THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Combating Nutrient Deficiency in Pakistan
To quantify the micronutrient deficiencies and their overtimetrends, food quantities reported to be consumed in HIES surveys dataduring 1991-92 and 2011-12 are converted into major and micronutrientsusing the FAO Food Composition Table for Pakistan. To see the impact ofdifferent price and income support policies on micronutrientconsumption, nutrient demand elasticities are estimated for 2011-12 forcarbohydrates (energy), protein, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitaminB1, vitamin B2, and Niacin. The Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS) isapplied to estimate the demand elasticities of the eight food groupswhich are then converted into nutrient demand elasticities using thetransformation of Hunag (1996). On average, per capita consumptions ofalmost all micronutrients are deficient compared to their respectiverecommended levels. Our analysis suggest that income support to the poorin Pakistan through programmes like BISP would have been much moreeffective to eradicate nutrient deficiency, if deficient nutrient(s) aretargeted and support is provided to those foods having highest demandelasticity for that nutrient. For example, the promotion of wheat andother cereals are important to eradicate energy deficiency, andpromotion of vegetables, fruits, and milk are particularly important ineradicating vitamin A, C and iron deficiencies. These commodities arealso high value crops for farmers, thus the price support in these cropswill also impact micronutrient consumption through incomeeffect.