RAWALPINDI, Oct 14: (Agencies): As the World Food Day is being observed on October 16, at least 25 per cent of Pakistan’s population remain undernourished, says the latest food security statistics compiled by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The number of undernourished people in Pakistan registered an increase from 1990-92, benchmark period of the World Food Security (WFS) and the Millennium Development Goals, to 2002-04, the latest period available. The decreasing trend observed during the first half of the period reversed in recent years. The prevalence of undernourishment in Pakistan is higher than in South Asia, Asia and the Pacific.
According to the statistics revealed in the State of World Food Insecurity 2006, the number of undernourished touched the figure of 35.2 million in 2001-03. The average kilo-calorie per person per day has been calculated at 2,340 in 2001-2003 compared to 2,300 kcal in 1990-1992 and 2,440 in 1995-1997. The dietary protein consumption grams/person/day was 59 in 2001-2003 as compared to 63 in 1995-1997 and 58 in 1990-1992. Similarly, dietary fat consumption g/person/day was 69 as compared to 65 in 1995-1997 and 58 in 1990-1992.
Asia and the Pacific region accounts for 68 per cent of the developing world’s population and 64 per cent of its under- nourished population. Between 1990-92 and 2001-03, the number of undernourished people in the region declined from 570 million to 524 million and the prevalence of undernourishment dropped from 20 to 16 percent.
Bangladesh and Pakistan, both with high levels of prevalence, account for 15 percent of the hungry people in the region, with Pakistan showing an increase in both prevalence and in absolute number.
Pakistan is already nearing to have the population of 160 million to become the sixth most populous country in the world. The trend indicates the population may double in the next 25 years, and keeping in view this fact, ensuring food security has become the most serious concern for the government. The agriculture growth would have to show not an average growth rate but a spectacular growth rate to keep pace with population.
The right to food is the inherent human right. The choice of the right to food as the theme for 2007 World Food Day demonstrates increasing recognition by the international community of the important role of human rights in eradicating hunger and poverty, and hastening and deepening the sustainable development process.