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'11 percent of global population facing food insecurity'

President of Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), Mian Zahid Hussain, has urged the international community to ask India not to steal Pakistan's water and desist from turning the country into a desert. Speaking to the businessmen, he said that the world was entering into a new era of food insecurity which may pose serious threat to the global peace and prosperity.

The emerging danger has nothing to do with the availability of food but its increasing price which has gone out of the reach of almost a billion people, he added.. Urging the business community to join hands and take immediate steps to ward off the looming threat, he said that presently around 850 million or 11 per cent of the global population has been facing food insecurity and majority of them live in the SAARC region. Moreover, two billion people, including 320m children are not getting proper diet; every second pregnant women in the developing world and 40pc pre-school children are anaemic, while 45pc child mortality has been attributed to deficiency of vitamins and minerals, he added.

The PBIF chief said that once the Indian subcontinent used to produce half of the world's GDP, but now it is home to majority of world's poor due to continued political tensions. These poor countries are compromising on health, education and other necessities to buy food, he added.

Eradication of poverty and malnutrition is in the interest of developed world and hence they should support poor countries to ensure food security by co-operating in the fields of agriculture, energy, nutrition, clean drinking water, sanitation. He said that hunger and associated health as well as productivity cost has been bringing down global GDP to five per cent.

Emphasising the need for an increased intervention in the agricultural sector and grain markets, he said that peace and prosperity cannot be ensured in presence of starving population. Lauding the government efforts of connecting farms to cities through roads network, he underscored the need for value addition of agricultural produce to upgrade the living standards of the farmer.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015