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Food security has turned into a matter of national security, PM Imran Khan says

PM says Pakistan's "biggest challenge" in years to come will be of food security

By Web Desk
July 01, 2021

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that for Pakistan food security has turned into a matter of national security.

While speaking at the National Kissan Convention in Islamabad, PM Imran said that Pakistan's "biggest challenge" in the future would be of food security.

To explain the precise nature of the problem, he explained to the audience that Pakistan had to import 4 million tonnes of wheat last year alone to meet a shortfall.

“The expense for that was in foreign exchange, in a country that is already short of dollars,” remarked PM Imran Khan.

He added that it was unsustainable for the country to keep on going like this.

"The rate at which our population is increasing [we need to ask] in the next 10, 15 years how will we create food for our population?” said the premier.

The premier said that it was necessary to raise awareness about food security and that Pakistan should start taking measures to tackle the problem from today.

“If we want to save our nation from the challenges ahead [we need to see that] food security in reality [has become] national security,” said PM Imran Khan.

The prime minister said that Pakistan does not accept Israel due to the atrocities it commits against Palestine but acknowledged how it utilised technologically advanced methods to even make barren land useful for agriculture.

"They scratched their heads and came up with a solution to turn even a desert into fertile land."

To further highlight the problem of food security in Pakistan, the prime minister said that the situation is so dire that kids in the country are born stunted.

“Close to 40% of babies in our country are stunted because their diet is not complete. This is a very dangerous figure,” said the PM.

The premier said to tackle the problem, the government is launching a nutrition programme under the Ehsaas programme.

The plan will focus on ensuring that the diet of children till the age of three is complete so they are not stunted.

The premier said that if they remain stunted then the children will be "left behind in the race of life as their brain and body will not be developed”.

PM Imran Khan further said that children in the country are not getting proper milk as it is “contaminated”.

“[Just] think, our kids are not getting pure milk and that is their most basic need for growth,” said PM Imran Khan. He also said that when the government further investigated the problem, it found that the cows in Pakistan were producing lesser milk than those in other countries.

The prime minister said that the government then realised that it was because the country never worked on improving the genes of the cows. He added that it was all because of the “elite capture”.

Elaborating further, he said that a small section of the society "captured" the country when it was created.

The leaders that we got did not work on inclusivity, he said.

The prime minister said that the country’s agriculture sector faced the same issue when Pakistan was created. He added that the farmers in Pakistan there were mostly small land owners and they were not helped.

He also shared the example of China, saying that it was able to bring people out of poverty in the last 35 years as it helped its farmers.

“China also had small land hold owners and they helped the small farmers as there was poverty in the villages,” said PM Imran. He lamented that Pakistan did not do the same thing 74 years ago.

PM Imran Khan reiterated that if Pakistan continues its current trajectory, food security "will turn into national insecurity”. He said that if 30 to 40% are left hungry then "they will bring the whole nation down".

“A nation that does not fulfil the diet of its people should be punished,” said the prime minister.

The premier said that the steps being taken by the government today are taken with a view that Pakistan becomes a food exporter rather than food insecure.