The federal government has established National Food Security Commission (NFSC) a step forward to develop a national policy for the long-term sustainability of food security and agriculture development.
The prime minister of Pakistan will be the chairman of the newly established NFSC and it would have its own secretariat at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Islamabad.
The commission was established this week and the ministry of food security and research has written a letter to the prime minister seeking time for holding its maiden meeting to set its agenda and allocate the required budget to make the commission formally functional.
According to the documents available with The Express Tribune, the commission has five key mandates to undertake while being a national level organisation.
The first mandate is to forge consensus between the federal and provincial governments and administrative regions regarding policy formulation for assurance of long-term food security in the country.
The second mandate is resource allocation by the federal and provincial governments and administrative units for the development of agriculture to ensure food security in the country.
Thirdly, infrastructure development for export maximisation of agriculture products. Besides, promoting value addition of agriculture products and ensuring food security for vulnerable and marginalised communities of the country are also included in the NFSC mandate.
A senior officer at the ministry said that it has requested the prime minister to allocate a time for holding its first meeting to set its current year agenda.
According to the working paper, the composition of the commission is as under: prime minister of Pakistan will be the chairman and federal minister for National Food Security and Research would be the deputy chairman of the NFSC.
Earlier in the budget 2014-15, the federal government had announced establishment of the NFSC with a view to developing a national policy for the long-term sustainability of agriculture on profitable basis. The budget documents stated that the council will be responsible for ensuring policy coordination across provinces relating to productivity improvements, market reforms, value addition and prices that ensure stable incomes for farmers.
Sources in the ministry of national food security and research said that after the devolution of the agriculture subject to provinces, the ministry has been facing tremendous difficulties while coordinating with the provinces about the food security related issues and it is the reason that the NFSC has been established to better coordinate between the federal government and provinces as well as among other key stakeholders.
The official expressed the hope that the NFSC would bridge the gap between the key stakeholders of the food security and agriculture development, which is key to having a long-term effective planning to overcome the challenges to the national food security.
Recently, FOA head in Islamabad stated that Pakistan despite being world’s eighth largest food producing country, its 50% population is food insecure.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2014.
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