Balochistan is one of the provinces with the highest prevalence of food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty in Pakistan. In 2020, the population faced multiple shocks including high food prices, locust outbreaks, rains/flooding and snowfall, all exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 0.76 million people (27% of the rural population analysed) are estimated to be facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) in the current period (March-June 2021), corresponding to the end of the lean season and the beginning of the harvest season. These include around 0.57 million people (20% of the rural population) in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and 0.19 million people (7% of the rural population) in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) across the 10 districts analysed. All districts have at least 5% of their population in Phase 4, and between 20% to 35% in Phase 3 or 4. The analysis of the projection period (July-September 2021) corresponding to the post-harvest season indicates that the number of people in Crisis and Emergency phases is expected to reduce slightly to 0.73 million (25% of the rural population).
Urgent action is therefore required to protect livelihoods and reduce food consumption gaps of people in Crisis and Emergency phases of acute food insecurity.
High Food Prices
Nationally, food prices went up by 9.1 percent for rural consumers on a year-over-year basis in February 2021.
High food prices of commodities and high inflation led to low purchasing power of households, particularly for low income groups e.g., small farmers, wage labors, households relying on petty trades etc.
COVID-19 had an economic impact on income and purchasing power, due to limited income opportunities in agriculture and the non-agriculture sector.
Most of the districts falling under arid-zones with high dependency on rainfall did not receive rainfall between April and November. Due to deficiency of pre-winter and winter rainfall, a moderate drought-like condition has emerged in southern and western parts of Balochistan.
Most of the districts are heavily relyiant on agriculture where locust infestation was experienced, that adversely affected food crop and fodder production