Pakistan ‘crop shortage’ warning
By M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad
Lowering wheat prices would create food shortages in Pakistan and encourage smuggling, officials say, responding to criticism from the UN.
On Wednesday the UN’s food relief agency said the government set prices too high and malnutrition was rising.
But an official at Pakistan’s food ministry told the BBC farmers would simply switch to more lucrative crops if wheat prices went down.
Devastating floods across Pakistan in 2010 damaged acres of arable land.
Although crop yields in 2011 are projected to be healthy, prices are too high for an impoverished population, the director of the UN’s World Food Programme told journalists on the sidelines of humanitarian meetings in Geneva on Wednesday.
“The crop outlook is not bad but the food security situation remains difficult because prices remain so high,” Wolfgang Herbinger said.
Malnutrition levels in the southern province of Sindh had reached 21% to 23%, according to the WFP.
“That is well above African standards. The emergency standard is 15%,” Mr Herbinger said. …
Read more : BBC