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September 24, 2020

Food security is top priority, says PM

Top Story

September 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday called for medium and long term projects for improvement of agriculture sector, increase in production and modernisation of the sector as food security is top priority of the government.

The prime minister directed with reference to accurate, authoritative and reliable data on production estimates of various commodities to expedite the process of activating National Food Security Dashboard in the Ministry of Food Security with the assistance of all provincial governments and departments concerned.

He said this while presiding over a review meeting on reforms in the agriculture sector, especially measures to increase agricultural production and measures to address food security challenges.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Food Security Syed Fakhr Imam, Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz, Special Assistant Dr Shahbaz Gill, Secretary National Food Security Omar Hameed Khan and officers concerned from the agriculture sector.

The meeting discussed the challenges facing the country in terms of food security, the current state of production of various agricultural commodities, progress on the Prime Minister's Agriculture Emergency Program and increasing the production of various commodities and modernising the agricultural sector. The forum was given briefing on how to do it.

Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that ensuring food security was the top priority. He said that action plans based on timelines should be presented for medium and long term projects to be formulated for the improvement of the agricultural sector, increase in production and modernisation of the sector. The prime minister called for a more robust and integrated system of coordination among all stakeholders, including research institutes, universities and related institutions. The prime minister directed that special attention be paid to special economic zones for the processing of agricultural commodities. Regarding increasing productivity in agricultural commodities and modernising the agricultural sector, the prime minister stressed the need to benefit from the experience of friendly China and ensure full utilisation of China’s expertise and cooperation. The prime minister directed to reorganise the agro-ecological zones. The prime minister said that commodities like olives, pulses, etc., whose needs are met through imports, farmers should be attracted to such commodities and all necessary assistance should be provided to them in this regard. Meanwhile, the government decided to establish the Economic Outreach Apex Committee to promote economic diplomacy and also set up the Economic Outreach Coordination Group of relevant ministries. These important decisions were taken regarding the promotion of economic diplomacy in the country. In this connection, the prime minister chaired meeting here. Dr Moeed Yousaf, Special Assistant for the Promotion of Economic Diplomacy, has been made the Focal Person. The decision was made to establish the Economic Outreach Coordination Group between the relevant federal ministries, provincial departments and other agencies for coordination and achievement of targets. Federal ministers Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Senator Shibli Faraz, Syed Fakhr Imam, Fawad Ahmed, advisers Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistants Dr Moeed Yousaf, Dr Faisal Sultan, Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Chairman Board of Investment and other senior officials attended the meeting. The meeting presented to the Prime Minister a roadmap on the potential of the country for the promotion of economic diplomacy, the challenges it faces and overcoming them. Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that promotion of economic diplomacy is a matter of urgency. He said that promotion of economic diplomacy would not only further strengthen the bilateral relations with foreign countries but also take full advantage of the potential in the economic field. The prime minister directed that Pakistani embassies should focus on promoting economic diplomacy. The Prime Minister directed the Chairman Board of Investment to ensure the provision of all possible facilities to foreign investors who have expressed interest in various sectors. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan deeply appreciated Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s support to Kashmiris and said Turkey’s unwavering support remained a source of strength for Kashmiris in their right to self-determination. In a tweet, he said, “deeply appreciate President Erdogan once again raising his voice in support of the rights of the Kashmiri people during his address to UNGA. Turkey’s unwavering support remains a source of strength for the Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle for self determination