RAWALPINDI: Federal Minister for Food Security & Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan has said that the food security of the country is directly linked with financial condition of farmers. Prices of food commodities are decreasing apace in the international markets and federal government is committed to ensure this phenomenon doesn’t hurt Pakistani farmers.
He was talking to the media here on Saturday after inaugurating a food festival in Baha-ud-Din Zikriya University. The event was jointly organized by the university, Indus Consortium and Oxfam under GROW campaign.
The federal minister appreciated organizers’ efforts to highlight the concerns of small farmers that play key role in producing food for the country. He said that while understanding the role and contribution in dealing with issue of food security including the challenges posed by climate change in this regard, his ministry is happily willing to join hands with development sector non-governmental organizations. “On behalf of the federal government, I assure the organizers of this campaign of all kinds of knowledge sharing and technological exchanges to redress these issues as national priority”, Mr Bosan added.
To highlight various facts related to food security and to underpin the need of urgent corrective measures, Food Festival presented variety of attractions including the art (drawing) competition among the students of BZU from related academic disciplines i.e. food technology, food stalls arranged by local communities and Sufi music blended with the messages regarding social and food justice and equality. Mohan Bhagat and Sajid Multani, popular folk singers, kept the audience enthralled with their melodious tunes for quite a while.
Prof. Khawaja Alqama, VC of BZU, Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad, vice chancellor of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Dr Shahabuddin Mughal, head of Sindh Development Study Centre, Sindh University Jamshoro and Iqbal Hyder, executive director Indus Consortium participated in the discussion.
Dr Mughal highlighted Pakistan’s commitments in United Nations on food security issues, while Iqbal Hyder said that inorganic food had negative affects over local communities that could be averted if ways to cultivate organic food was adopted.
Ashok Lilani, GROW campaign coordinator was of view that credible recent reports suggest that the hunger in recent years has been witnessed on sharp increase which must be perceived as an alarming phenomenon. Thus, serious and immediate adaptation plans is need of hour.
Shafqat Aziz, Oxfam’s media officer said that according to National Nutrition Survey, around 60 percent of Pakistan’s total population is facing food insecurity, and in these households, almost 50 percent women and children were malnourished, which is of course a disturbing fact.