Experts stress national consensus to ensure food security, better environment

Islamabad (Muhammad Yasir) While expressing concerns over the rising threat to food security and environment degradation coupled with malnutrition in Pakistan, experts at a seminar have emphasized the need for practical measures to ensure capacity building as well as better agriculture by using smart use of technology.

The one-day seminar was organized by the Awaz CDS Pakistan, Pakistan Development Alliance, Quaid-e-Azam University, VSO Pakistan and UKAid at the Quaid-e-Azam University`with a focus to highlight the environmental impacts as well as threat to food security and propose sustainable suggestions.

Convener SDG 13 at SDG Secretariat MNA Naureen Farooq Ibrahim, Chief Executive Awaz CDS Pakistan Zia ur Rehman, Dean Faculty of Biological Sciences, QAU, Safia Ahmed, and Chairman Environmental Sciences, QAU, Dr. Sohail Yousaf; Prof Institute of Food and Nutritional Sciences, ARID University Dr. Asif Ahmed, addressed the seminar. Country Director Hashoo Foundation, Ayesha Khan; and Country Director Sightsavers Pakistan, Munazza Gillani, were also among the panellists.

In his remarks, Zia ur Rehman said that the climate change is a constant threat to life, agriculture and sustainability in Pakistan where over 65 per cent population is dependent on agriculture. “Food security is the major challenge that needs to be overcome by finding out sustainable solutions,” he said.

He mentioned that after the 18th amendment, agriculture sector was delegated to provinces 12 year ago, but unfortunately they have not yet built their capacity to draft a sustainable strategy on climate change as the devolution has not resulted in implementation of relevant policies. Attached departments are not well equipped in addition to having no technological knowhow, he remarked. He mentioned that like the federal government the provinces should formulate their own food security policies to ensure better food security.

He urged the decision makers, parliamentarians, environment experts and nutritionists to develop national consensus over controlling negative impacts of climate change and adopt technology-based agriculture for better output.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Dr. Sohail Yousaf highlighted the purpose and focus of the seminar. He also gave an overview of the issues on climate change and food security.

QAU Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ali, in his address, appreciated the efforts of the stakeholders for organizing the workshop. He said that in Pakistan about 40 sectors are attached directly or indirectly with agriculture which can significantly provide jobs.

He mentioned that migration from rural areas to urban areas is a rising threat to environment. “If we adopt technology-based solutions to create employment opportunities in rural areas, migration to cities can be controlled significantly and that would ultimately help in improving environment,” he remarked.

He also called for capacity building of rural population on efficient use of water, green energy solutions, provision of smart agriculture tools as well as fertilizers and modern agriculture farming.

Addressing the audience, MNA Naureen Farooq acknowledged that environment and food security are the issues in the country. However, she stressed the need for having more relevant laws to ensure smart technology based agriculture and better environment.

During the seminar, Chief Executive Awaz CDS Pakistan Zia ur Rehman, presented a charter of demands for parliamentarians as well as decision makers to incorporate them in national policies so that sustainable food security and environmental improvement is ensured.

Later, a question-answer session was held during which the audience raised various questions covering the focused areas.

At the conclusion, certificates were given to the participants of the event.