ISLAMABAD17 October — Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister of National Food Safety and Research, said the Prime Minister had approved a Rs 26 billion package for the construction of a physical infrastructure in the coming years to address the threat posed by to control pests for the crops. .
He said the government had imported wheat to overcome the shortfall of 1.7 million tonnes and that it would arrive in Pakistan by January 2021.
He said this while sharing his views with the participants in the webinar entitled ‘Build Back Better’, organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Saturday.
The webinar was held in connection with World Food Day, reads a press release.
Syed Fakhar Imam added that the private sector has also started importing wheat and that this will further alleviate the problem.
The prime minister’s five-year plan of R277 million and the Covid-19 50 million fiscal package programs for farmers as a subsidy for seeds and fertilizers will also encourage producers.
The government will encourage and support the smallholder farmers by providing timely information regarding seeds and climate fluctuations.
Syed Fakhar Imam said that measures will ensure a fair return of their products and improve the quality of life of the people of Pakistan by providing safe and nutritious food to all at reasonable prices.
On the occasion, Ms. FAO head of state Mina Dowlatchcahi said the agricultural sector is currently facing two threats that include the threat of climate change, and the other is a plague attack. According to her, the recent pandemic exposed the fragility of our agriculture.
She added that almost 58% of the world power in agriculture consists of women who are more vulnerable to health diseases.
Therefore, we need to devise short- to medium- and long-term plans to address this issue. She stressed the needs of economic inclusion and social protection of the most vulnerable class. Along with food security, she said we also need to work on comparing the availability of safe food and the use of food.
Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, executive director of SDPI, said in his remarks that the recent inflation is due to the depreciation of Pakistan’s rupee against the dollar, the gaps in the government’s agricultural and food security policies, and the unavailability of new types of seeds that are compatible with changing environment and pest attacks.
“There is an urgent need to support the rural economy and the agricultural sector because it not only ensures food security but also provides jobs,” he added.
Dr Suleri said and the importance of having credible data on the different crops’ production and consumption. He said it was inevitable for a policy and to make evidence-based decisions.
Me. Rabia Sultan, Director Farmers’ Association, was of the opinion that we should have a holistic approach ranging from the production of staples to the import of edible oil.
The climate change patterns need to be taken very seriously, and the intervention of technology is inevitable to adapt to climate change, the attack of pests and plant diseases such as yellow rust.
Vice-Chancellor of Nawaz Sharif Agriculture University Multan, Dr Muhammad Asif, stressed the importance of plant foods and the gap between food production and nutrition in Pakistan. He said we need to increase our production diversity and nutritional diversity.
Farhan Khan, head of the Italian International Organization (CESVI), told participants that his organization was working to reduce the overall impact of disasters and emergencies such as the Covid-19 on agriculture and food security.
He said there are millions of people worldwide who do not have access to safe and nutritious. It is therefore our joint responsibility to work to provide a suitable food supply for all.