KARACHI - Economic experts and civil society members expressed grave concerns over the growing food insecurity in Sindh, and warned of a famine in the future should the government fails to develop and implement a post-flood livelihood restoration plan. Presenting their papers at a conference on Floods and Food Security Challenges in Sindh, jointly organised by the Participatory Development Initiatives (PDI) and the Oxfam - an international aid agency - on Saturday, the speakers laid stress on outlining a plan to match the growing human needs. Economist and researcher Dr Shahida Wizarat said that according to a recent study, 48.6 per cent Pakistanis were faced with food insecurity. She said that this percentage had increased after the floods in 2010 and 2011. Out of 130 districts, 80 are food insecure, among them 45 extremely. She said that the incidence of food poverty was higher in rural areas (35 per cent) than urban areas (26 per cent). She said that the recent floods had increased food insecurity levels in rural Sindh. She criticised the governmental policies of encouraging corporate farming and cultivation of genetically modified crops as an answer to the growing food insecurity. She was of the view that corporate farming would increase food insecurity by turning small peasants into landless agricultural workers. She demanded that a national food security policy be prepared to face the challenge of food insecurity. She opined that all cultivable land of the government that was not under water, should be immediately distributed to poor flood-affected communities in Sindh for self-cultivation to prevent the threat of a famine-like situation. Economic expert Prof Mohammed Ismael Kumbhar criticised the governments for their failure to provide adequate relief to the flood-stricken people, saying they were facing severe food insecurity and even deaths were reported due to hunger. Dr Fateh Mohammed Marri said that women were the worst-hit in the floods. Sadiqa Sahaluddin said it was a matter of serious concern that those rural farmers in Sindh who were responsible for food security of even urban areas were now themselves facing food insecurity. She expressed concerns on the fact that due to the failure of the government and international humanitarian organisations to provide proper relief to the flood-hit communities, a large number of religious extremist organisations had spread in every nook and corner of Sindh, setting up their offices and madarsas to preach their ideologies. PDI Executive Director Sikander Brohi blamed the flawed early warning systems of the government and its decision not to allow international aid agencies to support the flood-victims in the initial days for the large scale destruction in the province. He said the governments relief distribution system was flawed as political favouritism and corruption was rampant in the system. The relief provision is being used as a political tool, he alleged.