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Food insecurity in Pakistan

May 12, 2014


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Sir: Pakistan is an agricultural country with fertile land, sufficient water


resources, generally favourable ecology and hardworking farm labour. But due
to thoughtless planning and mismanagement of agricultural resources, this
beautiful country has become food-deficient, where people are starving even in
the rural areas.
In agricultural settings, food and fodder are sufficiently available to meet
human and animal needs locally. It is very strange that Pakistan imports apples,
bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and ginger. Iranian Bhindi (ladyfinger) is
also available in Islamabad.
The situation is even worse in urban areas where prices of vegetables and fruits
are beyond the reach of a middle class family. In Islamabad, vegetables are
selling at Rs 60 to 100 per kg. Prices of cucumber and potatoes, a poor mans
vegetables, are beyond his reach. For a pensioner, ladyfinger has become a
forbidden delicacy (Rs 100 per kg). How can a low salaried person afford the
luxury of fruits in Pakistan!
Food security is posing a serious problem to Pakistan. Unfortunately our rulers
are indifferent to this problem.
In the master plan of Islamabad, there was a provision to build farms to supply
vegetables and fruit to the residents of the federal capital. What has happened
to these farms is no secret. It goes without saying that the Capital Development
Authority is the real culprit in this case.
On paper there is a Kitchen Garden scheme with a supposedly hefty budget to
motivate people living in big houses to grow vegetables for personal
consumption.
To begin with, the houses of government officials, most of them having
sprawling gardens, can produce sufficient vegetables and fruit for general
consumption. The lawns of Islamabad club can produce sufficient vegetables for
the capital as well as Rawalpindi. Government rest houses can also produce
fruits. All this could not happen unless of course the bureaucrats decide to
sacrifice the desire to have large lawns to relax in the evening.
In the cantonment area, large tracts of land can be used for agricultural
purposes. Let the army take the lead and start a scheme on the lines of Military
Diary Farms.
Food security is as important as border security for the people of Pakistan. A
well fed population is an asset for the defence of the country.
There is a dire need to boost vegetable and fruit production to achieve the
objectives of the National Food Security Programme. The poor need food more
than Metro bus.
Asghar mahmood

60 percent of population facing food


insecurity

By Haroon Ishaq
October 25, 2014
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Karachi: In the country about 60 percent of the population is facing food


insecurity while about 10 percent is living without food to eat, adequate water
supply, conservation of agricultural land and effective government policies are
must to ensure food security, this emerged on the Food Festival arranged jointly
by the Indus Consortium and Oxfam Pakistan, on Friday at the Arts Council,
Karachi.
The food festival, held on the theme of Knowledge on Issue/Challenges of Food
Insecurity, Climate and its impact was aimed to raise awareness among the
masses regarding the issue of food insecurity, which is faced by both the rural
and urban population of the country. A penal discussion and a competition of
pointing on the agenda were held, while different stall displaying food and
cultural items were also set up on the occasion.
Vice Chancellor of Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) Tando Jam Prof. Dr
Mujeebuddin Memon Sahrai, during the penal discussion said we are lacking
the triple A regarding food in the country, being the availability, accessibility
and affordability of the food, adding that half of the country was faces the
security of food while a portion of population didnt even have the food to eat.
Denouncing the degrading of the quality of food in the country he said our food
production and marketing along with the entire food chain dont pass any of the
quality tests, which is creating a bad image of Pakistani food in international
markets.
He welcomed the formers to visit the SAU where five faculties of the university
are equipped with the facilities to guide the formers and to solve their
agricultural issues. He said we have built a working mechanism in the all five
faculties of university, to guide the formers toward the windows of information
and also to solve the agricultural issue of the formers within the days.
Talking on urbanization he said that the road to SAU that was once inhabited by
trees was turned into construction site, damaging the agricultural land, If we
reduce the agricultural area of land than we would never be able to ensure food
security. Stalls were set up on the occasion by different institutes along with
the formers from the interior Sindh, where different food and cultural items
including wheat, grains, lentils, pickles, sweets, fishes, vegetables, dates and
simples of embroidery were displayed.

GCU conference discusses ways


and means to combat food
insecurity

Staff Report
September 23, 2014
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LAHORE: Plant scientists discussed ways and means to combat the looming
threat of food insecurity on the opening day of an international conference on
plant sciences at the Government College University (GCU) on Monday.
About 241 scientists are scheduled to present their papers during the three-day
conference organised by the GCUs Botany Department with the collaboration of
Higher Education Commission and Pakistan Science Foundation to develop
fruitful and long-lasting research collaborations among biologists and
environmentalists.
GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Khaleequr Rahman chaired the
inaugural session of the conference during which 12 technical sessions besides a
poster exhibition were held. Five foreign scientists from the United Kingdom,
Nigeria and China also attended the first technical session of the conference on
plant diversity.
Addressing the conference, speakers warned the government that Pakistan
might face food insecurity in the future if adequate attention was not paid to
protection against floods, environment and biodiversity conservation and
development of plant sciences. They said that the government should involve
scientists and academicians to make comprehensive strategies to avert natural
disasters like floods.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Azhra, an eminent marine biologist from the
Glasgow University, United Kingdom, said that food was going to be one of the
biggest issues in the world of technology. Even now there is lot of hunger in
developed countries where a large section of society cant afford food, while the
situation is worst in the developing countries, she added. She also stressed
strong collaboration among scientists at the national and international level to
fight the threat of food insecurity.
Prof Dr Job N Nindu, an expert from Nigeria, said that Pakistani teachers had
played a strong role in developing education system in Nigeria. He said that his
secondary school teacher was also a Pakistani. He lauded the hospitality of
Pakistanis, saying they were a wonderful nation.
Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Rahman said that all of the GCU departments were
organising international conferences and that proceedings of theses conferences
would be published and registered as per international standards so that GCU

could also earn a ranking among worlds top universities. He said that he had
provided latest equipment and upgraded lab facilities of all of the university
departments to hone their potential.
GCU Botany Department Chairperson Dr Ghazala Yasmin Butt said that the
conference was being held in connection with 150-year celebrations of the
university. She said that the Botany Department, established in 1912, was the
oldest department of botanical sciences y in Pakistan having strong traditions of
research.
Prof Dr Kauser A Malik, of FCC University, Lahore, and Prof Dr Muhammad Ali,
of Islamic University, Bahawalpur, said that modern research was complex and
multidisciplinary and that it was not possible for a single university or institution
to possess entire knowledge and equipment. Therefore, they added, it was
imperative to establish academic and research links and share resources,
expertise and equipment with each other.