FOOD INSECURITY IN AFGHANISTAN
What is in news : The Center for Strategic and International Studies notes that hunger in Afghanistan has increased substantially since 2014 due to major droughts, floods and economic and security challenges.
- There are various reasons because of which the WFP has sounded an alarm. These factors include the COVID-19 pandemic, drought and conflict, which have severely affected people’s ability to access food in the country.
- In October, Nikkei Asia reported that food prices are spiralling in Afghanistan as the local currency’s value is falling and imports from Pakistan–from which Afghanistan imports the highest share of food products–have fallen. Other countries from which Pakistan imports food products are India, South Korea, UAE, Turkey and Iran.
- The food shipments from Pakistan to Afghanistan have fallen because the Taliban have limited weekly bank withdrawals to about $200 or 20,000 Afghanis (roughly Rs. 17,000).
Is food insecurity in Afghanistan recent :
- Food insecurity in Afghanistan is not a recent reality, the country has been food insecure for a few years now.
- A 2007 USAID report on the food security situation in Afghanistan referred to a 2005 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA) which summarised the food situation in the country as follows, “At the household level, food insecurity in Afghanistan is largely caused by inadequate access to food resulting from low household incomes.
- In fact, a 2010 UN report said that “Poverty actually kills more Afghans than those who die as a direct result of the armed conflict either accidental, nor inevitable; it is both a cause and a consequence of a massive human rights deficit.
- According to a joint report published by the World Bank and the Afghanistan Government, as of 2018, agriculture has traditionally dominated Afghanistan’s economy and contributed towards a large share of its growth. Further, about 70 percent of Afghans live and work in rural areas, mostly on farms and about 61 percent of all households derive their income from agriculture. One of the key findings of the report was that the crop agriculture sub sector was not diversified enough and was overly concentrated on wheat. Further, while agriculture represented a high share of workers, their share of income was low because of limited market participation and a high number of unpaid family workers.