Roundtable held on population and food security

Roundtable held on population and food security

Roundtable held on population and food security

Roundtable held on population and food security

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), in collaboration with the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), Islamabad and the University of Peshawar, held a roundtable on “Population and food security”, a statement said on Monday.

The roundtable was organised at the Area Study Centre (ASC), University of Peshawar, where the audience consisted of students and faculty members.

ASC Director Professor Shabir Ahmad Khan held the opinion that the major causes of food insecurity are population growth, declining water supply and increased prices of fertilizers.

The shortage of cultivated land in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) along with the building of housing societies has further exacerbated the situation, he said.

KP has to additionally provide food to tribal districts and to Afghanistan as well, professor Khan said, while suggesting that Pakistan needs to diversify the crops production like Uzbekistan.

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Agriculture University of Peshawar Human Nutrition Department Chairman Dr Zia Uddin said that food security is the basic human right, and nutritious food was essential for brain development and physical growth.

KP government Halal Food Authority Director Technical Dr Abdul Satar Shah opined that to improve the quality of food, a multi-sectoral approach, involving academia, research, industry and farmers was the need of the hour.

The agricultural land utilised for houses is a loss and a control needs to be maintained, he remarked.

Agriculture Institute, Peshawar Agriculture Office’s Rizwan referred to the positive steps undertaken towards agriculture production.

He informed the audience that 200 new agriculture officers were hired. Besides, fertility mapping has also started in KP, and roughly 400,000 samples are being analysed.

University of Peshawar ASC Assistant Professor Dr Ahmed Farhan Saeed questioned the link between population and food insecurity.

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He said that despite being populated, China, India and the US are food secure. He argued that in Pakistan, Punjab being the populated province is food secure whereas, several rural districts in Balochistan, Sindh and KP are in crises in terms of acute food security.

Dr Saeed stressed the need for modern farming methods and high value agriculture practices. He also supported empowering women and their role in the economic growth activities.

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