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Food Insecurity in Pakistan: Causes and Policy Response

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There is evidence of continued food insecurity and malnutrition in Pakistan despite significant progress made in terms of food production in recent years. According to “Vision 2030” of the Planning Commission of Pakistan, about half of the population in the country suffers from absolute to moderate malnutrition, with the most vulnerable being children, women, and elderly among the lowest income group. The Government of Pakistan has been taking a series of policy initiatives and strategic measures to combat food insecurity issues. These range from increasing production to food imports, implementation of poverty reduction strategies, nutritional improvement programs, as well as provision of social safety nets. The article aims to instill some fresh thinking into the debate regarding the challenges of food security. It underscores the limitations of hitherto policy response, and suggests crucial measures to improve the present grim scenario. Policy makers, planners, practitioners, and academicians in countries with comparable socio-political and economic setup can view this discussion as a case study and may apply the findings in their domain accordingly.

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  1. 1US$= 85 Pak. Rupees (approximately) as per April 2010 exchange rates.


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We acknowledge the assistance from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad as well as the Department of Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Peshawar, Pakistan. We would also thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper.

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Correspondence to S. Akhtar Ali Shah.

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Khan, M.A., Akhtar Ali Shah, S. Food Insecurity in Pakistan: Causes and Policy Response. J Agric Environ Ethics 24, 493–509 (2011).

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