ISLAMABAD: Describing agriculture as central to human survival, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday proposed a five-point agenda to end world poverty and hunger by investing in sustainable agricultural development, ensuring affordable and affordable prices. food rights, applying new technologies and rethinking patterns of consumption and food production.
“I further propose that a new strategy for the production and consumption of sustainable food should be considered and approved at the Food Systems Summit next year,” he said as he addressed the inaugural session of the Board of Directors of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). held in Rome, Italy, in virtual format.
The Prime Minister, in his keynote address, also spoke about the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economies of various countries, especially those in developing countries. He also shared with participants Pakistan’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of poor people, including the historic $ 8 billion aid package provided by his government during the pandemic.
Proposing a five-point agenda to end poverty and hunger, the prime minister said governments should first invest in sustainable agricultural infrastructure to facilitate the production, transport and distribution of agricultural inputs and food products. The Green Roads created by China was a good example, he added.
Second, he said, governments need to ensure reasonable and fair prices of agricultural and food products. The so-called market magic must be balanced by the visible hand of the state.
Mr Khan said farmers should not be left at the mercy of corporations. At the same time, international trade in agriculture needs to be rationalized.
Third, Imran Khan said, new technologies and farming techniques and advances need to be implemented to increase food production, ensure efficient use of water and land, and improve seed quality. IFAD and the Food and Agriculture Organization can play a major role in that context, he added.
Fourth, said the Prime Minister, the adoption of digital technologies was as vital in agriculture as in other economic sectors. Providing broadband internet access in rural areas would be vital to their integration into national and global supply chains.
Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, we need to rethink our patterns of consumption and food production. We can eat better and many of us would do well to eat less. We can produce food with the greatest respect for nature. We can stop the pollution of our lakes, rivers and oceans. We can produce more with less water and without hazardous chemicals, he said.
He said the World Food Program had warned of the risk of famine in some of the poorest countries and conflict zones. The world was facing numerous challenges in recovering from the pandemic and achieving the first two vital Goals of Sustainable Development without Poverty and Zero Hunger, he added.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic and climate crisis should carry home the message to all rich and poor, weak or strong that their fates were intertwined.
We will die or survive together. The concepts of geo-strategic adversaries, of regional or global domination, of the political advantages of foreign intervention and occupation, and of the oppression of peoples are outdated and will soon be seen as irrelevant, he noted.
The Prime Minister stressed the need to have a common plan and strategy for global recovery and the survival and prosperity of all mankind.
Mr Khan recalled that in response to the recession triggered by the Covid-19 crisis, he had proposed a Global Debt Relief Initiative last April and said the debt suspension announced by the G-20 and emergency borrowing programs had provided a breathing space, but recent estimates showed that developing countries needed $ 4.3 trillion to recover from the pandemic and achieve the goals of sustainable development, he added.
IFAD President Gilbert F Houngbo, Angolan President Joao Manuel Goncalves Lourenco and Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio also addressed the inaugural ceremony of the 44th two-day IFAD Governing Council session.
Published in Agim, 18 February 2021
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