Country Nutrition Situation

Pakistan continues to suffer from high rates of chronic and acute malnutrition. The National Nutrition Survey1(NNS 2011) shows persistently high levels of stunting (low height for age) at 44%, Wasting (low weight for height) 15% and Underweight (low weight for age) 32%. Micronutrient deficiencies for iron, zinc and vitamins A and D deficiency are widespread among preschool children and women of reproductive age; particularly in pregnant women 50.5% of the non-pregnant and 51% of pregnant women are haemoglobin deficient. 19.9% of the total non-pregnant women and 25.9% of the total pregnant women are suffering from iron deficiency anaemia. 43.1% of the non-pregnant and 48.8 % of pregnant women have Vitamin A deficiency while 41.6% of the non-pregnant and 48.3 % of pregnant women are zinc deficient. Deficiency of Vitamin D in Pakistan is widespread with 85.1% of non-pregnant and 86.1% of pregnant women being vitamin D deficient.


Muhammad Usman Ali

SBN Consultant GAIN Pakistan

Governance structure

SBN Pakistan is governed by Executive Committee (ExCom), comprises of thirteen SUN Business Network members from private sector elect through an inclusive, coordinated, and phased process. Four representatives from the Advisory Group (SUN Focal Point/Chief Nutrition, WFP, NI, and GAIN) are also members of the ExCom. The aim is for businesses to lead and sustain the engagement in SBN, while the advisory group collectively undertake the responsibility to guide and support the ExCom under the overall supervision of National SUN Secretariat

What is SBN doing in Pakistan

SUN Business Network is the key SUN network at global as well as country level which aims to harness business expertise and apply its strengths and comparative advantages to improve nutrition in the country. It will support and encourage private sector businesses to develop and incorporate combination of nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions in their business operations. It is also expected that SUN Business Network Pakistan would be the principal vehicle for business engagement, both in informing the ongoing policy, advocacy and knowledge sharing agenda and in tracking the commitments program investments of businesses in support of SUN and national nutrition strategies.

In today’s business environment, more and more businesses are recognizing that food and nutrition security is intrinsically linked to business growth, performance, and sustainability. Identifying ways to align the core commercial priorities and investments of a wide spectrum of businesses across many different sectors with national nutrition goals is increasingly important for SUN countries. Major activity focuses on addressing malnutrition through establishing a dialogue between businesses and other development actors in nutrition, developing partnerships and encouraging innovation. Pakistan is one of the priority countries selected by the global SUN Business Network Secretariat for a country level business network.

As part of process, SUN Business Network Pakistan has presented a ‘Business Engagement Strategy’ to the members of SBN in August 2015. It is a roadmap for engaging businesses in improving nutritional outcomes in Pakistan by involving all relevant stakeholders. It also provided guidance to the businesses on policy and strategic environments and outlining strategic development & recommendations in key thematic areas. In 2022 the SBN Strategy 3.0 has been finalized that is aligned with the SUN Movement Strategy 3.0. Both of these strategies are the guiding documents for all country level SBN documents.

The network’s BES broadly covers three areas:

Focus Business engagement on key national priorities and thematic areas;
Enhancing business engagement through the establishment of effective coordination mechanisms;
Develop prioritized road maps/investment plans and advocate for adequate resourcing.
In terms of specific activities, SBN Pakistan has:

    • 1 Platform to Businesses: SBN Pakistan provides forums for business to engage government, civil society, UN agencies and donors. The SBN members also advocate for a change in market incentives for businesses to scale up nutrition
    • 2 Workforce Nutrition: SBN Pakistan supports SMEs to design and implement workforce nutrition programs. SBN Pakistan provide technical assistance to the SMEs, and it also created an animated Urdu video, which highlights the benefits of the Nutrition at Work (NAW) programme. The Technical Assistant programme also aims to implement the Nutrition at Work (NAW) Handbook, which is available in English and Urdu.
  • 3Online Training/Learning Portal: This is the Pakistan’s first and only nutrition-focused online learning portal for the capacity building of food businesses especially SMEs ( Watch TalkNutrition to learn more about SBN Pakistan’s online learning portal. SBN Members can access these trainings free of cost.
  • 4Nutribiz Challenge: Each year, SBN initiated a Nutribiz Challenge to identify innovative nutrition sensitive SMEs that can provide scalable, inspiring, disruptive and investable solutions in the realms of food system.
  • 5Support and Assistance to SMEs: SBN Pakistan asses what support businesses need to act and invest in nutrition. After the assessment it facilitates the SMEs in establishing partnerships with multinational companies and global businesses to support the technical assistance, finance and business development service needs of national SBNs in the areas of demand creation, access and promotion of market incentives, rules and regulations to encourage the production and consumption of nutritious and safe food.