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The News

Published Date: Nov 3, 2013

ActionAid debate on food policy draft

ActionAid
Pakistan and Oxfam GB Pakistan jointly organised National Debate on
‘National Food and Nutritional Policy Draft’, prepared by Ministry of
National Food Security and Research.

The debate aimed
at bringing stakeholders together to consolidate civil society
recommendations about the draft. Government, media and civil society
members and representatives of small holding farmers expressed their
views and concerns on agriculture-related issues.

The
issues that were voiced by the farmer representatives included water
related problems, land grabs, hindrances caused by middle-men, lack of
seeds and poor communication linkages with the markets.

Speaking
on the occasion Seerat Asghar, Secretary Ministry of National Food
Security and Research, emphasised that ensuring food security is
government’s priority and that the Ministry is welcoming recommendations
from all key stakeholders to ensure that the policy covers all relevant
issues. He said that we all need to collectively realise that
development of Pakistan mainly depends on agriculture and we need to
work on it.

Based on the analysis of ‘Food Legislation in
South Asia and its Link with Food Security,’ a research, undertaken by
Oxfam and SDPI, it can be said that through enactment of different
legislation and launching different plans and programmes from time to
time, the Government of Pakistan was taking different steps to ensure
food security for its citizens. However, food insecurity is becoming an
emerging challenge for the country due to food inflation despite ample
staple food crops production.

Some of the key
recommendations formulated include that there should be more emphasis on
farmer-led initiatives and the policy should speak about inflation and
food price volatility, addressing the issue of land grabbing and land
degradation.

The report said that the effects of climate
change should be very well integrated in the policy ensuring
availability of seeds and provision of adequate water should also be
included together with access to credit, market and extension services.