Food prices in Pakistan have hovered near an all-time peak since late 2010.

ISLAMABAD: Leading aid and development charity Oxfam said 36 per cent of Pakistanis were undernourished, listing Pakistan among the 21 nations of the world which were found to be undernourished according to an interactive map published on Wednesday.

Pakistan was adjudged to be more undernourished than Tanzania (35 per cent), Niger (28 per cent) and Yemen (32 per cent) where nearly every third person was feared to be malnourished. The map showed how poor communities across the world were being adversely affected by high and volatile food prices.

Oxfam says that food prices in Pakistan have hovered near an all-time peak since late 2010, sending tens of millions of people deeper into poverty and a famine-like situation.

After decades of steady progress in the fight against hunger, the number of people without means to eat is again rising in Pakistan and could soon be at a dangerous level, it says.

In Pakistan, nearly two-thirds of the population spend between 50 and 70 per cent of the income on food, making them vulnerable to rising prices, according to Oxfam.

It is imperative for the government to develop a policy framework that not only checks the unjust food price hike but also reinvigorates the economy at the local level.

Revival of the local economy is extremely important to generate jobs and challenge the mounting fears of poverty that directly contribute to malnutrition in Pakistan. High and volatile food prices are one of the biggest political issues of 2011.

The pressure points on the map can be embedded directly into any website to give audiences an easy way to raise their voice and take action on the food price crisis. The tool is part of Oxfam's global 'Grow' campaign to fix the broken food system.

Food prices have reached record heights in 2011 sending tens of millions of people into poverty and making it harder for many poor families to have enough to eat.

Food price volatility is creating significant pressure on already vulnerable countries around the world, devastating communities and contributing to increased instability, Oxfam says.

“High food prices have crunched incomes for poor people and helped to spark instability and violence around the world,” said Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam.

“From Yemen, to Bolivia, the pressures of food price volatility on poor communities are staring us straight in the face, yet world leaders have not done enough to help,” he added.

Leaders from the G-20 nations have delivered little more than band-aid solutions giving little hope to the struggling communities.The map displays countries that are highly vulnerable to price spikes, have seen price spikes contribute to violence or unrest, or have suffered extreme weather events that have contributed to price hikes.

“People around the globe are clamouring for bold action from world leaders and getting little more than speeches in return,” said Mr Hobbs. “Words sound nice but they don't feed hungry families. It's time for G-20 leaders to step back from their podiums and get to work,” he said.


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