Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 24th, 2017

Ensuring Food Security

Tomorrow, i.e. October 16th will be celebrated around the world as the World Food Day. The day is celebrated to honor the date of the founding of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945. It is celebrated by many organizations concerned with food security, like World Food Program (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The basic objective of the day is to highlight the importance of the food security as there are millions of people around the world who do not get enough food to live alive or healthy.
This year the theme of the day is ‘Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development’. The theme highlights that as the world is on the move, more people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since the Second World War due to increased conflict and political instability. By investing in rural development, the international community can also harness migration’s potential to support development and build the resilience of displaced and host communities, thereby laying the ground for long-term recovery and inclusive and sustainable growth.
Without looking at the future, even the present scenario shows a very dismal picture in some parts of the world. In the backward countries like Afghanistan, food security is a serious issue and many people, particularly during the winters and in case of any natural calamity, suffer from lack of enough food. The agricultural sector in Afghanistan has not been able to fulfill the requirements of the people as it has not been given proper attention by the concerned authorities. Mostly, this sector is highly dependent on the individual farmers and landowners. Most of them grow as much as they require themselves. Further, the growth of narcotics in the country leaves little room for the lands to be used for the cultivation of other necessary items that can fulfill the food requirement of the people. The government does not have any comprehensive strategy regarding the development of the agricultural sector on the basis of modern techniques. Therefore a large number of people, each year, have to look at the other countries for help in order to have food to eat. The international organizations in this regard have been fulfilling the food requirements of the country to a large extent, thus making the burden of the government much lighter. But this sort of help can never be permanent and it has already been facing difficulties as the donor countries that have been sponsoring such programs have decreased their contributions to a certain extent.
Estimates show that there would be almost two million people throughout Afghanistan who would be in need of extra food support starting from now. The shortage of food is no doubt the result of poor production on the part of the agricultural sector and the dearth of rainfall that has been persistently hitting the country and the trouble is doubled as there has not been an active irrigation system to bring the country's water supply in use by the agricultural sector. Wheat, which is the main crop that can provide ready food to the people, has been affected badly and what remains of it is a poor and insufficient production.
Some studies show that there are more than seven million people in Afghanistan who suffer from the food insecurity. Food insecurity means that there is no surety that this number of people is really going to have food requirements. And unfortunately, the alternatives are not ready as well. The security concerns and the hardships during the cold weather make the supply of the food from other parts of the country to the regions of the starvation a Herculean task.
The food shortage itself is a sure problem, but there are many other problems that are directly linked with the hunger that results from such shortages. Many social evils will find their way in the society and will further deteriorate the country's socio-political scenario. More people would be involved in crimes in order to feed themselves and their families. Two major problems in the country have been greatly strengthened by the continuous hunger and poverty. The first one that has been threatening the whole world is the growing terrorism in the region. The people suffering from hunger and poverty are very much likely to become part of terrorist groups that are ready to provide them their living.
The second problem that has made the country much notorious like terrorism is the production and trafficking of narcotics. Afghanistan is considered one of the leading countries in this regard. And now the phenomenon has become a part of organized crime in the country, with the involvement of national and international mafia. The poor and hungry people of the country are ready to become a part of this menace instead of suffering because of intense deprivation. They either become a part of its production or trafficking as they are paid handsomely in this regard. Further, the demand of the narcotics also makes many people think of using their lands for poppy cultivation rather than deciding to grow the crops that can yield food for the people.