Despite challenges, govt ensured food security in country through robust measures: Imam

Staff Reporter

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam has said that despite unprecedented challenges Pakistan has faced during the last two years, the threats to food security were responded with robust actions by the government at every level.

He said that during the time of Covid-19, locust attack was another major challenge. However, through collaborative efforts, we reduced the threat to minimum damage and are better prepared for future threats now.

He said this while speaking at the webinar ‘Ensuring food security amid Covid-19 through ecosystem restoration’ held by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

Syed Fakhar Imam added further that failure in correctly monitoring food pricing leads to inaccurate predictions market price trends. Therefore, the government had purchased more wheat to mitigate any shortage.

“Despite Covid-19 and its impacts, we are having 6 bumper crops this year including wheat, rice and maize,” he said and added further that the focus of the future efforts of the government would be on improving livestock sector, becoming self-reliant on edible oils and organic farming.

The challenges of climate change and expanding biodiversity, Pakistan needs to build up institutional mechanisms and make full use of its human resources.

Therefore, the education to improve the agricultural sector and engage in more high-tech methods and set up our own silicon valleys is the need of hour, he concluded.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Food Security, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, while highlighting various problems in livestock sector, said that the government was shifting its focus to new areas in Balochistan and Thar desert areas, especially for crops such as cotton which have higher chances of success in such areas.

Cheema added further that encouraging fruit tree plantation in urban areas through youth engagement, cultivation of medicinal plants and increasing production of crops such as ginger, cardamon, avocados, coffee is being focused.

These super foods will be grown locally and given upscale production with the help of nurseries, scientists. and farmers to enhance exports of these crops in future.

He highlighted that the government plans to provide loans to farmers, food processing plants across the country and commercial activities to rural sector to stop rural to urban migration.

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