PM directs preparation of national food security policy

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Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said that the present government attached high priority to rural economy and wellbeing of people and is committed to ensuring food security in the country.
He said this during a briefing by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) at his official residence this afternoon.
The PM said that a special Ministry of National Food Security and Research was created to coordinate with the provinces as well as international organizations to achieve the synergy needed to ensure food security and growth in the agriculture sector. He directed the ministry to present a comprehensive national food security policy for the approval of the cabinet with the objective of achieving surplus agricultural produce for export.
The PM said it is unfortunate that despite abundant natural resources Pakistan’s per acre yield is so low. The PM said that no country could progress without research and emphasized the need to intensify research work on prominent crops like wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane and pulses to attain higher yields. In this regard, he also directed the ministry to take necessary steps to ensure usage of appropriate technology in order to minimize post harvest losses.
Ashraf further said that there should be an effective mechanism to educate the farmers and the industry on any development made in agricultural research so that the agriculture sector can benefit from it. He directed the ministry to work on a plan to increase edible oil production so that the country can save on imports.
He added that farmer friendly policies of the government have enabled the country to not only become self-sufficient in wheat but have also created a surplus which is exported. The government is committed to extend all possible support to maintain this momentum, he said.
The meeting was informed that the government had wheat stocks of 8.41 million tons and planned to export one million tons from its stock. Rice production is expected at 6.16 million tons which shows an improvement of 28% against the last year. Sugarcane production is estimated at 59.5 million tons as compared to 55.3 million tons last year. Cotton production is expected to be around 13.6 million bales.
The meeting was briefed about the various departments working under the ministry for promoting agriculture and research in the country.