ISLAMABAD, Jan 22 (APP):Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFSR) Sahibzada Muhamnad Mahboob Sultan Tuesday said the SAARC countries were tied in several commonalities of culture, food and environment that could lead them in making joint efforts to fight hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the region.
He stated this while addressing the second day of 10th SAARC, Food Bank Board (FBB) meeting as chief guest which was hosted by government of Pakistan here.
He urged upon the need to make joint efforts to address the regional level challenges including climate change and also shifting of focus on enhancing intra-regional supply of food products.
For this purpose SAARC food bank provides an excellent platform to its member states to interact with each other for intra-regional supply of food grains.
The minister for NFSR also announced that the government of Pakistan had doubled the quantum of wheat from 40,000 MT to 80,000 MT being maintained as Pakistan’s share for this Regional Food Bank, as per requirement.
Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Dr.M.Hashim Popalzai during the inaugural session of the meeting on Monday underscored the importance of FBB, saying, the board could play role in supply of food grains in the region to achieve the goal of regional food security as the region consists of around 1/4th of the world population.
He said that all members of the SAARC food bank could mutually work out the modalities for operationalising the FBB with the support of SAARC Secretariat.
He further said that Pakistan had surplus production of food grains that may be supplied in the region.
The board meeting deliberated on various aspects of the food bank and board members from SAARC member states including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka were actively engaged during the meeting.
Senior Joint Secretary, Dr. Javed Humayun, being Nodal Point from Pakistan for the Bank chaired the board meeting.
At the end of meeting, the minister for NFSR presented souvenirs to SAARC FBB members.
The other senior officials from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) also attended the event.
This meeting had particular significance from the perspective of deliberations to work out recommendations for operationalizing the Bank.