The State of Food Insecurity in the World

This blog is derived from the Executive summary of state of food insecurity of the world of the FAO, UN. With the courtesy of the FAO report, 2011. (

The food and economic crises of recent years are challenging our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by half by 2015. This edition of The State of Food Insecurity in the World focuses on food price volatility and high food prices, which are likely to continue in the years ahead. Indeed, the Group of Twenty (G20) Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors has become actively engaged in finding cost-effective ways to reduce price volatility and mitigate its effects when it does occur. By using previously unavailable data sources and studies, this report goes beyond the global-scale analyses to find out what happened on the domestic markets where poor people buy  and  sell their food  in order   to draw policy-relevant lessons from the world food crisis of 2006–08.

The report emphasizes that the impact of world price changes on household food security and nutrition is highly context-specific. The impact depends on the commodity, the national policies that affect price transmission from world markets to domestic markets, the demographic and production characteristics of different households and a range of other   factors. This is diversity of impact both within and between countries, points to a need for improved data and analysis so that the government can implement more effective policies. Better and more predictable policies can not only reduce unwanted side-effects on other countries, but can simultaneously reduce food insecurity and domestic price volatility at home.


And other details of the executive summary are available in the link below.



Climate change issue is not a symbol of fashion anymore but a real beast of the modern era. Though, mostly the developed and industrialized nations are responsible but the consequences are mostly bear by the communities of poor and so called developing countries. Climate change affects the life adversely in all its spheres, like agriculture, livestock, food chain, environment and socio-cultural harmony. Climate change has been affecting social life of the vulnerable societies. The consequences of climate change are now more visible than ever in the form of droughts, flash floods, desertification and introduction of new diseases of all the living organisms.

As, indigenous and local/tribal communities are dependent on the environment and natural resources, hence they are the first prey of the climate change. This close relationship with the earth means that they are often among the first groups to suffer the consequences of climate change. The same was happened in Pakistan in the last drought of ninety’s decade. The consequences appeared in the form of social conflicts and migration, resulted in pressure on the nearby cities and towns.

There are two ways to cope with the climate change scenario, i.e. technological mitigation and adaptation. The later is the best option for developing world as the mechanical mitigation demand very high in puts and results in long run further environmental degradation.

Local/indigenous knowledge and plants & livestock varieties are the best tool to cope with the climate change beast. Local people, especially pastoralists have adapted their own ways to cope with the climate change, though not visible. The pastoralists in horn of Africa; especially afar region (more prone to frequent droughts) had replaced cattle with camel and sheep with goat. Camel is resistant to drought as survive without water and even feed for longer period than any other domestic livestock. Also camel and goat rely on bushes which survive for years of droughts. Grasses, sheep and cattle are the first lump of droughts and disappear very rapidly.

But in Pakistan (Pashtoon land), due to pressure on rangelands resources for fuel wood, especially bushes, the nomads replaced camel with donkeys and tractors. The use of donkey is increased many folds, as donkey is one of the hardies animal and need very low or even zero input.

The climate change resulted in Africa in the form of water shortage. The water sources are now far from the living areas and women fetch water from far and wide areas (fetching of water is women’s duty). Consequently young ladies were not willing to marry in villages and communities. The local old women solved this problem as giving donkey in dowry to young ladies to fetch water.

Unfortunately, the drought could not bring positive response among the agriculture farmers in many countries. The farmers are politically powerful and they converted agriculture from agroecosystems to high in put production system by using electric power and submersible technology to unearth water from the rocks very deep. They could not shift their agriculture to practice the drought resistant local varieties but adapted high yielding hybrid crops (need more water, fertilizer and pesticides, weedicides) resulting in further environmental dilemma.


  • Give local people, especially pastoralist/livestock keepers due recognition in policy and planning
  • The efforts/methodologies of the local people to CCA must be documented
  • Promote farmer-led adaptation to climate change
  • Invest in building the capacity of pastoralists



Threatening camel population in Pakistan
Pakistan is the cradle of animal genetic resources, camel is one of the most special. Pakistan is home to more than 20 breeds of camel, living in different types of habitats and ecosystems. Camel provides food and livelihood to millions of people and lives in harsh and hostile regions of the country. Camel is facing many problems and threats, all are man-made.

Illegal camel export is one of the major threat to camel population in Pakistan. Thousands of camel export to Iran and Gulf countries illegally and very inhumane. There is a severe shortage of meat in the country but this precious and healthy source of meat are going without any hurdle and difficulty. Though there is a ban on live or meat of animals but it is continued under the eyes of the administration. The situation is eyes opening. The precious camel genetic resources of Chaghai-Kharan region is already under threat and the camel population has been sharply declined to 50%. There is utmost need of time to strengthen the camel keepers of the region with some inputs like (feed and vet cover) and advocacy for their products. The camel in the region known as

The camel in the region known as Kharani breeds The world’s leading milch camel~The Kharani is one of the leading breeds with tremendous milk yield for a longer duration at the global level. Unluckily this unique breed is under severe threat and the number of camels is sharply decreasing as said before. The only hope can be the support as mentioned in the above paragraph and to rehabilitate the region with the highly valuable local plant ‘Thagaz’, a type of Halloxylon. The botanical name is Haloxylon persicum.AN ETHNOBOTANICAL STUDY OF CHAGAI DISTRICT, PAKISTAN

Investments in pastoralism offer best hope for combating droughts in Africa’s drylands

Investments in pastoralism offer best hope for combating droughts in Africa’s drylands.

Establishment of a forum on food security and climate change adaptation

Today, 8 September, 2011, a forum on food security and climate change adaptation (FSCCA) was established. The decision was taken after a lengthy discussion of likeminded scientists and activists of SAVES, BRSP and SUSG. Agrarians, animal and veterinary scientists and forest expert participated in the meeting. The meeting was held in the conference room of Balochistan Rural Support Program (BRSP)

The main themes of the forum are;

  1. Agroecosystem farming (AEF)
  2. Action research
  3. Knowledge management
  4. Policy and advocacy
  5. Capacity building

The food security situation and climate change issues were discussed, especially in the context of the province of Balochistan Pakistan. It was concluded that the biodiversity of the region is at stake and food security is at risk. There is need of change at policy and field levels to combat such situation. A policy of change is the need of time to take all the stake holders onboard, especially the farmers.

It was accepted that the local varieties of plants and indigenous livestock breeds are the guarantee of food security, especially in climate change scenario. Local genetic resources can be use as a tool of resilience to combat climate change and desertification.

Members participated in the meeting along with their contacts are presented in the following table.

Name Designation

Contact #

E Mail Address
Mohammad Anwar M&ES

Tahir Rasheed NPM

Nadir Gul CEO

Dr Shahnawaz Manger

Sadar Naseer Tareen Chairman

Abdul Wahab Director Agric

Dr Abdul Raziq Researcher SAVES

Arif Shah D.D Agric.(Ext)

sadiq agha Asstt.Director

S. Habib ullah shah Asstt.Director

Khadaidad researcher

Ziakar kakar V/O


Dr Abdul Raziq, head of the SAVES will be the focal person of the forum and Muhammad Anwar of SUSG will be the secretariat.

The next meeting of the forum will be held in second week of October in the same venue, in which action research project will be discussed.

Dr Abdul Raziq

     Focal point of the FSCCA

The Indigenous Societies (Institutions) are Resilient to the Climatic catastrophes

Playing with nature since last two centuries is now appearing in the calamities of climate change. The normal cycles of drought due to El Niño is now changing very adversely. (El Niño brings widespread drought (i.e., precipitation deficit) to the tropics. Stronger or more frequent El Niño events in the future and/or their intersection with local changes in the mean climate toward a future with reduced precipitation would exacerbate drought risk in highly vulnerable tropical areas). Many vulnerable societies to climate change are now suffering. Drought in the horn of Africa is the latest news, pushing million of people to the hell of hunger and malnutrition. The famines in Africa are concurrent.

Many vulnerable societies to climate change are now suffering. Drought in the Horn of Africa is the latest news, pushing millions of people to the hell of hunger and malnutrition. The famines in Africa are concurrent on the continent because of climate change, one of the worst affected continents. Unfortunately, the response to such calamities is always faulty and for time being. If the world put as much effort into long-term programs to build resilience in communities, as it is now doing to feed the hungry, this famine would never have happened in horn of Africa.

The climate change scenario is happening, is no more a fashion of discussions. Climatic change is appearing with its consequences, i.e. droughts and floods like in Africa and Asia respectively. Once again floods are hitting human settlements and agriculture field in South Asia, especially Pakistan. The question is food security in sustainable manner. Food aids and emergency help cannot work long. Short term policies and introduction of high yielding varieties of plants and animals cannot work sustainably. These all efforts are short term. The main question is how to strengthen local communities to produce resilience and adapt to climate change. Produce food items from their own resources (well adapted livestock and plant species) in the climate change context.


The first mistake started with the introduction of high yielding exotic varieties, which need very high inputs, ultimately result in environmental dilemma. Fruit farming in North and central highlands of Balochistan is the best example of the environmental degradation and water shortage as consequence of green revolution. While in fruit farming practices, ground water was lifted with electric power and now there is shortage of even drinking water. Also, high inputs in the form of pesticides and fertilizer resulted in many environmental consequences and loss of precious flora and fauna (biodiversity) and change in agroecosystems.

The fourth report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) published in 2007 projects that the global temperature of the planet’s atmosphere will likely have increased 1.1 to 6.4 C by the end of this century. The impact studies on biodiversity have shown significant changes in ecosystem and species distributions, principally due to increasing temperatures and altered precipitation regimes. The climate change will more intensify and threat to biodiversity and food chain will be more deepen. The scientists are agreeing that the loss to biodiversity minimizes the opportunities of food production. Another report, published very recently on world media, revealed that the flora and fauna migrate towards the pole and the polar diversity is going to disappear. The situation is changing very quickly, it is the time to rethink on the policies relates to local resources and communities to cope with the climate change calamities. The priority should go to more affected societies more focus to help.

drought and livestock

 Endogenous development and adaptability

Endogenous development is a development from within the communities. Such development is sustainable and resilient to climate change. Endogenous development is also of importance in developed countries with the high-input agriculture. Small-scale production system (SSPS) is an endogenous way of food production. Small-scale production system (SSPS), both of livestock and agriculture is one of the best tools for local communities to resist climate change. Local communities with their knowledge and resources can better coup with the situation of droughts. Pastoralism is another tool of resilience, the local community practice in Africa and Asia. Adaptation to climate change with the help of highly adapted livestock breeds and agriculture varieties is one of the best options; the vulnerable societies have had in hand. Adaptation to climate change is not a new phenomenon. Throughout human history, societies have adapted to climate variability alternating settlements, agricultural patterns, and other sectors of their economies and lifestyles. Adaptation in human history has been mostly successful.


Climate change with all its calamities is striking vulnerable communities very badly. Unfortunately, African and Asian continents are more prone to such calamities. The concurrent droughts and floods in Africa and Asia are the well-known examples of the situation. Indigenous/local resources and knowledge can be the best tool to cope with the climate change scenario, as local varieties are highly adapted to the local conditions. Local genetic resources produce in a very low input system of production and sometimes even need zero inputs. Applying high input unsustainable production system (factory, high mechanized, monoculture, energy based) cannot be helpful. Also, gene control giants (like Monsanto in Africa), land grabbing, political backing for cross breeding of indigenous livestock breeds and regional conflicts are even worsening the situation.

Indigenous livestock breeds, especially camel, can play a better and crucial role in such circumstances. Camel is one of the most important of them, survived the affected families to shift to other places to resist drought. Local livestock breeds consume many times the lesser quantity of water compared to the exotic livestock breeds and are more resistant to local diseases and pests. The best way to combat climate change, droughts, desertification etc is to promote endogenous development and to make the local communities resilient to the situation. The priority of the international aid should go to the most affected communities due to climate change. The main focus should give on the resilience, not just food aid so that the world can live in harmony and peace.

A concept note for camel development

It is a real time pleasure that camel is receiving attention of the scientists more than ever. I hope the belongings will change in camel’s favor soon. From this end of the world, I would like to say that everything, each entity, organization and camel stake holder is important. Our basic theme must be inclusive but not exclusive. We should take on board all the stake holders for a global camel initiative. CARDN, IFAD, ISOCARD, Tvisky etc, everyone is important and playing important role.
Also about ideas of work, yeah, there is still need to work on each issue of camel. There are many people, scientists, workers in this world who are working on camel. Camel’s people are really devoted and already working in hard conditions. We have good human resource, so let’s work on all issues and correlate them all. Everything to be done is important; all are interwoven and correlated issues. In many areas of the world, there is high demand for camel products, esp camel milk but there is no good information system on the availability of milk and other products. In some area camel milk is available but marketing is poor. In some institutes, scientific publications are available but not extended to the stake holders. In some areas farms are available but the data is either not published or published at very local levels. Also, we really do not know about the sanctuaries, movement, population, breeds trends & status and production potential (quantitative traits) etc of camel. Some new diseases also threatened camel production and health in the recent time. Also gene level studies are important to know the real potential etc. There is also need to study camel in the climate change context. In Africa some pastoral communities are shifting from cattle pastoralism to camel pastoralism because cattle is the most prone to droughts. There are many global camel issues, like Australia is going to kill camel is carbon credit. Such problems are political also. The same camel can be use as food aid for the African continent and the recent drought stricken populace in Somalia and part of Kenya. Also camel work needs to be link with the pastoralism and dry land environment.
To materialize all the above ideas, funding is also very important. Funding is not an easy task especially these days because of economies crisis everywhere. Also, as an ice breaking a meeting of the organizations, scientists, representative from camel communities, funding agencies is also important. ISOCARD is going to have a camel conference at the junction of 2011-2011 in Oman. That is very good opportunity to participate and have a 1 day satellite meeting at the end of the conference. I wish if the ISOCARD authorities invite funding agencies and the other above said stake holders and have joint declaration on camel. ISOCARD is publishing a journal on camel and already conducted two camel conferences at global level, i.e. in Alain and Djerba, Tunisia. The journal of camel practice and research (JCPR), is another good source of data on camel.
FAO is also a good source of information on camel. Many publications of FAO on camel are available. The FAO funding on the application of global plan of action on animal genetic resources can also be helpful but only the governments can send the proposals against such FAO funding. FAO can appreciate governments to have camel projects.
Now, please walk for a concrete goal. Dr Aziz from KSA said, he can help in arranging findings or at least I understood that from his email. I am available for a joint camel work.

Quick Facts about Camels’ Domestication History

Domestication of Old World Camels

The camel was domesticated bit later than other animals so its name appeared late in the register of domesticated animals. The one-humped camel (Camelus dromedarius) is found in the all Arab land, Africa, South and central asia. dromedary camel is also found in Australian deserts commonly known as feral camel. Australian camels were actually emigrated to Australia with Asian people, especially Afghan to use as beast of burden for Australian development in eighteenth century.

Dromedary or Arabian Camel

Tribulus Plant
A dromedary camel grazing in the Arabian desert, eating the Tribulus flowers.
The dromedaries were domesticated even earlier than the Bactrian, before 3000 BC in the Arabian Peninsula. The term "dromedary" is derived from the dramas Greek for "road") and thus is directly applicable only to the racing or riding dromedary. However, the term is used throughout the world to describe this specie.

Dromedaries were first associated with nomadic Semitic cultures and did not become important until the rise of the Arabian culture. They became important domestic animals only with the Muslim conquests of Egypt in the 7th to 11th centuries AD.

The Bactrian or Bakhdi Camels

I shot this picture in the month of the May. Though the weather was not hot still the environment is not very friendly for the exotic livestock.
Two-humped camel (Camelus bactrianus ) is an Asiatic animal found in Gobi desert and other central Asian countries. The Bactrian Camels are thought to have been domesticated prior to 2500 BC. The name Bactrian is derived from a place name, Bactria, on the Oxus River in northern Afghanistan. Domesticated Bactrian camels were found in southern Russia by 1700-1200 BC and even in western Siberia by the 10th century BC. They were used in China as early as 300 BC as the original "silk  route" camels, but were replaced by crossbreds of the Bactrian/dromedary  later on.