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Workshop brainstorms on National Food Policy




  • A two-day Provincial Consultative Workshop on ‘National Food and Nutrition Security Policy Food’ brainstormed on the basic right of every citizen to have good food and the government steps to ensure fulfillment of the need of nutritious food to every individual here at a local hotel.
    The workshop was jointly organised by Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R), government of Punjab, Four Brothers Pakistan, Seed Organisation Pakistan and Kanzo Seed.
    Addressing the ceremony prominent economist and former finance minister of Pakistan Salman Shah said that public-private partnership (PPP) was very important in the development of agriculture sector of Pakistan and government were striving to involve private sector while facilitating them.
    MNFS&R Federal Secretary Ahmad Bukhsh Lehri 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 utilisation 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 at eradicating hunger from the country. For enhancing food availability, agriculture research organisation 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.
    MNFS&R Additional Secretary Abdul Basit Khan briefed the goals and objectives of the workshop. He said that the MNFS&R 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 NFNSP. The recommendations of the workshop will be shared with all stakeholders and all provinces would be taken on board before a final draft. The federal government is working actively to expedite this process.
    For increasing agricultural productivity, a number of services and support institutions need to be either strengthened or to be created at national, provincial and district levels. The process needs to be started from the top at ministerial level down to the mobilisation of farming communities. All the line research and development ministries, departments and institutions also need to be reformed accordingly. The focus of commodity research needs to be shifted to system perspectives in order to enhance research impacts and income of the farming community.
    Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad said that working groups are determining the evolution process and ascertaining proposals for finalising the draft of NFNSP 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 NFNSP 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 utilisation 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 finalised 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 said that Asia 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. The government should work for the collaboration of PPP for 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 utilisation and nutrition dimension of food security means that food is properly utilised, 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.

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