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Achieving Food Security and Nutrition for its Population is a High Priority for the Present Government

Islamabad (July 12, 2017)…… State is constitutionally responsible for provision of basic food to its people. Pakistan has to overcome the great challenges for ensuring food availability, increasing accessibility, improving utilization and maintaining stability to achieve food security in real terms. This was stated by Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research on the occasion of National Food Security Policy Consultative Workshop at NARC. Federal Minister said that through collaboration with provincial, national and international partners; we have been able to deliberate and finalize food security policy document. He said that presently the production of food is more than its requirement across the globe. But unfortunately about 30-40% food is lost during production & post-harvest stages. He said that contribution of all partners in food security policy deliberation was very high and the improvements suggested by the technical groups will help to further fine tune the policy document for forwarding to the cabinet for its approval. Pakistan has made significant progress in food availability over the last several decades. He said that MNFS&R took the initiative to formulate a national agriculture and food security policy. He said that Pakistan also needs to continue to build the resilience of the agriculture sector to climate change risks. He further explained that these challenges could be managed through adopting soil and water conservation technologies, enhanced use of high efficiency irrigation systems, developing drought resistant varieties, and introducing climate smart agriculture. He was confident that valuable suggestions from all stakeholders including provincial partners will help in a great deal to finalize this document for achieving food security and nutritional goals of the country. 
Dr. Yusuf Zafar (T.I), Chairman PARC said that we have achieved the growth rate of 3.46%, which is just close to target of 3.5% and it was 0.2% in 2015-16. He said that this year we had record production of Corn, Sugarcane, Potato and Wheat. This we had never achieved during past 70 years. He explained the reasons like KISSAN package, consistent efforts of the practical farmers and heroic struggle to strive for lowering input costs. He said that proposed food security policy will be another major milestone. Supreme Goal for all activities had to make food system inclusive and resilient. This all we have to achieve in the back drop of rising population, climate change and enhanced food safety standards. For food security all major economies like USA, UK, EU, India kept these sectors under one umbrella. He appreciated that immense efforts have been made day and night by Dr. Muhammad Azeem, DG NARC and his team to have a consensus on policy which must not only be acceptable but owned by every segment of our society. We strongly hope and expect that today’s workshop will put final seal of approval for this pioneering National Food Security Policy to be placed on agenda of Federal Cabinet by our honorable Federal Minister. He said that every one linked with food will get benefits from this Food Security Policy. 
Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan, DG NARC described about food security policy with relevant implementation arrangements. He said that the policy will be presented to the federal cabinet for approval after fine-tuning. He presented all the details for discussion in four technical groups to suggest pragmatic improvements. 
Muhammad Abid Javed, Secretary for National Food Security and Research hoped that implementation of the policy will help to promote value-added food production while creating a new class of agricultural entrepreneurs. He also paid vote of thanks to participants i.e Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, National Agricultural Research Centre, Agricultural Policy Institute; international organizations like FAO, ICIMOD, WFP; and provincial governments for providing valuable input during the whole process of preparing policy document. 
(Shahbaz Maqbool)                                                         Edited by: Muhammad Fiaz Joyia
Director (PR&P) PARC                                                      Director (SI), NARC
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