Pakistan has declared food security as a national security issue by putting food security on the top agenda item in the national security plan.

Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said this while addressing a workshop organised by Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) on “OIC Country Experience in Food Security Governance for Strengthening South-South Cooperation” on Wednesday.

Imam said that 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. He 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 Rs285 billion which primarily focused on such as productivity enhancement of wheat, rice & sugarcane with cost of approximately Rs34 billion, oil seeds enhancement program with cost of about Rs10 billion, conserving water through lining of watercourses with a cost of Rs180 billion, enhancing command area of small and mini dams in Barani areas with a cost of Rs28 billion and water conservation in Barani areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with a cost of Rs13 billion.

He said that to resolve the issue of food security, numerous initiatives have been taken to increase household income which include mechanised 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 locally manufactured silo, replenish of SBP’s financing facility for storage of agricultural produce and development of small scale or cottage industry under Ehsas and Kamyab Jawan Programme.

Furthermore, the government has fast-tracked access to credit/finance through registration of farmers and FVOs and women through biometric mapping and issuance of Kisan cards for subsidy and credit.
In addition, import 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 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, deserts, locusts 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.

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