- The virus provides an opportunity. But will we Take it?
Amid rising deaths from the coronavirus worldwide, the World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that the world could face a “global hunger pandemic” as the number of people suffering from malnutrition could double this year. According to its report, at the end of 2019, approximately 130 million people globally were facing “severe hunger”. Currently, most countries around the world are facing lockdown and the number has risen to 265 million. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, more than two billion people were malnourished. The infant mortality rate was said to be unacceptably high. Against this background, there was an emphasis on global research efforts for controlling the escalating level food insecurity.
After World War II, 2020 could be considered the worst for human crisis, say international think tanks. In addition to war-torn, ecologically and economically disadvantaged countries, there are many other poor and semi-mediocre countries that will be immensely affected by the spread of the coronavirus. The problem will be exacerbated by various economic pressures. In such countries, the graph of remittances will also fall. The charity Oxfam has warned that the economic effects of the coronavirus could add up to half a billion people worldwide slipping into poverty. Citing research from the Australian National University and King’s College London, Oxfam said it would be the first time in 30 years that global poverty has increased. According to the report, due to the unwanted conditions created by the novel virus, the economic crisis will be more severe than the medical crisis and global poverty will increase significantly. The United Nations’ sustainable development goals include the eradication of hunger. To feed 10 billion persons in 2050, we need to get the trade-offs right between sustainability, food security, and food safety, and make better use of food already produced.
Even under normal circumstances, Pakistan has failed to fight inflation and poverty. The biggest challenge is the economic situation of the average Pakistani which does not allow him to be limited to the extent that saves him from the virus
The hierarchy of strategies for reducing food losses and waste are in descending order source reduction, reusing or reprocessing surplus foods, recycle food as feed for animals, recover the energy as biofuels, nutrients as compost, or raw materials for industry, while as last resorts one may consider recovering the energy by incineration or dumping it as garbage in landfills. Food safety and security are two complementing elements of our sustainable future. Hence, we need novel solutions for our future food security and sustainability without compromising food safety to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDG) including the eradication of hunger and poverty, clean water, sustainable land use, responsible production and consumption, mitigating climate change, and sustainable life on land and water. The coronavirus has brought many bitter truths together in countries like Pakistan. There are less equipped hospitals, fewer resources, less capacity, impractical policy approach, and lack of awareness in a country. In the presence of the aforementioned huge challenges, if we deal with this epidemic successfully, it will not be considered less than a miracle. At the international level, experts believe that the coronavirus will change the world. By several reports of international organizations, it is observed that there exists a risk of intense waves of hunger and poverty ranging from highly developed countries to underdeveloped countries. Economic mismanagement is at the root of all the world’s problems. From psychological problems to the decline of social values, the root of the problem is economic misery. About 60 million people in Pakistan are living below the poverty line. The poor are growing, the resources are shrinking. From the coronavirus, those bitter realities have come to the fore again, which are somehow covered up. The problem is everyone has to stay home if they want to avoid the virus. Those whose pockets are full are filling their homes with groceries. People who are free from stomach worries are showing their new hobbies on social media and encouraging people to stay at home. Some people share a list of books and movies on social media and say that they stay away from the virus at home. Read the best books in the world and watch super hit movies.
A few realists-are adding romantic colours to such suggestions. They say to give the family time. Avoid doing things that you have never been able to do with your family because of your busy schedule, and take advantage of the opportunity to do so. However, the poorest section of Pakistan is deprived of the luxury of such thinking. Along with corona, poverty is spreading in front of them. Everything will stop. The voices are also holding their breath. If they don’t go to work, will the family eat? And if they go out, they and their families may be at risk of contracting the virus. What advice do you give to these poor people? the middle class of Pakistan will try to follow somehow The awareness campaign for hygiene and precautionary measures that is going on at the moment, , but the millions of people who barely eat two meals a day, who live in dirty houses and rubbish bins; how will they take care of all this hygiene? Crying poses a serious threat to the world economy.
Pakistan’s economic wrestling is still hesitant in the middle of the whirlpool under normal circumstances. So far the world has very few solutions to fight the coronavirus. One of the most effective solutions is to minimize social interactions. In Pakistan too, efforts are being made to prepare people for this. But the question bothering everyone at the moment is whether Pakistan’s economic situation is capable of bearing the burden of any kind of partial or complete lockdown.
Under no circumstances can the answer be yes. Even under normal circumstances, Pakistan has failed to fight inflation and poverty. The biggest challenge is the economic situation of the average Pakistani which does not allow him to be limited to the extent that saves him from the virus.
There is an urgent need to invest in research infrastructure for reliable data on population health, nutrition, agricultural practices, climate change, ecosystems, sustainability, and human behaviour. The government must increase funding for agricultural and nutrition research. Although institutes on nutrition and hunger already exist, increased international cooperation is needed to close the knowledge gap. It also includes social science issues, such as how to change the behavior of consumers and farmers and how to introduce previously neglected agricultural crops.
The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also requires coordinated consideration of research findings. The coronavirus has given us an opportunity to think about how to balance nutrition and environmental goals in Pakistan, from analysis to how to motivate consumers to eat healthy and sustainable food.