Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, November 28th, 2020

The World Food Day Marked Amidst Food Crisis in Afghanistan

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The World Food Day Marked Amidst Food Crisis in Afghanistan

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he 16th October was coincided with World Food Day. This day was celebrated in Afghanistan while a large number of Afghan people are suffering from food shortage and fell under poverty line. those who consume less than 2,064 Afghani in a month are considered below the poverty line based on the national definition of poverty line.  In accordance with  a survey which had been released about two years ago by National statistic and Information Authority of Afghanistan (NSIA), 54.5 percent of Afghans were below poverty line, but the recent World Bank estimates shows up to 72% due to corona-virus outbreak in the country. The recent report also confirm that nearly 15 million Afghans, including 2 million families, have been severely affected by economic hardship largely caused by quarantine restriction in cities. It is said that some Afghan citizens were forced to sell their homes to provide food for their families due to lack of reliable and stable income while others are compelled to joined criminal groups to win bread for their family survivals.
The shaking level of poverty is disclosed in the same time with probable outbreak of second wave of covid-19 in the country. Undoubtedly, covid-19 is a global threat and naturally it excludes no one and no country but poor people and war-torn country are more vulnerable than others. The media news indicates that thousands of families are extremely in danger of war, virus and starvation in most parts of the country, especially Hilmand province which witnessed a large number of family replacement in recent days. with closing to the cold season most people do not have dry bread to survive, let alone to rent shelters, purchase fuels, provide medicine or nutritious food to fight against second wave of the covid-19  or winter coldness.  If the second wave of the corona becomes serious, it could farter complicate the situation as it is too hard for the poverty stricken people to carry the burden of disease, war poverty, people replacement and high prices  of goods at the same time.
Unfortunately, we could not properly use opportunities to build our economic infrastructure though Afghanistan received billions of financial support from international community that’s people are at critical condition now. When people look at the statistics of the international community’s aid and then compare it with the  current growing problems of the Afghan society, they would have a question, “Where did go all this money “?  Giving a clear response to this question is not easy. The only thing that unanimously can explain this situation is corruption. The corruption does not have one face but it has several faces and dimensions which altogether wasted resources and produced the current situation.Undoubtedly, if it had been spent in a right way, Afghan people would have a better life today.
The next problem which are happening at same hard time is free market disorders . With closing to winter season the prices are dramatically increased. The free market opportunists farther pressurize the already poor people.  If we do not control the prices at this hard time, there will be a tragedy with rises of prices in the coming weeks and months. Undoubtedly, the free market system has been accepted in the constitution, but it has not allowed every kinds of destructive behavior such as hoarding, monopolies, inflation and injustice to intensify a growing crisis.  the general spirit of national law requires the governments to ensure social justice, social health and social security in their countries. So, any threats either in form terrorist attacks or in form of free market monopolies, damping or hoarding should be seriously controlled by governments. No unfair economic behaviors which led to health crisis, inflation, widespread injustice, and class distances should not be allowed. In fact, this kind of economic behavior is considered more dangerous than terrorist and corona-virus. The terrorist attacks may target a single place or group but economic injustice, especially in this critical time, create grave hardship in the country.
the way out of all these issues requires  detailed work but the very basic suggestion is the economic challenges must not be overridden by the day-today- political agendas. As an immediate solution, there is need for an extra measure to ensure safe environment for investors, control free markets disorders and seek attention of humanitarian organization and donors, but as longer suggestion there is need for a clear poverty reduction strategy. The current condition is not because of not having fiscal and human resources, but these challenges are because of lack of practical strategy. As we missed many opportunities in the past two decades, it will be repeated in the future, unless we put it on the top of national priorities.
We also need to seek help from big national companies in such hard time as recently MTN provided a large number family with food and basic facilities. Most people expect government to deal with all these problems while the government also suffer from budget deficit. From one hand, the international aid has decreased in recent years, on the other hand, the war and war cost has increased. If the national and international donors do not pay serious attention to the critical condition of the country, there would be a humanitarian tragedy in the country. Although some member of international community such as the European Union, the World Bank, and the United States have pledged about $ 300 million to the Afghan government to fight the corona, It is unclear how much of this pledged amount has been made available to the government so far. the poor people of Afghanistan who have lost their jobs, homes or family bread winners are waiting for these aids to relieve their pain and hardship though these cannot be enough due to this level of poverty and difficulties in the country.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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