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Pakistan Observer

Published Date: Oct 18, 2011


The speakers of a conference on Monday stressed the need of having an effective and responsive food governance mechanisms to ensure equal access to food and to control high food prices in the country. Addressing the event, organized to commemorate the World Food Day, they highlighted food and energy as immediate challenges faced by the country. They said that it is time to invest in agriculture, devising strategy to import food commodities from neighbouring countries at time of higher food prices and to create strategic food grain reserves at national as well as at regional level.
This was discussed during a seminar on ‘Food prices: from crises to stability’ was jointly organized by Oxfam and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. Executive Director, SDPI Dr Abid Q. Suleri recommended to invest more in agriculture sector adding that if it do not happens there will rise of unplanned urbanization involving urban slums due to lack of opportunities in rural areas and agriculture. He urged to enforce effective mechanisms for food prices control at the local level and to deal with hoarding market practices due to fluctuating gaps in demand-supply.
He suggested import of food items at least vegetables from India as trade relations improve due to MFN status. He also recommended free school lunch system in the public school which would ensure at least one-time nutrition food in a day to the children of poor families besides a through assessment of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) to determine the effectiveness of resources invested in this initiative. He also recommended skill trainings, micro-finance and connectivity to local markets for communities in Pakistan.
He also underscored the need of a local government system to control food prices. Appreciating the devolution process, he however lamented that giving ministry of Food and Agriculture under ministry of science of technology would only improve technological aspects of ministry but not the food related issues. He lamented over the shift from an agricultural economy to services sector economy bypassing industrial economy which requires highly literate.