OIC Country Experience in Food Security Governance for Strengthening South-South Cooperation
ISLAMABAD, Dec 22, (Gwadar Pro)-Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam addressed a workshop organized by the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) on “OIC Country Experience in Food Security Governance for Strengthening South-South Cooperation” on 22nd December 2021.
Fakhar Imam said that Pakistan has taken the issue of food insecurity to top priority and has declared food security as a national security issue by putting food security on the top agenda item in the national security plan. Pakistan has reduced food and nutritional insecurity from 24 percent in the year 2014-15 to 18.3 percent in 2019-20 and is engaged in further reduction through agricultural and livestock development along with livelihood improvement and economic uplift of the general mass.
Fakhar Imam said that the present government is trying its best to address all the four pillars of food security through various initiatives and programs. In this connection Prime Minister’s Agriculture Emergency Program has been initiated with nearly PKR.285 billion which primarily focused on such as Productivity Enhancement of Wheat, Rice & Sugarcane with the cost of approximately PKR.34 billion, Oilseeds Enhancement Program with the cost of about PKR.10 billion, Conserving Water Through Lining of Watercourses with a cost of PKR.180 billion, Enhancing Command Area of Small and Mini Dams in Barani Areas with a cost of PKR.28 billion and Water Conservation in Barani areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with a cost of PKR.13 billion
Fakhar said that to resolve the issue of food security, numerous initiatives have been taken to increase household income which includes mechanized harvesting of wheat, rice, maize, and fruits, silos for grain storage, cold Storage facility for horticultural commodities, and value-added products through Provision of harvesting machinery for rice, cob and fruits on 50% subsidy, exemption of 28% import duty and 17% GST on the locally manufactured silo, replenish of SBP’s financing facility for storage of agricultural produce and development of small scale/cottage industry under Ehsas and Kamyab Jawan Program
Furthermore, the government has fast-tracked access to credit/finance through registration of farmers and FVOs and women through biometric mapping and Issuance of kissan cards for subsidy and credit. In addition, imports of more than 3 million tons of wheat and 0.3 million tons of sugar in the year 2020-21 are the preventive steps taken to ensure the food security of the country.
Fakhar said Pakistan has great potential for enhanced productivity of food and fiber crops but natural hazards exert great pressure for its stability and sustainability, like climate change, floods, desserts locust, and unforeseen calamities like Covid-19. In order to make the agricultural sector more stable and sustainable, the government is planning to cope with these hazards through various actions and mitigation policies.