ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) Brig. (retd) Aslam Khan has said the issue of food security is intensifying in the country which should be handled properly at the earliest.
In a statement on Thursday, he said that the price of food items is increasing continuously which requires policy and administrative action by the government. Brig. (retd) Aslam Khan said that coronavirus has dented efforts to reduce poverty while the food mafia banked on the opportunity to maximize profits on the cost of masses.
He said that the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding agricultural development is laudable and it should be implemented without any delay.
Chairman PEW said that the agriculture sector needs government and private investment, loans, ample water, quality seed, pesticides and urea to improve the situation.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, food security had posed a serious threat to our national security but the threat has become even more noticeable since the pandemic which has the potential to aggravate poverty, he observed.
Aslam Khan said that the government should invest heavily to make agricultural infrastructure sustainable, remove trade distortions, improve crop production, storage and transportation. Issues like the degradation of agricultural lands and forests, loss of biodiversity and pollution in rivers as well as canal system should also be tackled without delay, he demanded.
The role of middlemen and loan sharks should be reduced so that the rural economy can develop which is a basic requirement for human survival.
He noted that countries facing food insecurity need billions of dollars to tackle the problem for which the developing world should come forward and provide soft loans.
Aslam Khan welcomed the statement of PM Imran Khan in which he stressed trade connectivity emphasizing that with 1.3 billion people, the South Asian region needed to resolve its mutual conflicts through dialogue for sustainable prosperity.