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Rich countries must announce debt relief for poor countries: PM Imran – Pakistan

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Posted Feb 17, 2021 5:41 PM

He said more than 100 million children were suffering from malnutrition around the world.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that the world’s population will soon reach 8 billion and more than 20 countries around the world face food shortages.

Speaking to the International Fund for Agricultural Development via video link on Wednesday, he said agriculture was a basic condition for human survival, adding that more than 100 million children were suffering from malnutrition.

The Prime Minister said the world faces many challenges in the fight against the coronavirus, adding that either we will all end or overcome the challenges together.

He said he had launched a campaign of loan concessions for poor countries affected by the pandemic.

“Poor countries need economic stability to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis and rich countries should announce debt relief for poor countries,” he added.

Imran Khan called for investing in the development of sustainable agriculture, ensuring adequate and fair prices for food products, applying new technologies and rethinking patterns of food consumption and production.

“I further propose that a new strategy for sustainable food production and consumption be considered and adopted at next year’s Food Systems Summit,” said Imran Khan.

He also shared with the participants Pakistan’s experiences and efforts to alleviate the suffering of the poor, including the historic US $ 8 billion relief package donated by his government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister, while proposing the Five Point Agenda to End Poverty and Hunger, said the first step was to invest in sustainable agricultural infrastructure – to facilitate transport, production and distribution agricultural inputs and food products.

The “greenways” created by China are a good example, ”he added.

Second, he said, governments need to more actively ensure adequate and fair prices for agricultural and food products. The so-called “market magic” should be counterbalanced by the highly visible hand of the state, he added.

The Prime Minister said: “In Pakistan, we have suffered from market manipulation by monopolists and stockists.”

“Farmers should not be left at the mercy of business. At the same time, international agricultural trade needs to be streamlined. Huge agricultural subsidies provided by some richer economies distort world markets and prevent farmers in developing countries from being competitive, ”he noted.

Third, said Imran Khan, new and revolutionary agricultural technologies and techniques must be consciously applied to improve food production; ensuring efficient use of water and land; and above all to improve the quality of seeds.

IFAD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) could play a major role in this context, he added.

Fourth, the prime minister said the adoption of digital technologies is as vital in agriculture as it is in other economic sectors. Ensuring internet and broadband access to rural areas would be vital for their integration into national and global supply chains, he added.

“Fifth, and perhaps most important, we need to rethink how we consume and produce food. We can eat better, and many of us would do well to eat less. We can produce food with greater respect for nature. We can stop the pollution of our lakes, rivers and oceans. We can produce more with less water and without dangerous chemicals, ”he said.

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