world
Saturday Sep 05 2020
By
APP

FAO discusses food security, nutrition challenges amid virus crisis

By
APP
The conference aimed at regional priorities and pressing issues such as COVID 19, the state of agriculture, natural resources management. — APP

ISLAMABAD: The 35th session of the Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC 35), organised by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) concluded successfully in Bhutan.

The conference aimed at regional priorities and pressing issues such as COVID 19, the state of agriculture, natural resources management, food security and nutrition, said a press release issued on Saturday.

Representing Pakistan at the Ministerial Session of the Regional Conference, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research, Syed Fakhar Imam said, “During these difficult times of COVID-19 and locust invasion, we are trying to sustain particularly those people living below the poverty line."

Imam said that during the incumbent government's tenure, there have been several advancements in the agricultural sector.

Read more: Agricultural supply chain to be exempted from coronavirus lockdown in Sindh

The minister said that an increase in agricultural productivity will be witnessed when such policies are framed which will benefit the farming community.

"We want to bring a better balance between the economy, manufacturing, agriculture, and services sectors," he said.

FAO's 35th Regional Conference has provided a valuable virtual platform for members to exchange their views, knowledge, and experience in addressing food security and nutrition challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to identify regional priorities, new ways of working,  and collective actions to accelerate progress towards the eradication of poverty (SDG1) and hunger and all forms of malnutrition (SDG2), noted the press release.

Mina Dowlatchahi, Country Representative FAO in Pakistan, said that the government of Pakistan has actively contributed by sharing perspectives of its development strategy.

"Pakistan is targeting the population below the national poverty line, and small farmers' agriculture transformation by agro-ecological zones, in an effort to contain the combined impacts of COVID-19 on food systems, climate hazards and the recent desert locust national emergency in a slowing down economy”, she said.

Read more: Economists anticipate food shortage if pandemic prolongs

Several participants, including representatives from Pakistan, conveyed interest in and support for the organisation's current key initiatives such as Hand-in-Hand.

Others acknowledged the important role innovation and technologies could play in improving food production and security.

The conference also addressed and highlighted examples of partnerships, innovation and digital technologies that are helping to improve food security and nutrition across the region as well as regional and global policy and regulatory matters.

Read more: UN warns world of humanitarian 'catastrophe' as hunger pandemic looms post-virus crisis

On the third day of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia-Pacific, the FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, government ministers as well as civil society and private sector representatives voiced concern over COVID-19's impacts on the food security and livelihoods of millions of people, and urged for greater action to overcome the food and agriculture challenges facing the region.