September 04, 2013
Speakers at a consultation moot called for devising result-oriented policies to boost agriculture sector and ensure food security in the country. Addressing National Consultation organised by Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) in collaboration with Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition (AAHM) National Chapter Pakistan, Oxfam Novib Pakistan and Oxfam-GROW here on Tuesday, Tanveer Arif, Chief Executive, SCOPE elaborated that AAHM, which is a global network of intergovernmental organisations and civil society, formed as a follow up of World Food Summit in 2005.
He said that AAHM Pakistan has developed advocacy strategy which aims at supporting government initiatives of National Food Security and Nutrition Policy and Zero Hunger Programme.
“Pakistan is far behind in reaching Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which is a global target to be achieved by 2015. Agriculture and food security development is very low in view of MDGs. Pakistan has 52 percent food insecure people. FATA tops in food insecurity, Balochistan is at second, Sindh at third and Punjab at fourth number,” said Amjad Nazeer, a consultant and agriculture expert.
He said that due to poverty and unemployment, people are migrating to urban areas from rural areas. He said that right to food for people is incorporated in the Constitution and the government is duty bound to it. Hence agro-industrial and agriculture polices should be devised by incorporating public views and demands so as to overcome food insecurity and bolster agriculture sector.
President Bhandar Sangat Taj Marri said that the use of machinery is putting burden on economic position of farmers as they get a meager profit from the crop production as compared to the farming without machinery. He said the government and landlords are depriving farmers of their due rights. Corporate farming is harmful for farmers and food security.
“The corporate farming has also been started in Matiary, Thatta and Nawabshah, Mirpurkhas districts of Sindh, which needs to be stopped. He said that people of rural areas are migrating to cities due to poverty and unemployment. There is need to make hectic efforts to overcome poverty and food security issues in the country through joint efforts by civil society, Marri said.
Ali Raza Jamali, Director Agriculture Extension, Government of Balochistan, said that due to blockage of Right Bank Outfall Drain, agriculture land and cultivation in three districts of Balochistan has completely ruined in last three consecutive years that include Jafferabad, Naseerabad and Jhal Magsi. Aftab Alam Khan, International Co-ordinator ActionAid -Food /Livestock said that there is need to change crop production policies to ensure food security and benefit to farmers.
M Ijaz Hussain, Programme Manager, Sahil Development Organisation, said that Pakistan faces grain shortage despite sufficient wheat production and being seventh largest wheat producing country. He said that there is lack of facilities to the farmers as procurement cost is not being paid to them. There is also need to improve supply chain management.
Dr Wajid Pirzada, representative of UN/WFP, said that we should know the reasons behind the vulnerability of food security and conduct research. Informed policy should be devised to raise awareness among farmers about agriculture issues, so that they could be resolved amicably. He said that rural areas of Sindh are food insecure while Punjab is also victim of it despite having fertile land. Pakistan is also facing climate change challenge, which needs to be tackled in right way, he added.
Jamal Mustafa Shoro, an agriculture expert, said that feudal have become stronger as a result farmers are being affected. The input cost of farming has rising alarmingly which has put heavy burden on the farmers. He said that farmers need incentives to make their life out of trouble.-PR