pakistan is self-sufficient in major staple foods. Apart from unemployment due to the pandemic, the fact that households in the country are not food secure in a country which produces almost all of its food also means that the problems lie in the mechanisms for distribution as well as the low rate of compensating rural labour. As per a survey by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), forty percent of Pakistani households are also facing moderate or severe food insecurity in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While around a quarter of Pakistan’s population lives below the poverty line, poverty is the worst in rural areas. The question we need to be asking ourselves is why the areas that produce food are the ones most affected by food insecurity. As one of the countries predicted to suffer the most due to climate change, Pakistan should be operating on an emergency footing. This should include helping small farmers who cannot even try to battle climate change effects without the aid of the state. We will only overcome the worst effects of climate change with concerted global action but every country needs to start doing its bit now.