October 31, 2013
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFS&R), Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan on Wednesday said that national food and agriculture policy would be finalised in December which will benefit both farmers and consumers.
“Agriculture policy would be finalised soon, which is aimed at ensuring hunger-free Pakistan along with physical and economic access to nutritious food to all” Bosan said while talking to media after addressing a function organised to mark the World Food Day, celebrations delayed due to Eid holidays on October 16. This year, the theme of the Day was “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.”
The federal minister said that after devolution of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, fixing wheat production target is not related to NFS&R and provinces are responsible to set wheat production target for the next year. Government would also devise a flood strategy to help farmers plan their crop cultivation to minimise damages caused by floods, he said.
Addressing the function, he said that by 2050 there would be need to feed about 9.5 billion people, meaning that we have to feed an additional 2.5 billion people, with less water, arable land and an unstable climate. Asia will be facing critical water scarcity as early as the 2020s and certainly by 2030 while much water that could be used to grow food is now being taken away by cities, the energy sector and other users, he said.
He said that growing population posed a great challenge, so immediate formation of policies is needed to cope with the challenges. “There is need to strengthen national and international solidarity in fight to end huge, malnutrition and poverty as today approximately one billion people are undernourished, one billion are malnourished while another billion are overfed or obese,” he remarked.
Speaking on the occasion, (NFS&R) Seerat Asghar said that there is a dire need to make serious efforts for agriculture development to reduce poverty in rural areas to help overall development of the country. He said that the Ministry was finalising the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy for the country in consultation with the provincial governments which would lead to establishment of Food and Nutrition Security Council (FNSC) at national, provincial and district levels, he said.
Chairman, Pakistan Research Council (PARC), Dr Iftikhar Ahmad said, that there is a need to develop an effective food system to cope with future needs. “Pakistan is third major faster growing population while India’s population would more than double by 2030, so there is need to have some out of the box solutions”, he said. He said that Pakistan has more than 50 percent young population, and 70 percent of these live in rural areas, and by facilitating them, they may help boost agriculture sector. “Scarcity of food brings most wars in terms of `war for food’ while food insecurity was also creating insecurity and leading to terrorism”, he said.
The PARC chairman said that policy makers need to reach to the People and come up with comprehensive policies for the development of agriculture to ensure peace. On the occasion, message from President Mamnoon Hussain was read by Khalid Mahmud Mirza, Joint Secretary (MNFS&R) and message from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was read by Cap. Fariduddin Mustafa (Retd), Deputy Secretary (MNFS&R) highlighting the need for promoting agriculture sector.
Country Representatives of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Patrick Evans and World Food Programme (WFP) Lola Castro read messages on behalf of their heads and highlighted the role of their organisation in ensuring hunger free world. FAO Representative ensured his commitment for the development of agriculture sector in Pakistan. Arif Jabbar Khan, Country Director (OXFAM) speaking on the occasion said that his organisation is the part the steering committee framing agriculture policy. “Education of farmers, provision of training and modern technologies is mandatory for development of agriculture”, he said. Courtesy BR
Agriculture Sector, Agriculture, Agriculture in Pakistan, Food, Food Security, Economy,