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Rukhshan Mir

Urdu point Lahore

Published Date: Dec 6, 2018

Food Security amid Climate Change demands uplift of the marginalized: Speakers

The impending issue of food security in the region particularly Pakistan interfaced by climate change, demands uplift and cognizant approach to the marginalized groups namely farmers and labourers associated with agriculture sector in the country.
The impending issue of food security in the region particularly Pakistan interfaced by climate change, demands uplift and cognizant approach to the marginalized groups namely farmers and labourers associated with agriculture sector in the country.
Speaking at an exclusive seminar on ‘The Climate Risk Food Security Analysis’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) under its 21st Sustainable Development Conference and 11th South Asia Economic Summit, the experts deliberated on the idea of food security analysis along with the report launched by United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and SDPI on "The Climate Risk and Food Security Analysis" in collaboration with Ministry of Climate Change here on Thursday.
At the very outset of the discussion, Senior Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) at WFP Cristiano Mandra said the report refers to agro-ecological zoning in Pakistan. The terrain of the country is amongst the major drivers of climate change impact over the land however, which threatens lives, ecosystem, global and national economy, he added.
"Managing the risks is the only solution in the prevailing environmental scenario whereas a large population depends on food production in Pakistan and agriculture is difficult to deal with severe climates," he remarked.
Mandra mentioned that accessibility of available food to the marginalized and vulnerable groups is of utmost significance as it would help in mitigating the malnutrition and food security risk in the country. "According to 2016 statistics of Food Security, Pakistan’s 18 percent population is reported to be undernourished whereas the 2017 data shows the figure ending up at 20 percent. Pakistan’s Vision 2025 is highly ambitious to bring the ratio of 65 percent food security population to 30 percent. The targets set are achievable with well-formed efforts at the same pace," he underscored.
While presenting his recommendations, Cristiano Mandra claimed that the report found to have an update of agro-ecological zones, for climate risk management should follow absorb, adapt and transform strategy.
Executive Director SDPI, Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said that there was no linear solution to food security and climate change therefore all relevant stakeholders and agencies were on board while all participants were encouraged to submit their feedback to develop appropriate proposals for the government in policy making over the food security issue amid climate change.
Dr Amitabh Kudya, an expert from India expressed that it was not only the climate change imposing serious repercussions over agriculture productivity and nutrition rather incompatible procurement policies and government’s priorities also served the purpose. He said that the figures in India revealed decrease in the number of malnutrition in the populace to declined infant mortality rate however, the achievements are not up to the set targets but somehow considerable.
"The farmers in India are agitating due to poor procurement policies and lack of facilities. Instead of complete food production security and adaptation, mitigation measures needs to be addressed whereas from macro level production to micro level distribution also requires due consideration in the process. There is also need of extending the crop insurance scheme to the remote areas along with healthy mid-day also improved child efficacy and nutrition however, National Rural Employment Scheme should be extended to yield propitious outcomes," he said.
Member of National Assembly (MNA) Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Romina Khurshid Alam said climate change is a national issue and all political forces of the country are united on the issue. She said that climate change has manifold impacts on human behavior, lifestyle, food and agriculture alongwith many other linked factors.
"We need to educate our farmer fraternity on modern harvesting patterns and highly productive, capital intensive crop cultivation. The farmers after one harvest consequently prepare for the next crop appears to be problematic as land to needs rest as it might have affects over its yielding efficacy. There is need to provide green finances and maximum assistance to the farmers and unless we are not going to look after the rural population in the process we cannot sustain urban development," she said.
Romina said that there was need to set climate change emergency over the region as climate change is not a territorial issue rather a global concern.
Meanwhile, experts in another dialogue on "Effective Strategies to Combat Extreme Climate Change Impacts in South Asia" mulled over the extreme and mean climate change patterns resulting in abrupt and violent natural disasters occurring in the country.
The experts, stakeholders and students among others actively engaged in the discussion to deliberate diverse opinions for effective policy making by the quarters concerned.