Islamabad-Federal Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan Saturday said that food and nutrition security was a fundamental element for poverty alleviation.

The Minister was speaking at the occasion of 1st Pakistan Food-Nutrition International Summit held here jointly by Riphah International University, National Alliance for Safe Food, SUN, GAIN and COTHM. The key speaker form leading national/ international organizations/universities, regulators and private sector emphasized that producing enough food was not sufficient; the challenge was its accessibility and to observe optimum level of nutrition which is essential for human growth. Further establishing harmonized food standards practices protect consumers and facilitation. Food value chain is critical for socio-economic development of the country. The summit underscored importance of food and nutrition in Pakistan for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to hunger and nutrition. The speakers stressed that there was an urgent need that the subject must be treated on priority basis for all government policies/programs and the private sector and academia must play their due role for the sustainable growth of the country.

State minister Ali Muhammad Khan said that in Pakistan, this sector had been facing a number of major challenges over the last decade. As a result, performance of this sector has been less than its potential in recent times with low growth of around 3.3% over the last decade, he said.

Ahmad Shafiq, Ateeq-ur-Rehman, Abdullah Hameed Gul, Hamid Athar Malik, Dr Saul S Morris, Rana Awais Khan, Dr Azeem Khan, Dr Masood Sadiq Butt, Dr Rashid Aftab, M Aslam Shaheen and Dr Tausif Akhtar Janjua talked about major factors underlying this underperformance include a slow rate of technological innovation; problems with quality, quantity, and timeliness of inputs supply; inadequate extension services and technology transfer; limited investment in construction, road maintenance, and market infrastructure; marketing and trade restrictions; pest and livestock disease problems; feed and fodder shortages; limited amounts of credit for production and processing; and lack of specific loan products.