High food prices, COVID-19 and poor rains drive food insecurity in the seven newly-merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Around 1.5 million people (30 percent of the rural population analyzed) are estimated to be in high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) in the current period (October 2021-April 2022), corresponding to the planting/lean season. These include around 1.2 million people (24 percent of the rural population) in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and 0.3 million people (6 percent of the rural population) in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) across the seven districts analyzed. All districts, except South Waziristan, have at least 5 percent of their population in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency), and between 20-50 percent in IPC Phase 3 or above. Urgent action is therefore required to protect livelihoods and reduce food consumption gaps of people in Crisis and Emergency. All seven analyzed districts (Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Orakzai and South Waziristan) are classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) during the current period (Oct 2021-April 2022).
The analysis of the projection period (May-June 2022), corresponding to the harvest season of winter crops and the planting season of summer crops, indicates that the number of people in IPC Phase 3 or above is expected to increase slightly from 1.5 million to 1.6 million (32 percent of the rural population). This increase is attributed primarily to the impact of the expected rise in prices, which is expected to offset the benefits of the start of the winter harvest during this period. Area phase classification of all seven analyzed districts does not change and they all remain classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis).
The analyzed districts experienced multiple shocks, including inadequate rainfall, conflict/ displacement, an increase in food prices, and COVID-19 impacts, which resulted in poor food security outcomes for the current period. Even though food stocks and livelihood opportunities are likely to improve, food access will be challenging because of continuously increasing food commodity prices throughout the year. Over the last decade, people in most of the seven analyzed districts have dealt with terrorism and a poor security situation that has resulted in damage to infrastructure and markets, low food and livestock production and poor food consumption. The food security situation was further exacerbated in 2020-21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and high fuel and food prices.