ISLAMABAD, Jan 19 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday called for taking advantage of the latest technologies to enhance the production of safe milk, which he said, would also help prevent stunting and malnutrition among the people.
The president, addressing the inaugural session of the first National Dialogue on Safe Milk, said there could be no alternative to breastfeeding however it was also essential to ensure the supply of safe and unadulterated milk to the people for it being complete nutrition.
The president stressed the need for improving the yield using modern methods to enhance food production by exploiting the immense potential in form of land availability as well as the young population.
He said if not provided good health and education facilities, the country’s youth bulge could turn from an asset into a burden after a few years after reaching old age.
He said awareness among the people on its safety and significance was essential to make the people switch from loose milk to packaged milk.
The president hoped that the two-day dialogue would come up with proposals that would also move the government to act in this area of huge potential.
He also mentioned the frequent messaging by himself as well as First Lady Samina Alvi to the people for opting for preventive healthcare which was far cheaper as well as easier than the curative one.
He said starting from conception, the first 1,000 days were critical to preventing stunting in the child which could not be undone later.
Reiterating his call for enhancing the yield, the president exemplified the Netherlands which emerged as the second-largest food-producing country in the world despite being 19 times smaller than Pakistan.
He said being the third-largest milk-producing country, Pakistan could also bring about remarkable change by formalizing the dairy sector addressing the challenges of the supply chain as well as awareness.
In his address, Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said Pakistan, being a 220 million nation was facing the biggest challenge of feeding its people.
He said unfortunately, the dairy sector remained neglected which otherwise could make a spectacular breakthrough in the national economy by promoting research.
He also emphasized upgrading the local breed and their feed to achieve better dividends, by value-adding the sector.
He said for the first time Prime Minister Imran Khan included agriculture in his government’s key priority areas which was now coming to fruition in form of record production.
Chairman of Punjab Food Authority Omar Tanvir said the government, in consultation with all stakeholders, would have to come up with a plan to ensure the provision of safe milk to the people.
He said the authorities concerned had so far been unable to convince the people that loose milk was unhealthy and unsafe for consumption.
He said as a first step, the milkmen should go to the cold chain to prevent wastage.
Ali Ahmed Khan, Executive Chairman of Pakistan Dairy Association (PDA), the host organization, said Pakistan was among the few countries where loose milk was sold of which 95% was unprocessed and highly contaminated.
He said owing to an underdeveloped supply chain, almost 20% of milk went to waste and the country could achieve immense economic benefits by formalizing the sector.
First Lady Samina Alvi, scientists and experts from the dairy sector and representatives of different relevant companies attended the event.