Assessing Perceptions of the Households-heads Regarding Food Security Status in Drought-hit Areas of District Tharparkar, Sindh, Pakistan: A Case Study for Agricultural Extension
Nadeem Abbas Shah1*, Ejaz Ashraf1, Hafiz Khurram Shurjeel2, Zaheer ud Din Mirani3, Usman Rafique1 and Raees Abbas Shah4
According to the census of 2017, the population of Pakistan has exceeded 220 million. Most of the population depends on agriculture to earn their livings and to meet the desired level of food security. Despite all the progress the country has made so far, its population combating with the threat of food insecurity. Tharparkar, (the largest desert area not only in Pakistan but also in the South Asian region) is considered at the front line district in the country about food insecurity and malnourishment. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of the respondents for ongoing food security status in the district of Tharparkar, Sindh-Pakistan and to highlight the role of extension service delivery organizations in the area. District Tharparkar is the most vulnerable area in the country for food insecurity. Tharparkar has four tehsils such as Mithi, Diplo, Chachro and Nangerparkar. Out of four tehsils, one tehsil Mithi was selected purposively. A well- structured questionnaire and key informant interview guide were used for data collection. Collected data were analyzed by statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). According to the results of the survey, the majority of the respondents perceived that factors such as global warming and climate change, unproductive land, depleting water resources, unavailability of drought-tolerant crop varieties, lack of health facilities, lack of awareness for food security measures, lack of Extension services in the area, limited income resources, and insufficient information for food security were the main factors cause food insecurity in the study area. The results further described the strategies adopted by respondents in the study area to combat food insecurity were the construction of water storage facilities, reliance on animals’ food products, kitchen gardening, reuse of preserved food and other products, migration to food secure areas and reduced number of meals eaten in a day. It is recommended that government should focus on education, employment opportunities, development of natural resources for producing food secure crops and start awareness movements among the inhabitants of Tharparkar to revitalize the status of food security in the study area.