Over the years, abilities of the rural poor in Pakistan to provide their own food have been steadily eroded as a result of chronic droughts and floods due to the changing climate. With reduced yield, food prices at local markets skyrocket becoming too expensive for families to afford. Islamic Relief Pakistan takes a tailored approach to address communities’ needs and harness their unique resources, boosting agricultural production, jump-starting local markets, and supporting small businesses. These efforts enhance sustainable sources of food and income while strengthening local food systems.
Women at the forefront
Our programmes focus on women first as they are most likely to suffer from food insecurity. At the same time, women are leading food producers in many rural parts of the country. Women who participate in household decisions produce and earn more; women also reinvest as much as 90% of their income back into their families, helping to improve health, nutrition, and more.
In a small district in Khyber, Simla dreamt of financial independence and a better future for her family. Cultural norms restricted women from working outside, but Simla was determined to change that. She discovered the Kitchen Gardening programme and it became her passion.
“I grew 12 different vegetables at home using a drip irrigation system to save water.”
Simla’s hard work paid off. Her home farm started producing enough vegetables for her family, and she didn’t stop there.
“After three years, I had extra potatoes and onions. I sold them in the local market and earned a decent amount. I’m proud because I earned that money.”
Breaking societal norms, Simla became a self-reliant woman, celebrating her newfound freedom to live life on her own terms.
Simla’s children after helping their mother in the kitchen garden
For us, tackling the root causes of poverty often means addressing the water-related inequality. We’re carrying out long-term projects with sustainable solutions to provide safe water and sanitation and to address water insecurity through fairer and more efficient management and distribution of water resources.
Coping Climate Change
Global food insecurity had already been rising, due in large part to climate phenomena. Global warming is influencing weather patterns, causing heat waves, heavy rainfall, and droughts. According to The World Bank, rising food commodity prices in 2021 were a major factor in pushing approximately 30 million additional people in low-income countries like Pakistan toward food insecurity.
At the same time, the way that food is often produced today is a big part of the problem. It’s recently been estimated that the global food system is responsible for about a third of greenhouse gas emissions—second only to the energy sector; it is the number one source of methane and biodiversity loss.
Coming Up with GREEN Solutions
Realizing the need for adapting to climate change, we introduced sustainable solutions for the agricultural communities.
We trained farmers to use water more efficiently and effectively, combined with advocating for policies to manage demand. In addition to that, we introduced less-thirsty crops in Balochistan where water is already scarce. For example, rice farmers switching to crops that require less water such as maize or legumes.
With the help of our partners, donors and supporters, we are stepping up support for climate-smart agriculture across the agriculture and food value chains and via policy and technological interventions to enhance productivity, improve resilience, and reduce emissions.