Sindh is one of the provinces in Pakistan with the highest prevalence of food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty. In 2020, the population faced multiple shocks including high food prices, locust outbreaks and heavy monsoon rains/flooding, all exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 3.1 million people (26 percent 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 of March to June 2021, corresponding to the end of the lean season and the beginning of the harvest season. These include around 2.26 million people (19 percent of the rural population) in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and 0.8 million people (7 percent of the rural population) in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) across the nine districts analysed. At least 5 percent of the population analysed in all the districts is in Phase 4, and between 15 to 30 percent in IPC 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 IPC Phase 3 or above is expected to reduce to 2.6 million (22 percent of the rural population). Urgent action is required to protect livelihoods and reduce food consumption gaps of people in Crisis and save lives and livelihoods of people in Emergency.
High Food Prices
Nationally, food prices went up by 9.1 percent for rural consumers on a year-over-year basis in February 2021.
Inflation, high food prices of commodities coupled with loss of employment and reduced income due to COVID-19 related restrictions reduced household purchasing power, particularly for low income groups e.g., small farmers, wage labors, households relying on petty trades, etc.
Most of the districts are heavily reliant on agriculture where locust infestation was experienced, that adversely affected food crop and fodder production.
The majority of the households were also affected by heavy rains/flooding that affected agriculture crop production.