Islamabad, January 22, 2019 (PPI-OT): Government of Pakistan hosted the 10th SAARC Food Bank Board Meeting today. Pakistan hosted the Meeting at its turn in alphabetical order amongst SAARC States after Nepal. This meeting had particular significance from the perspective of deliberations to work out recommendations for operationalizing the Bank. For this purpose international development partners working in the region may also be engaged. Dr. M. Hashim Popalzai, Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research during the inaugural Session of the meeting on 21st January, 2019 underscore the important role this Bank can play in supply of food grains in the region to achieve the goal of regional food security as our region is home to around 1/4th of the world population.
He said that all Members of the SAARC Food Bank can mutually work out the modalities for operationalizing the Bank with the support of SAARC Secretariat. He further said that Pakistan has surplus production of food grains that may be supplied in the region. The Board Meeting deliberated on various aspects of the Food Bank and Board Members from SAARC Member States including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka were actively engaged during the meeting.
Dr. Javed Humayun, Senior Joint Secretary being Nodal Point from Pakistan for the Bank chaired the Board meeting. Sahibzada Muhamnad Mahboob Sultan, Minister for National Food Security and Research also attended the Closing Ceremony of the meeting held on 22nd January, 2019 as Chief Guest. He said that SAARC countries are tied in several commonalities of culture, food and environment that can lead us in making joint efforts to our fight to end hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the region.
He urged upon the need to further make joint efforts to address the regional level challenges like climate change and also shifting of focus on enhancing intra-regional supply of food products. For this purpose SAARC Food Bank provides an excellent platform to its Member States to interact with each other for intra-regional Supply of food grains.
The Minister for NFSR also announced that the Government of Pakistan has doubled the quantum of wheat from 40,000 MT to 80,000 MT being maintained as Pakistan’s share for this Regional Food Bank, as per requirement. At the end of the meeting, the Minister for NFSR presented souvenirs to SAARC Food Bank Board Members. The other senior officials from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Pakistan Agriculture Research Council also attended the event.
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