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Daily Times

Published Date: Nov 20, 2011


Food rights campaigners Wednesday warned all provincial governments against food price inflation risking increase in empty plates amid fears of addition of 30 million more to the number of those living below poverty line.
“Act now to protect hungry and the poor from food insecurity, food vulnerability, land grabbing, denial of women’s right to land as it has a deep structural nexus with food security. The provinces should legislate to protect right of the people to food and acknowledge women working in fields as farmers,” said the participants of the conference. The stakeholders including farmers’ organizations, women farmers, academia, media and civil society put their demands at the first National Conference on Right to Food jointly organized by FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) Pakistan Group, Journalists for Democracy and Human Rights (JDHR), Actionaid and Oxfam Novib, Dharti campaign, in partnership with Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI), Sustainable Agriculture Action Group (SAAG) and Infochange News and Features Network (INFN). They called upon the governments to control price hike with immediate effect.
Rukhsana Sham who moderated the session said the theme of the conference was ‘Together against Hunger- Ensuring food security through Women’s Right to Land’. They pledged to continue their campaign pressing the governments until their demands are met.
The conference provided chance to women’s farmers to connect with networks of farmers and policy campaigners to ensure that women farmers are mainstreamed in national level networks, their contribution as farmers is acknowledged and the real producers of food have control over their produce for just and equitable distribution of the produce. A new research report ‘Food Price Hike: Empty Plates on Rise’ was also launched at the conference. Others Nourish S. Asia and Grow were introduced.
The women farmers from South Punjab in their testimonies demanded that they should be given land so that they can cultivate their lands and earn their livelihoods.
Speaking on the occasion, Tariq Mehmood from Pakistan Kistan Ittehad called for averting food crisis by stabilizing food production with greater investments in agricultural infrastructure to increase crop production and expand storage facilities, to better ensure grain produced is not wasted and to strengthen social safety nets.
Shafqat Munir, Convener FIAN Group Pakistan said in a country where almost half the population (48.6%) does not have access to sufficient food for active and healthy life, right to food has fast emerged as the most major challenge. Along with the issues of production, it is also a challenge of accountability of food governance and necessitates a mandatory legal framework where people can actually claim this right.
Aalia Amir Ali from National Students Federation (NSF) called upon fighting against capitalism and feudalism to achieve people’s rights.