Explained: What is causing acute food insecurity in Afghanistan?


About 22.8 million people in Afghanistan, or half the country’s population, will face acute food insecurity from November. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has warned, citing the findings of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, released by the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster of Afghanistan.

The warning call came just months after Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August, when US troops withdrew after more than two decades of deployment.

Recently, the Global World Hunger (GHI) Index was also released, which placed Afghanistan at 103rd position followed by India, which was ranked 101st. Overall, 116 countries were considered for the index for the year 2021. The GHI Index graded Afghanistan. Hunger level as “severe”.

What causes food insecurity in Afghanistan?

There are several reasons why WFP has sounded the alarm. These factors include: COVID-19 Pandemic, drought and conflict, which have severely affected the ability of people to access food in the country. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) notes that hunger in Afghanistan has increased significantly since 2014 due to major droughts, floods and economic and security challenges.

In October, Nikkei Asia reported that food prices in Afghanistan were rising as the value of the local currency was falling and imports from Pakistan (from which Afghanistan imports the majority of food products) had fallen. Other countries from which Pakistan imports food products are India, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Iran.

The Nikkei Asia report also said that according to Zia-ul-Haq Border, vice-president of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), food shipments from Pakistan to Afghanistan have fallen because the Taliban have had weekly bank withdrawals. is limited. About $200 or 20,000 afghani (approximately Rs 17,000).

Has there been food insecurity in Afghanistan lately?

Food insecurity in Afghanistan is not a recent reality, the country has been food insecure for a few years now.

a 2007 USAID The Report on the State of Food Security in Afghanistan referred to the 2005 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (NRVA), which summarized the food situation in the country, as “at the domestic level, food insecurity in Afghanistan is widespread. Inadequate access to food. Low household income.”

In fact, a 2010 United Nations Report stated that “poverty actually kills more Afghans than those who die as a direct result of armed conflict, either incidentally or unavoidably; it is both the cause and consequence of massive human rights deficiencies.” Is.”

according to a joint report Published by the World Bank and the Government of Afghanistan, as of 2018, agriculture has traditionally dominated the economy of Afghanistan and contributed to a large part of its growth. In addition, about 70 percent of Afghans live and work in rural areas, mostly on farms, and about 61 percent of households derive their income from agriculture.

One of the major findings of the report was that the crop agriculture sub-sector was not diversified enough and was highly concentrated on wheat. Furthermore, while agriculture represented a high share of workers, their share of income was low due to limited market participation and high numbers of unpaid family workers.

How much does a meal cost in Afghanistan in 2021?

According to anecdotal prices Collected by employees of the organization Save the Children, as of August 2021, in Kabul, the price of flour (50 kg) has increased by about 6 percent, the price of oil (5 liters) by about 5.8 percent. Gas 18.1 percent. In other regions like Kunduz, prices of flour (50 kg) have increased by 40.6 per cent, oil (5 litres) by 20 per cent, beans by 30 per cent and gas by 63.4 per cent. The comparison was made with the prices in July.

In May, the World Bank noted that the pandemic had exacerbated food insecurity among vulnerable communities in Afghanistan. This is mainly because preventive measures like lockdown have closed the border and disrupted productive activities and reduced consumption. “This is in addition to widespread seasonal hunger due to conflicts, slow growth, drought, and high unemployment, which disproportionately affected low-income urban and rural households.,” it said.

Around this time, Afghan times started the Dastarkhwan-e Meli to address hunger and rising unemployment in vulnerable communities. As of May, 750,000 Afghan families had received relief packages.