World Food Day marked to recognize the relationship between migration, food security and agriculture.

A ceremony was held at the National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC) in Islamabad to mark the World Food Day. The theme for World Food Day this year was “Change the future of migration. Invest in food security and rural development.” Various organizations including Ministry of National Food Security Research, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), research institutes, FAO, World Food Programme (WFP),and Oxfam came together to organize the event. Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan was the chief guest at the ceremony. Messages from the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan were read at the ceremony in which 70 years of partnership between Government of Pakistan and FAO was highlighted.

Speaking on the occasion Federal Minister Bosan said:“ Change the Future of Migration: Invest in Food Security and Rural Development” has particular importance in the context of drawing our attention towards the increasing trend of migration that has direct implications on food security.” He also said that I congratulate FAO – Pakistan for our joint achievement and wish that we both will continue on the path of further strengthening our partnership. The improvement of infrastructure in rural areas and creation of job & business opportunities in rural communities by promoting both public and private investments for rural development can help in maintaining the rural – urban migration within the desirable limits. He thanked FAO, WFP and all other development partners for their continuous support to achieve the goal of national food security.

Federal Secretary for MNFS&R, Fazal Abbas Maken said that In order to feed a growing population in Pakistan which is projected to exceed 300 million by the 2050, we have to learn to grow what we need in a sustainable manner without destroying our natural resources. We need to evolve innovative approaches, to improve our agronomic practices and make the supply chains of agricultural produce more friendly to the farming community. 

Ms. MinàDowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan also addressed the ceremony. She said that we support countries to invest in livelihoods and build more resilient rural communities. This way, rural people can have the option to remain on their land, or to leave if they want to. FAO also works to improve the food security of people in refugee and displaced camps. She also read out a message from Mr. Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General FAO.

Mr. Finbarr Curran, Country Director and Representative, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Pakistan said at the occasion that WFP is actively engaged with the Government of Pakistan to improve food and nutrition security in the country. WFP is committed to support the Government of Pakistan in achieving its Sustainable Development Goals – especially SDG2-Zero Hunger by the year 2030. He said that ending hunger will require investments in agriculture, rural development, nutrition, social protection and gender equality. Achieving this ambitious goal, will only be possible through effective committed partnership with other UN agencies, development partners, NGOs, civil society, academia and the private sector in different interventions and initiatives.

Chairman PARC, Dr. Yusuf Zafar T.I, said at the occasion that actually, development disparity between rural and urban areas of Pakistan is impacting the poor rural population in terms of their right to have basic and healthful food. He said that Some of the major factors contributing to migration are food insecurity, poverty, adverse impacts of climate change, limited access to social protection, natural resource depletion, unemployment and the lack of economic opportunities in the rural areas. He said migration from rural to urban areas is increasing in Pakistan. According to 1951 census 82.2 percent population was living in rural areas while 17.8 percent population was in urban areas. Population census of 2017 shows 63.6 percent rural and 36.4 percent urban population i.e. the urban population has more than doubled; putting extra pressure on urban facilities and infra-structure.

Oxfam country director said at the occasion that Oxfam and its partners are implementing innovative programme activities to help improve food security for women and men living in remote parts of the country. Our programmes extend the Government’s agenda by contributing to immediate needs for food and improved incomes, while also prioritizing interventions that will support long-term food security in targeted regions. supports women’s capacity to lead and influence community development.

Director General NARC, Dr. M. Azeem Khan paid vote of thanks at last and said that with the collaboration of international partners we will cope with food insecurity situation and we will be able to provide quality food to our nation.