FAISALABAD: The average height of Pakistanis has fallen four inches over the last 50 years due to malnourishment and food deficiency.
This was revealed in a workshop on “Applied Nature Need Based research Projects of Food Industries” organized by National Institute of Food Science & Technology (NIFSAT) University of Agriculture, Faisalabad here on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice Chancellor, UAF Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, said that cousin marriages were also one of the reasons for the short stature of Pakistanis. He urged the need for new diet packages to be introduced for balanced, affordable food.
Dr Iqrar also expressed concerns over existing eating habits, saying 50 years ago, large amounts of corn flour was traditionally consumed, but over time, Pakistanis had lost the mechanism to cook roti with corn flour, which was a cheaper, healthier staple food item.
Dr Iqrar revealed that a BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition and Dietetics and Food Engineering degree was being initiated for the first time in the country. He hoped that by introducing new disciplines, a trained human resource would be available for the food industry.
Speaking on the occasion, Mehboob Aly Manji, President, VITA Pakistan stressed the need to exploit the indigenous food potential by introducing fruits drinks such as Falsa, Luqat and Jaman. He said that floriculture practices could be most beneficial in uplifting the living standards of small farmers. Manji said Pakistan was exporting 80-90 tons of flowers to Saudi Arabia every year, and this volume could be increased by promoting and incentivizing floriculture.
Professor Dr Faqir Muhammad Anjum, Director General (NIFSAT) said that Nestle Pakistan and VITA Food have signed MOU’s to promote skill development initiatives through short courses.
“NIFSAT has conducted 12 national and international symposia, seminars and workshops during the last year with the collaboration of industries,” he added.
Dr Muhammad Shafique Ch. Director, RAMNA Food, Lahore stressed the need for a value addition mechanism, keeping in view the demand of consumers.
He expressed his concerns over the Punjab government’s decision to purchase 2.5 million ton of wheat this year, given that 4.5 million tons of wheat was stored in the province.