Food is the basic right of every citizen and Government is ensuring necessary steps to fulfill the need of nutritious food to every individual. It was said by Salman Shah, a prominent Economist & former Finance Minister of Pakistan while addressing a two days Consultative Provincial Workshop on National Food and Nutrition Security Policy held at a local hotel here in Lahore. He further said that Public-Private Partnership is very important in the development of Agri sector of Pakistan and Government is striving to involve Private sector while facilitating them. Program was jointly organized by MNFS&R, Govt of Punjab, Four Brothers Pakistan, Seed Organization Pakistan, Kanzo Seed and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).
While talking on the occasion, Mr. Ahmad Bukhsh Lehri, Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R) said that Pakistan can significantly move forward to solve national food and nutritional security problems of million of Pakistani households by formulating and adopting rational agriculture and national food policies. He said the government gives high priority to achieving food security in the country. “Food security requires addressing the key areas of sustainable food availability, sustainable access to food, food utilization and nutrition, stability in food prices/supplies, food and nutrition information systems; monitoring and evaluation and food safety, he added. He added that Pakistan needs to focus on all these issues on a sustainable basis in the long run. He said the Ministry has already started working on “Zero Hunger Action Plan” that aims eradicating hunger from the country. For enhancing food availability, agriculture research organization in Pakistan such as PARC, in collaboration with provincial agriculture research institutes and centers are working hard in developing new technologies and improving the existing ones”, he added. Core objective of the policy is to reduce the current food insecurity situation.
Abdul Basit Khan, Additional Secretary (MNFS&R) briefed the goals and objectives of the workshop. He said that the Ministry of National Food Security & Research has initiated consultative process in all provinces in collaboration with the Provincial Governments and other stakeholders for formulation of National Food and Nutrition Security Policy (NFNSP) intending to counter the food insecurity in the country. He further added that the present Government for the first time has tried to introduce the Food and Nutrition Security Policy. The recommendations of the workshop will be shared with all stake holders and all provinces would be taken on board before a final draft. Federal Government is working actively to expedite this process.
Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) while addressing the workshop said that working Groups are determining the evolution process and ascertaining proposals for finalizing the draft of National Food and Security Policy in the country. He hoped that valuable suggestions will help the authorities to formulate a radical and meaningful policy to cope the issue of food security in the country. He said that National Food and Nutrition Security Policy is aimed at provision of food who are in real need with increased agriculture produce. He said that four main policy features are sustainable Food availability, Food Accessibility, Food utilization and Nutrition and Stability in food supplies. The aim of the policy would be that all Pakistanis should have access to nutritious food having a healthy and active life at all times. He said that the policy is being finalized on the direction of Prime Minister and Standing Committee.
The specific aims of this Policy are to establish the vision and institutional structures which will allow the Ministry to facilitate a process involving Federal and Provincial authorities, including Ministries, Departments, development partners, civil society and private sector through new establishment of a Food and Nutrition Security Council at national, provincial and district levels. In addition, mechanisms to prepare programmes and to monitor food and nutrition security are recommended.
Agro-Livestock expert, Dr Hamid Jalil on the occasion said that Aisa is able to lead the food resources in the world and Pakistan is able to lead Asia, the only thing is planning for poor farmers who do not know how to cultivate and what to cultivate. Government should work for the collaboration of Public-Private Partnership for the better productivity.
According to the proposed draft of agriculture policy, access to food implies whether individuals and households are able to access the required food. The new policy also stresses physical, social and economic access to adequate food at all times. Food utilization and nutrition dimension of food security means that food is properly utilized, proper food processing and storage techniques are employed, adequate knowledge of nutrition and childcare techniques exist are applied.
The new policy also stresses that every individual must have adequate and nutritious food that is accessible at the required time in useable farm. There is a need to improve food security management during disasters. A number of measures need to be taken in due course, including promoting coordinated approach for disaster preparedness and management, to ensure allocation of adequate resource to disaster management and improve system of assessing possibilities of a shock.
Javed Qureshi, Chairman Four Brothers, SDPI Chief, Abid Qium Solehri, Member Agricultue Planning Commision, Javed Malik, renowned Agriculturists and other stakeholders also participated in the program.