FAO’s Regional Conference held to address COVID-19’s impacts

FAO’s Regional Conference held to address COVID-19’s impacts

ISLAMABAD, Sep 5 (APP): The 35th session of the Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC 35), organized by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations concluded successfully at Bhutan.

The conference aimed at regional priorities and pressing issues such as COVID 19, the state of agriculture, natural resources management, food security and nutrition, said a press release issued here.

Representing Pakistan at the Ministerial Session of the Regional Conference, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research, Syed Fakhar Imam said, “During these difficult times of COVID-19 and locust invasion, we are trying to sustain particularly those people living below the poverty line.”

With the efforts of the current government, he said there have been transformations in policies like upgrade and digitalize agro-technology and carried out the best practices as being followed in the advanced countries.

The minister suggested that increase in agricultural productivity could happen when policies are framed, which will benefit the farming community.

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“We want to bring a better balance between different sectors of the economy manufacturing agriculture and the service sectors,” said Mr. Fakhar Imam.

The FAO 35th Regional Conference has provided a valuable virtual platform for Members to exchange their views, knowledge and experience in addressing food security and nutrition challenges amidst COVID19 pandemic, to identify Regional priorities, new ways of working and collective actions to accelerate progress towards the eradication of poverty (SDG1) and hunger and all forms of malnutrition (SDG 2).

Mina Dowlatchahi, Country Representative FAO in Pakistan, said that the government of Pakistan has actively contributed by sharing perspectives of its development strategy.

“Pakistan is targeting population below the national poverty line, and small holder farmers agriculture transformation by agro-ecological zones, in an effort to contain the combined impacts of COVID-19 on food systems, climate hazards and the recent Desert Locust national emergency in a slowing down economy”, she said.

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Several participants, including representatives from Pakistan, conveyed interest in and support for the organization’s current key initiatives such as Hand-in-Hand. Others acknowledged the important role innovation and technologies could play in improving food production and security.

The conference is also addressing and highlighting examples of partnerships, innovation and digital technologies that are helping to improve food security and nutrition across the region as well as regional and global policy and regulatory matters.

On the third day of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia-Pacific, the FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, Government Ministers as well as civil society and private sector representatives voiced concern over COVID-19’s impacts on the food security and livelihoods of millions of people, and urged for greater action to overcome the food and agriculture challenges facing the region