Government committed to follow ’ Zero Hunger Vision “ : Food Minister

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 16 (APP):Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan on Tuesday said the government was committed to follow the ‘Zero Hunger vision’ of a world free from hunger, malnutrition and rural poverty. “We are hopeful that zero hunger by 2030 is possible with political will, public participation and the right combination of policies and technical and financial support to the farming communities to increase productivity, minimize losses and improving smallholders’ well being,” the Minister said while addressing a seminar as chief guest on “World Food Day” jointly organized by Ministry of National Food Security Research, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Food Program (WFP) and Oxfam.
The theme for this year World Food Day was “Our Actions are our Future. A Zero Hunger world
by 2030 is possible”. Various organizations including Ministry of National Food Security Research, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Food Program (WFP) ,Oxfam and research institutes came together to organize the ceremony at National Agricultural Research Centre, Islamabad.
The Minister said the country requires an integrated approach for the transformation of food systems and to realize this priority of the incumbent, the government would make sure to take all out measures for the access of food to all the sections of society. He said that it is satisfying that Pakistan has already achieved the self sufficiency in food. The Minister said that wheat is the main staple food of my country men and we have surplus stocks in our reserves. He said that that besides all the constraints to our farming communities,” we are producing huge stocks of agricultural products and ranked among 10 top countries in wheat, chickpea, sugarcane, dates, mango and citrus. Beside this, Pakistan is an exporter of rice.
Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan said the government is committed achieve the goal of ‘Zero Hunger’ in the country and priority to make food available to all and as per the theme of this year’s World Food Day. Soon after assuming the office, Prime Minister Imran Khan has given a guideline of
100 days in which food and agriculture is one of the main priorities, he said.
The Minister further added that the present government has given top priority to uplift agriculture and conserve water in its first 100 days, which will certainly reduce hunger to the zero level in Pakistan by the year 2030. It is now up to everyone including governments, businessmen, civil society, farmers and individuals to join their hands and eradicate hunger in our country, he added.
Messages from the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan were also read out at the ceremony in which the long standing partnership between the government and FAO was highlighted.
FAO representative in Pakistan Ms. Minà Dowlatchahi said, “We all have to continue to play our respective roles for achieving Zero Hunger in Pakistan”. She said that it is encouraging to see Pakistan taking steps in the right direction for reaching this goal. She said the first National Food Security Policy and the Water Policy provide the framework for action, putting emphasis on agriculture diversification and value addition resilient climate smart agriculture and water management, improved livelihoods of small holder farmers and tenants, safe drinking water and a National Zero Hunger Program.”
Federal Secretary National Food Security Hashim Popalzai said that peace, progress and prosperity are greatly linked to the food security in a country. He said that government, researchers, NGOs and communities must join hands to achieve this goal with the help of suitable policies, strategies and actions. The FAO and its partners can play a leading role in this regard and the agriculture researchers should increase their efforts to cope with the emerging challenges of our time like climate change. The climate change adaptation and mitigation has significant importance for poverty reduction, he expressed.
Country Director and representative, United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Pakistan Mr. Finbarr Curran said at the occasion that ending hunger will require investments in agriculture, rural development, nutrition, social protection and gender equality.
Chairman PARC, Dr. Yusuf Zaf, said that the Day is celebrated every year to review, monitor and strengthen our efforts for food security. This year the day is followed by the theme “Our actions are our future; A Zero hunger World by 2030 is possible”. He said that eradicating hunger and malnutrition is one of the great challenges of our time.