High food prices, drought, reduced income due to COVID-19, and livestock diseases or deaths are driving food insecurity in Balochistan
Balochistan is marked with a high prevalence of food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty. In 2021, the food security situation further deteriorated because of high food and fuel prices, drought, livestock diseases and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 0.86 million people (25 percent of the rural population analysed) are estimated to be in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and Phase 4 (Emergency) in the current period (October 2021-March 2022), corresponding to the planting/lean season. These include around 0.68 million people (20 percent of the rural population) in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and around 0.17 million people (5 percent of the rural population) in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) across the nine districts analysed. All districts, except Nushki, have at least 5 percent of their population in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency), and most of the districts have a population of 20-35 percent in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or 4 (Emergency). Urgent action is therefore required to protect livelihoods and reduce food consumption gaps of people in Crisis and Emergency phases of food insecurity.
Out of nine analysed districts, eight districts, namely Chagai, Kech, Kharan, Killa Abdullah, Loralai, Panjgur, Pishin and Washuk are classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis), whereas Nushki is classified in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed). The analysis of the projection period (April-June 2022), corresponding to the harvest season of winter crops and sowing season of summer crops, indicates that the number of people in Crisis and Emergency phases is expected to increase slightly to 0.92 million from 0.86 million (27 percent of the analysed rural population). The area phase classification of all nine analysed districts remain unchanged; eight districts are classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) while one district is classified in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed), as in the current period.
The analysed districts experienced multiple shocks that include drought, increase in food and fuel prices associated with the COVID-19 impacts, and livestock diseases, which resulted in poor food security outcomes for the current period. Although a slight improvement in food stock and livelihood opportunities will likely occur in the projection period, food access will likely continue to be a challenge, with rising food prices offsetting any positive impacts.