Published Date: Jan 21, 2021
Need Holistic Approach To Be Responded Effectively: Speakers
ISLAMABAD, (APP – UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 22nd Jan, 2021 ) :Ensuring food security is one of the most pressing issues during the time of global pandemic. Holistic approach at every level needs to be in place to respond to this critical challenge of the day effectively. The experts in food security and agriculture sector from public and private sector as well as academia, said this while sharing their views with the participants of webinar ‘Ensuring Food Security in constrained economic situation of Pakistan’, organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), here on Friday.
Chairman, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan, has emphasized on the need of integrated approach towards ensuring food security in the country. Food security is directly linked with the national security, he said while adding that we need to improve the quality of our agricultural products as well as climate change resistant to boost our trade in this sector.
“Scientific research and use of technology as joint Public-private ventures is imperative to respond to new challenges,” Dr Khan said. He also emphasized on the need of contextual production and improving the seed system to counter the rust attack and pests.
Dr Hamid Jalil, Member Food Security, Climate Change and Nutrition, Planning Commission, highlighted the fact that food security requires a long-time plan and thus, the ministry we have made a National Food Security Agenda which outlines the long-term policies of food security.
He added further that a team of expert is being sought to regulate all the existing bodies. Besides, bringing reforms to make our production more sustainable. revamping agriculture research. cotton revival programme. disease eradication and facilitating small holder agriculture sector are some of the focused areas, he concluded.
Dr Abid Qaiyum Sulehri, Executive Director, SDPI, while covering different aspects of the topic, said that food security in these times of economic constraint is one of the major threats to the humanity.
Since March 2020 when the civid-19 was declared a global pandemic, food shortage in Pakistan has exacerbated by it. Primitive methods of agriculture, guesstimates-based data, administrative failures which resulted in hoarding and the climate change which has been affecting our crops and their production are some of the major contributing factors here.
“A food security dashboard has been established at the PM office with data and statistics of each district available on to accurately guess the trends in supply and demands at first hand,” Dr Sulehri informed the panelists and added that the Chinses government has appointed an agricultural commissioner in Pakistan under the banner of the second phase of CPEC, which is a heartening development.
Food System Expert Dr Zafar Mehmood, was of view that we must control the large amount of wastage in our eating habits and through a behavioral change. Moreover, we need to work on the nutritional value of the foods and curb the trend adulteration in the country.
Public Health Specialist and Nutritionist Dr Nomina Anees, on the occasion opined that we need to work on piecemeal approach which needs to be community based, especially by including women. Qasim Ali Shah, Deputy Executive Director, SDPI, said the economic access to the food is one of the major issues which has always been overlooked. He was of the view that joblessness due to the pandemic has further exacerbated this issue and it is unfortunate that 68 percent of our population is unable to access balanced food in Pakistan.
Ms Aaliya Habib; Project Manager, SUNCSA, apprised the panelists about the SUN endeavors in ensuring a healthy and nutritious food. She said that a multi-sectoral approach and a joint public-private venture can ensure food security in the country. Earlier, Shahid Minhas from SDPI, highlighted the importance of ensuring food security and balanced nutritious diet.