Pak-US cooperation in agri-sector critical for ensuring food security: Masood Khan

WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (APP): Close cooperation between Pakistan and the United States is critical to ensure food security, especially in the wake of devastating floods that have inundated one-third of the country, Ambassador Masood Khan said Thursday.

“The need to strengthen our cooperation was never as great as it was today to avoid any untoward situation regarding food security in the region,” he said during a meeting with a visiting Pakistani delegation, according to a Pakistan Embassy press release.

The Ukrainian crisis coupled with devastating floods in Pakistan have compounded the issue of food security manifold and thus needed immediate attention,” observed Pakistan’s top envoy to the United States,” the Pakistani envoy added.

The delegation comprised Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM), Shaharyar Ali Khan; SAPM Sheikh Fayyaz Ud Din, MNA, and Chairman of the Standing Committee National Food Security & Research, Rao Muhammad Ajmal Khan; and Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department (P&SHD), Dr. Muhammad Akhtar Malik.

The visiting delegation shared details of their meetings that were aimed at promoting Pak-US bilateral cooperation in the agriculture sector particularly supporting cotton crop with timely availability of BT seeds, the press release said.

The delegation also apprised about their interactions to promote bilateral exchange programs especially enhancing collaboration between agriculture universities and research institutes of the two countries.

Ambassador Masood Khan appreciated the Government and the people of United States for standing beside Pakistan in the aftermath of unprecedented floods that has adversely hit farmers community in particular.

the US has provided $66 million in flood assistance, and $10 million for food security in Pakistan.

“The agri sector of the country was not only supporting a population of 220 million of Pakistan but also catered to the requirements of neighbouring Afghanistan,” the ambassador said.

Masood Khan briefed the delegation about the efforts to promote, strengthen and institutionalize bilateral cooperation and transforming agriculture sector of the country on modern lines with the help of US expertise, according to the press release. He said that University of Agriculture Faisalabad and UC Davis California are already developing weather resistant seeds and on Genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Ambassador Khan assured the delegation of Embassy’s full support in connecting relevant departments and officials with their US counterparts.