Pakistan Observer

Govt gauges farmers friendly goals

FAO, PARC mark World Food Day

Staff Reporter

Monday, October 17, 2011 - Islamabad—Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) celebrated ‘World Food Day 2011’ across the world under the theme “Food Prices: From Crisis to Stability”. FAO in collaboration with Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) arranged an event at National Agriculture Research Council (NARC) today.

Federal Secretary Ministry Science and Technology Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar inaugurated the event and visited the stalls set up by FAO, WFP, OXFAM and various other government and private organizations. Addressing the participants, Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar said that the government is taking measures to introduce farmers friendly policies to boost the agriculture sector in the country.

He emphasized on the need of food reservation on regional level for which it is necessary to improve the quality of godowns. He said that several projects are in pipeline for development of agriculture sector and to facilitate the farmers. He also read out the messages of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani. Dr. Kevin D. Gallagher in his speech read out the message of the Director General FAO Dr. Jacques Diouf.

He said “Food prices from crisis to stability” has been chosen as this year’s World Food Day theme to shed some light on a trend that is hurting the poor consumer, the small producer and agriculture in general. Food prices, which were stable for decades, have become increasingly volatile.

If we are to seriously address the issue of world hunger, more effort has to be made to address the problem of food price fluctuations, particularly for those who spend most of their incomes on food, to ensure that they can return from the market with enough for their families to eat nutritiously, the message said. The causes of food price instability are well known. However, counteracting this instability requires political will. The global food market is tight, with supply struggling to keep pace with demand and stocks are at or near historical lows, it stated.

Droughts or floods hitting key producing regions squeeze prices further. Agriculture cannot respond fast enough with increased food production because of long-term under-investment in research, technology, equipment and infrastructure. Various financial mechanisms can help governments protect consumers from food price increases.

One example is call options, which would give governments the right to buy food at a set price even months ahead, regardless of how the market has moved in the meantime, the message elaborated.

Ultimately though, stability in the food market depends on increased investment in agriculture, particularly in developing countries, where 98 percent of the hungry live and where food production needs to double by 2050 to feed growing populations. On World Food Day 2011, “let us reflect seriously at what causes swings in food prices, and articulate alternatives on what needs to be done at national, regional and global levels to reduce the impact on almost a billion people who do not have enough to eat,” the message said.

The Chairman PARC Dr Iftikhar Ahmad read out the message of the Minister of Science and Technology. According to FAO there are 1 billion hungry and food insecured people across the world, out of which 98% of them live in the developing countries.

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