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News Pakistan

Published Date: Mar 21, 2012

PM GILANI INAUGURATES THE NATIONAL ZERO HUNGER PROGRAM, ANNOUNCES ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR FOOD SECURITY

Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has inaugurated the ‘National Zero Hunger Program’ aimed at attaining food security and reducing malnourishment in Pakistan. He also announced establishment of ‘National Council for Food Security’, comprised of representatives of federal and provincial governments, private sector and civil society.
Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani was chairing the concluding session of six days strategic national workshop on “Food Security in Pakistan: Future Challenges and Coping Strategies” organized by Ministry of National Food
Security and Research and supported by the UN World Food Programm (WFP), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and  OXFAM. The workshop was organized to produce a set of guidelines and frameworks for National Zero Hunger Action Program and the operational strategy of the newly created Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani said, he is delighted over unveiling of National Zero Hunger Program and assured that this programme would not duplicate what the provincial departments are doing, rather it will facilitate and support
the efforts of federating units in fulfilling the vital goal of food secure Pakistan. He said ensuring right to food for people of Pakistan is his personal commitment and also that of Pakistan People Party  and that he hold himself accountable to this fundamental human right. He directed to formulate a unified consistent policy of coordination aimed at energy security, water security and food security. PM Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani also quoted surveys carried out by SDPI and WFP that reveals that 45 disticts, spread in all provinces are extremely food insecure and that is the target group which requires immediate attention.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani also highlighted some of the extraordinary achievements in agricultural production in last four years of this government.  He said, wheat production has reached its highest level of 25 millions tons, with an exportable surplus and country is now recognized as net wheat exporting country. Sugar production is at record 63 million tons, and for the fist time, Pakistan is exporting 5 million tons of Sugar. He also highlighted success in cotton and rice
crops and added that challenge now is to generate consistent economic surpluses for long term stability and sustainable human development that cannot be achieved without ensuring food security for all.
Shafqat Hussain Nagmi, Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research shared the details of ‘National Zero Hunger Program’ that implies coordinated approach with several ministries to attain food security and reduce malnutrition in the country. He said programme will reach to 12 million food insecure people in one year which are 20 percent of total affected population with a cost of US 1.04 billion dollar, of which 200 million is sanctioned by government of Pakistan while
rest will be contributed by donors and other sources of funding. He said in five years. a total of 61 million  people will be reached with total cost of 16 billion dollars.
Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research Shafqat Hussain Nagmi, also signed a MoU with Jean-Luc Siblot, Country Representative, World Food Programme (WFP), for collaboration on Zero Hunger Programme.
Jean-Luc Siblot, Country Representative, World Food Programme (WFP) and Dr. Kevin Gallagher applauded the government of Pakistan for establishing Ministry of Food Security ministry at federal level and serious efforts in devising
zero hunger programme to reduce hunger.
On the occasion,  in an earlier session, Dr. Abid Qayum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, and the author of food insecurity in Pakistan 2009, spoke on ‘Food Security and Societal Fabric’ and deliberated that food security and hunger
are not just a humanitarian issue but a threat to national security as well. He explored the links between individual, national, regional, and global securities, and argued that ignoring the individual’s security can compromise security of state. He shared findings of SDPI studies that reveal that the chronic food insecure districts of Pakistan are most disturbed by violence and militancy such as in FATA and Balochistan. He expressed that high prevalence of food insecurity has intensified extraordinary behavior such as giving rise to suicides, suicide attacks, selling of children and millitancy. He was of the view that  to address the social dimensions of food insecurity, a paradigm shift is required that moves away from national defence and toward investing in individual security by strengthening the fabric of society, our communities, infrastructure, economies, health, and social systems.
Dr. Inayat of Ministry of Food Security briefed participants on recommendations of workshop recommendations on policy and linked institutions, food security and nutrition monitoring, applied research, direction setting, value chain,marketing & investor interface Neva Humaira Khan, Country Director, OXFAM said that global food system is under intense pressure from myriad of climatic, agricultural and demographic forces. She said, warning signs for future food supply problems are present in the rising cost of food that is forecasted to more than double by 2030 and reach prices between 70 to 90 percent higher than 2010 costs.