In the last three or four years, there has been a sharp rise in food prices in Gujrat, Pakistan, where I live--especially for commonly needed products such as wheat, sugar, vegetables, fruits, and grains.
My neighbors and friends say their incomes can’t keep up with food and oil prices, so they are reducing their daily food intake. Before this food price spike, they ate three times a day, now it’s twice.
Meat is more expensive than milk and bread. Many people say that now they are not in a position to afford meat twice in a week. People are buying cheaper food rather than expensive nutritious items. One of my friends said she loved to eat salads, but now it's rare to enjoy a salad. Some poor people are now in extreme trouble, and they can’t pay the school fees of their children.
Even better-off people are cutting back. One of my friends said that before food was so expensive, she considered herself to be part of the middle income class, and now she is in the lower-income category. Most of her income is used to purchase groceries.
My uncle has diabetes, but has stopped his visits to the doctor. He doesn’t have money for medicine. His money is either spent on food, rent or transportation.
My own family no longer goes to restaurants for lunch or dinner as we once did. We don’t have enough money for recreational activities. We are reducing our expenditures on luxuries, such as jewelry, electronics, dining, traveling, and clothes.
Personally, I buy less fruit despite its nutritional value because it is expensive. Now, I grow food in my backyard. This season I grew garlic, coriander, spinach and radishes.
I’m not growing enough food to provide a full meal for a family of seven. There are other grocery items, such as vegetables, I have to purchase from the market. But since vegetables are expensive, I am planning to grow some of my own soon.
Other neighbors are also growing their own food. It helps them become self-sufficient, and to protect themselves against the surge in food prices. Sometimes, if there is extra crop, they share it with their relatives and neighbors.
People can’t live without food. It’s essential.
In times of high food prices, we should eat as simple and nutritious foods as possible. Places that throw away and waste food should be banned, and the consumption of luxurious food items should be discouraged. How are others coping with high food prices? Do you have innovative solutions?