Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Severe Food Shortage Crisis Underway

The United Nations Food Program (WFP) has warned that Afghanistan could face severe food shortages this autumn. According to its spokesman, about 2 million people are likely to be hit by food insecurity because of drought in different parts of the country.

The wheat crop cultivation has decreased dramatically due to the drought. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, 75% of rain-fed wheat farms called Lalmi are hit by drought, and we need to import 2 million tons of wheat from abroad. In a normal year, Afghanistan produce 4.5 million tons of wheat and around one million imported.

According to WFP, it has planned to feed more than 7 million people this year, but currently their resources can reach to less than 4 million across the country. And as usual, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) is yet in the process of preparing their preliminary assessment report, which will be final by the time people will be in urgent need of help.

Their assistance is to determine how many people require food supply assistance. The Ministry has no preparation or arrangements for wheat imports yet. The spokesman for MAIL says Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Russia could be possible suppliers.

It has been the trend with our bureaucratic slow system that even in cases of disastrous emergencies, we see how ineffectively the concerned quarters are making efforts. When a severe crisis is just overhead, the MAIL has yet no assessment report prepared. Their arrangements for wheat and other food security measures are almost nil.

The country is expected to face a very severe food shortage and skyrocketing price hike in coming months. The Government should make all out efforts to manage the coming-crisis and seek advise from international organizations like WFP in this regard. We cannot afford to handle a food shortage crisis.

It's of great concern that one of the reasons for the decrease in wheat crop is the rising prices of poppy, and the increased cultivation this year. It shows ultimate failure of the anti-narcotics policy of controlling poppy production. The government has to take tough measures on this.