Speakers call to ensure quality food production
15 October 2021, Islamabad: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) along with Ministry of National Food Security & Research, National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, World Food Program, International Fund for AgriculturalDevelopment and Oxfam celebrated World Food Day (WFD), today, in an auditorium of the NARC, Islamabad under the WFD global theme: Our actions are our future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life. On the occasion, messages from the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan on World Food Day also read out. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R), Syed Fakhar Imam participated as chief guest on the occasion whereas famous celebrity Ms. Humaima Malik participated as World Food Day Ambassador to contribute in this social cause.
WFD is celebrated every year on October 16th– the founding day of the FAO, to raise awareness of the need for supporting the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind. It calls for action across sectors to ensure that our agri-food systems deliver enough affordable, nutritious and safe food for all.
Syed Fakhar Imam while congratulating all stakeholders for organizing WFD event said that we have to adopt an evidence- based approach to policy-making, by considering diverse areas impacting food systems including agriculture, education, environment, water, social protection and finance. There is also dire need to increase awareness about safe and nutritious food, and encourage the stakeholders to produce more nutritious food sustainably, and manage food waste. Government’s farmer friendly and pro-export policies and financial assistance to vulnerable population through social protection programs (Ehsas) has helped them during these hard times of COIVD19 pandemic, he informed.
Ms. Florence Rolle, FAO Representative in Pakistan, the COVID-19 pandemic has off tracked to meet our commitments to end world hunger and malnutrition. Between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger. Nearly 2.37 billion people did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – an increase of 320 million people in just one year. No region of the world has been spared. Conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns (now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic) are major drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition. She further added that in the backdrop of these statistics, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterre sconvened the Food Systems Summit in September 2021 to forge consensus on bold new actions to transform the way the world produces, and consumes food, with an aim to get back on track to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Secretary MNFS&R, Tahir Khursheed said that Pakistan has affirmed its commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as its own national development agenda through a unanimous National Assembly Resolution. IN this context, The Prime Minister of Pakistan has launch Agricultural Emergency Program, having mega projects for productivity enhancement of major crops as well as improvement in livestock and water sector. These projects are focusing on strengthening research activities and providing quality seed of improved varieties, farm machinery and improved production packages to the farmers, he added.
Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Acting Chairman PARC spoke that today we are celebrating 41st World Food Day under the theme “Our actions are our future- better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life”. Overall food self-sufficiency situation in the county is still fragile besides enhanced production of major commodities like wheat, sugarcane, rice etc. The trade deficit in food group has been around US $ 1-2 billion since 2013. Further, total factor productivity and terms of trade also worsened from the year 2000 onwards. The food security challenges have increased manifolds under prevailing scenario of COVID-19 pandemic where international trade, lockdown, closure of manufacturing sector and free movement of transport sector have slowed down drastically. He also added that managing food and fiber security in future is more challenging and demanding than it was in the past keeping in view the quantity and quality of land, water, human labour available.
(Ghulam Shabbir Mirza)
Incharge (PR&P) PARC