AGRICULTURE NEWS

OVERPOPULATION: A THREAT TO FOOD SECURITY, AGRICULTURE PRODUCTIONS

Alongside climate change, overpopulation was being considered as one of the major challenges to developing countries including Pakistan, which were posing serious threats to food security, forests and agriculture productions in the wake of climate change’s susceptibilities. UN World Population Report 2022 has revealed that the world’s population was fast growing and was likely to reach 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100. Like other world countries, Pakistan was also confronted with the monster challenge of overpopulation having around 243 million people with 1.91% annual growth rate in 2021. Being the fifth most populous country and second largest population in the Muslims world after Indonesia. Food security issues would likely to increase in the country in next few years after recent devastating floods that caused an estimated $40 billion economic and agriculture losses in Pakistan. “Overpopulation has been emerged as big social issue that not only poses enormous challenges to food security but also causes economic imbalances, poverty, encourages corruption and undermined merits and development,” said Dr Muhammad Mumtaz Malik, former Chief Conservator of Wildlife. “We need special policies to encourage cash value crops and growing trees species, which were cost and time-efficient to meet people’s growing food demands especially of edible oil.” Having only 20% domestic production of total requirement, the country spends approximately US$ 4 billion annually on import of edible oil to meet the pressing demand of its population. “Pakistan’s annual requirement of edible oil is about five million tons (MT) with approximately 16kg per capita use and most of its chunk is imported from Malaysia and Indonesia,” said Dr Ehsan Khan, Director Edible Oil Productivity Institute. He said over 4.4 million hectares fertile land is suitable for cultivation of olive, sunflower, soybean, corn, canola and other oils in Pakistan.