ISLAMABAD, Oct 06 (APP): Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam Wednesday stressed the need to upgrade agriculture sector using modern technology and applying different methodologies on smaller areas that could be replicated on larger scale upon success to multiply its benefits.
Imam addressed a conference on “Food Security vis-à-vis Sustainable Agriculture in Pakistan: Policy Outcomes and Prospects”, which was Jointly organized by Center for Global & Strategic Studies, Hanns Seidel Foundation Pakistan and MNS University of Agriculture, Multan on Wednesday.
He said our country was blessed with the agro-economic zones, adding that it has one of the most extensive irrigation system in the world.
“Currently, we are using one fourth of our geographical land for cultivation of five major crops which was still dominated by wheat”, he said adding that abut 38% of our population was employed in the agro-economic sector which increases the significance of this sector.
Pakistan has incomparable taste and aroma of fruits which cannot be found in any other part of the world, he said adding that youth was committed to take agroeconomic sector to new heights.
Over 60% of total exports depends upon cotton and 70% of the edible oil comes from cotton, he said adding that country witnessed record production in many crops and by next year more people would invest in this sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi, Provincial Minister of Punjab for Agriculture, Punjab said that as far as food security was concerned, it has always remained a threat to mankind.
Various scientists and philosophers have also been warning about the threats related to food, agriculture security and climate change. Food security threat has always existed; however, the dimensions of this threat have changed due to other factors particularly climate change, he said adding that Pakistan is the 10th largest country to produce agriculture commodities, at the same time, we are the 6th largest country by population.
“If we compare, the world food growth is not more than 1.5%. Therefore, the policymakers must come up with innovative ideas to bridge this gap”, he added. “Pakistan is a signatory of Sustainable Development Goals and has committed to provide safe and healthy food to its citizens and I hope that our policymakers, academia and scientist will put efforts to fulfill our nations requirements”, he remarked.
Ashfaq Ahmed Gondal, former Federal Secretary Information and Broadcasting and Vice President (Federal Region), Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), said that food security was directly related to agriculture and agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan.
This sector accounts for 19% of the GDP and the export of agro-based products comprise of the 80% of Pakistan’s export, he added. Dr. Steffen Kudella, Resident Representative, Hanns Seidel Foundation Pakistan, Speaking on the occasion said that food security means everyone has access to sufficient and safe food even in times of crisis.
Food Security is a serious non-traditional security challenge globally and for Pakistan, because many households suffer from food insecurity as per a recent study.
This becomes particularly serious for children. Even though Pakistan already has a comparatively strong food production sector, its agricultural potential is much bigger and needs to be used for its people, he added. Dr. Kudella stated that conference intended to connect relevant stakeholders from the farmer in the field to the highest level of policymakers. Professor Dr. Asif Ali Vice Chancellor, MNS University of Agriculture, Multan said that conference covered all the important aspects and the road to the progress of food security has been bumpy but, the improvements have been tremendous.