Rawalpindi - Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) observed the World Food Day here on Thursday with an aim to raise public awareness about hunger challenges and to ensure food security.

This year, the theme of the World Food Day was “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty” which aims to sensitise the people about eradicating rural poverty and ensuring food protection for all.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) celebrates the World Food Day on 16 October, the day on which the Organization was founded in 1945.

The day was marked by day long activities, including debate, poster, essay writing and food cooking competitions, organised by PMAS-AAUR in collaboration with GROW and Indus Consortium.

PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad was the chief guest on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, VC Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad stressed the need for focusing on value addition of agricultural produce and said that there was dire need to enhance the efforts in this regard to ensure the food security and alleviate the hunger. He said that a lot of work has been done in production side but it is a need of time to address other co-related issues like crop management and post harvest losses.

He stressed the need for improving the per acre crop out-put by utilising innovative technologies as well as addressing the farm management issues.

While talking about the World Food Day, he said that main purpose to celebrate World Food Day is to make efforts for a healthy and energetic society. He further said that this day also provided an opportunity for academia and industry to come together and find sustainable solutions to the situation of food insecurity, safety, hunger and malnutrition.

He urged the scientists of the university to play their role to create awareness in farming community about the latest techniques in the agriculture to make Pakistan a food sufficient country.

While visiting different stalls of food cooking competition, he lauded the performance of the students and highlighted the importance of pure and nutritious food. He called upon the students to adopt agri-sector as career for making the country a food safe and secure country and rapid economic development for the country.

In poster contest Ambreen won the 1st position, Mehwish Jaben 2nd position while Saiqa Umer got 3rd position. In food cooking contest, Group of MSc Food Technology got 1st position, BSC (hons 7th semester) group got 2nd Position while BSC (hons 5th semester) group got 3rd position. In essay writing competition, Irum Jamil, Arslan Anjum and Amna Rehman got first, second and third positions, respectively.

In debate competition, Muhammad Usman secured first, while Ameer Maovia and Muhammad Waleed stood second and third, respectively.

At the end, VC Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad gave away certificates to the winners of competitions.