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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Feb 5, 2014

Experts for review of agricultural policy

Experts have questioned the draft of a government policy
on agriculture which, according to them, fails to highlight food
security in the country and demanded a review.

The document recently launched by the Ministry of Food Security and
Research, “is not scientifically centred and lacks an analytical
framework and strategic prioritisation,” said Innovative Development
Strategy Executive Director Dr Sohail Jahangir Malik.

The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) had organised the
consultative meeting on “Agricultural and Food Security Policy” at a
local hotel on Tuesday.

Malik urged the government to review the entire policy framework to integrate different aspects of food security.

He said there was a need to bridge the gap between policies and their
implementation. The non-accessibility of funds and resources for the
poor should also be integrated in the document, he remarked.

SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri appreciated the federal
government’s efforts to draft the policy document. However, he
disclosed some missing links including limited focus on enhancing
production, sustainable irrigation, water availability and its efficient
use. Moreover, no concrete governance measure had been suggested.

Dr Azmat Hayat from the Pakistan Meteorological Department demanded
education and financial assistance for farmers. According to him,
adaptation and mitigation policies should also be designed.

Dr Abdul Salam from the Agricultural Prices Commission demanded enhancement in the provinces’ capacity to resolve issues.

Participants discussed and identified major problem areas for food
access and utilisation and to a larger extend of food sustainability,
which are not addressed in the current draft. Without this, one cannot
cover all aspects of food security.

Participants included members from academia, research community, human rights activists and development practitioners.