ISLAMABAD: The farmer community in Pakistan is facing a crisis not because of low food production, but because of surplus stock, said Minister for Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan as he addressed a gathering on the World Food Day.
The theme this year was “Social Protection and Agriculture; Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”.
“Globally, the agriculture sector is facing challenges and Pakistan is not different,” said Bosan. “History has seen many crises arising from famines and food scarcity; the farmers were poor because they could never grow enough to feed their families and fulfil the society’s requirements.”
He said the world stock of food grains was the highest at this point in time and prices had touched rock-bottom. “This might be good news for the consumers but producers are finding it difficult to even recover their cost of production.”
Meanwhile, Food and Agriculture Organisation representative to Pakistan Patrick T Evans said almost 80% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and rely mainly on agriculture. “Economic growth, especially in agriculture, has been essential in driving down rates of hunger and poverty.
“Pakistan’s population is growing at a rapid pace and it is one of the factors behind the country’s poverty; its population would reach 300 million by 2050 while the arable land available is only 25%.”
Patrick suggested complementing the agricultural programme through empowering of small-scale family farmers by a social protection programme that would focus on ‘school feeding’. “This is why FAO chose social protection and agriculture as the theme this year,” he said.
World Food Programme Pakistan Representative Stephen Cluning said that while ending hunger by 2030 is a massive goal, the Millennium Development Goals show that setting this target helps galvanise political will.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2015.
Like Business on Facebook, follow @TribuneBiz on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.