Future of Food Security
Pakistan must make substantial progress towards food security and LTRE is a route that it must take to promote cultural change and shift the paradigm to establish that this is not an expense but an investment.
Pakistan is the cradle of a 5,000 years old ‘hydraulic civilization’ which can be witnessed at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of MoenJo-Daro (Mound of the dead) in Sindh. Water gives birth to human settlements and it is the same water which has destroyed these settlements due to insufficient understanding of natural phenomenon, inappropriate response to river flows or even indifference to understanding the nature of rivers.
No society can ignore the importance of water for its survival, security and sustainability. Human progress is directly proportional to the responses to changing and complex challenges faced by mankind. Water for survival Pakistan is an agro-based economy; being the world’s 4th largest milk producer, 4th largest mango producer and 5th largest cotton producer with about 60% of its population of over 200 million employed in agriculture and related sectors and contributing the
By Nisar A Memon largest foreign exchange component to the treasury. It has to depend on water for its survival.
Its 7,250 glaciers, its Karakorum and Hindu Kush range of mountains and the Indus basin rivers are its key assets and a source of water for drinking and agriculture. However, like all resources they need to be used judiciously and managed well to cater to its growing demands. Pakistan’s per capita water availability currently estimated at 1066 cubic meters is ‘stressed’ by Falkenmark index and in 2025 it is forecast to be 858 cubic meters at ‘scarcity’ level. This calls for urgent attention to population and water management. Water for Security Human security requires a close watch on water security since the food directly depends on water which in turn has interdependence of natural resource security, institutional security, infrastructure security and territorial security. Territorial security is best handled by an appropriate foreign policy backed by well-equipped and professional armed forces to meet the overt and covert challenges backed up by the will of nation. Natural resource security is impacted by earthquakes and climate changes causing glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) and river floods. Institutional security is assured by educational and research institutions like centres of excellence of our universities as well as WAPDA, Pakistan Meteorological Department, GCISC, PCSIR, PCWR and SUPARCO. Infrastructural security requires continuous watch on the Indus river basin with the world’s largest irrigation network structures of dams, barrages and canals providing water to 36 million acres of contiguous land. The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) inked in 1960 between Pakistan and India and brokered by the World Bank, is considered to be a living example of a successful water treaty having survived several wars between the two countries, mainly because of a dispute resolution