ARE WE READY TO DO SOMETHING OR LET THE NATURE DECIDE OUR FATE?

SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Nov 30 - Dec 06, 2009

The global food security crisis endangers the lives of millions of people, particularly the worlds poorest who live in countries already suffering from acute and chronic malnutrition.

The rapidly increasing energy costs, lack of investment in agriculture, trade distorting subsidies and environmental degradation pose serious threats. On top of this, subsidized production of bio-fuels and imposition of export restrictions are responsible for food insecurity, compounded by hoarding and panic buying.

Hike in food prices have dramatic impact on the lives and livelihood of people. Among the worst are increased infant and child mortality of those already undernourished or living below poverty line and spending 70-80 percent of their income on food.

Pakistan being a developing country also suffers from twin crises, inconsistency if agriculture produces, rising cost of inputs and above all acute shortage of water, a must for achieving food security.

The country needs to undertake measures for revitalizing its agriculture sector. According to some estimates, population of the country now touches 200 million. Growing at above 3 percent rate per annum, it is likely to touch 250 millions by the year 2030.

The agricultural productivity has to be doubled to ensure self-sufficiency in food production. This requires allocating more resources on priority basis to the agriculture sector including incentive packages for the farmer, improving research and extension services, conserving water, ensuring efficient utilization of all other available resources.

Growing populations, sprawling urbanization that eats up valuable agricultural land, water shortages, and climate change are also the potential threats in ensuring food security for all.

According to the data released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), under nourishment in Pakistan increased from 24 to 28 per cent of the population, and the number of people classified as 'food insecure' increased from 60 million to 80 million. Pakistan is also fast becoming a water-stressed country. At partition, Pakistan's water resources were over 5,000 cubic meters per capita. The number gone below 1,500 cubic meters per capita and fast heading to less than 1,000 cubic meters per capita mark, officially termed water-stress limit.

Over 90 per cent of country's water is used in the agricultural sector and that too, not economically. The remaining is needed for drinking and other activities.

The canal irrigation system that the colonial rulers put in place in South Asia is the most significant event in the region. When canals were introduced, the colonialists opted to confer land grants to friends and favorites as a means of populating the newly arable regions. Because of this, feudalism was promoted, which still exists.

While the land reforms undertaken by the government has not helped in containing 'feudal lords' the irrigation system has been depleting due to improper repaid and maintenance.

According to the 1996 World Food Summit, food security exists when every person has physical and economic access at all times to healthy and nutritious food in sufficient quantity to cover the needs of their daily ration and food preferences, in order to live a healthy and active life.

In its simplest form, food security means that all people have enough to eat at all times to be healthy and active and don't have to fear that the situation will change in the future. As a concept, it can be applied at many levels-global, national, household, and individual.

There are three fundamental pillars in achieving food security. The first is food availability. At the global level, sufficient food must be grown to ensure that every one can be adequately fed. Today, the world is food secure from the perspective of food availability and global grain prices are less costly in real terms than at any time in recent decades.

The next pillar of food security is access to food both economic and physical. Poverty plays a major role in food insecurity. Generally, if there is too little food it is the result of inadequate food demand driven by poverty rather than of market failure.

The third pillar of food security is food utilization. This is a very complex pillar. A household must be able to obtain, through production or purchase, the right types of food for all household members. Inadequate dietary diversity results in mineral and micronutrient deficiencies, and increases the incidence of sickness, which sets up a vicious cycle of malnutrition. Unsafe water and poor sanitation increase the likelihood of frequent illness, which affects nutritional outcomes. On top of all, mothers need to have sufficient time to care for small children who require frequent feeding.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, with rising world grain prices, fears arose that the world would run out of food in the future as its population grew larger. Major improvements in agricultural productivity, particularly the impact of the "Green Revolution" on wheat and rice have removed that fear despite the population increase.

The expectation is that new advances in agriculture, particularly in biotechnology, will increase agricultural productivity sufficiently to feed the world population. This expectation, together with abundant global grain supplies has removed the threat of food insecurity from the agenda of most policymakers.

Famines, the worst manifestations of food insecurity, occur in specific areas when widespread and extreme hunger result in drastic weight loss and a rising death rate. The conditions generally occur in rural areas and are the result of a complex interaction of factors such as drought, civil unrest, floods, and economic disruptions.

Global information system has enabled policymakers to predict when famine is likely, either as a result of crop failure due to drought or pest or because of civil unrest and war. Famine in today's world is testimony to policy failure, not the absence of food.

Food insecurity, on the other hand, is a fact of life for many people. Today, 900 million people go to bed not knowing whether they will have enough to eat tomorrow. Each year, more than 6 million children do not live to see their fifth birthday. They die silently of causes associated with hunger and malnutrition.

SHAN FOODS LAUNCHES THEMATIC CAMPAIGN

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Shan Foods Private Limited, the leading food company in Pakistan, reinforced its product positioning strategy of "Just Perfect" through the launch of a new thematic advertising campaign.

The initiative appeals to consumers' senses by highlighting the pleasant sensory perceptions of Shan recipes. A ceremony was held at the Shan Foods premises in Karachi to commemorate the rollout of the new thematic campaign.

The campaign is based on the concept of stimulating the five senses of the consumers. The communication theme expresses that dishes cooked with Shan recipes offer delightful flavours for "Taste", refreshing aroma to "Smell", sizzling sounds to "Hear", vibrant colours for "Sight", and tempting appearance to "Touch" and consume.

Shan selects the finest quality ingredients and blends them in the right proportion to produce the perfect blend of recipe mixes. These products are then preserved as the "Just Perfect" blends through V-Lock packing technology, to ensure lasting freshness and taste.

Asma Aman, Brand Manager said, "Over the years the consumers of Shan recipes have developed a lasting trust and preference for its products. Shan has demonstrated a firm commitment to quality and research-based product development practices, which ensure consistent great taste in its food products and give consumers a food experience that is Just Perfect."

The launching ceremony of the new thematic campaign was a colourful event wherein the participants observed and experienced the refined and evolved offerings of Shan Foods.

The ceremony was organized by the Brand Team and was addressed by the senior management of Shan. Chairman Shan Foods, Mr. Sikandar Sultan was also present at the occasion and announced the launch of this new promotional campaign.

Established in 1981 Shan Foods (Pvt) Ltd. prides itself in hiring the most talented and educated people of the country to achieve this distinction. The company continuously emphasizes on human resource training & development through various programs that are aimed at enhancing the employees' quality of life, while enabling Shan Foods to offer better quality products through improved performance.