16 October 2019, Islamabad: World Food Day 2019 was marked at the National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC) in Islamabad by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) together with the Ministry of National Food Security Research, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), World Food Programme (WFP), Oxfam and research institutes. The theme for this year was “Our actions are our future. Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World”. The day which also marked the 74th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s founding, and brought together key stakeholders including government representatives, development partners, UN agencies and farmer communities.
The speakers at the event stressed on the need for action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible and affordable to everyone. It was further pointed out that achieving hunger is not only about addressing hunger but also nourishing people, while nurturing the planet. This year, World Food Day called on everyone to start thinking about what we eat.
Globally the number of undernourished people is on the rise again and same is the case in Pakistan. More than 820 million people in the world, or roughly one in nine people, are going hungry, which in Pakistan is 40.0 million people.
“The ministry under the instructions of Prime Minister has started various projects pertaining to agriculture that encompasses wheat and rice too. The current projects will guide the farming communities of Pakistan in better production technologies that will increase their production levels,” said Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Islamabad. Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan, Chairman, PARC stressed on the strengthening the efforts for food security, and increase access to sufficient amount of food was ley to promoting and sustaining good health. The Chairman, PARC further added that World Food Day is celebrated in 150 countries each year, bringing together governments, businesses, NGOs, media agencies, civil society organizations and the general public, and call for action to achieve SDG2 - Zero Hunger by 2030.
FAO Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Minà Dowlatchahi stated that “This year World Food Day echoes messages raised in the UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI 2019) and calls for action to make healthy diets available to all, with the slogan “Our actions are our future. Healthy diets for a zero hunger world.”
“World Food Day is an opportunity to strengthen the global commitment towards Zero Hunger – one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by 193 countries. The SDGs commit us to work together to end hunger and promote health diets by 2030, here in Pakistan and around the world,” pointed our Finabarr Curran, Representative and Country Director WFP Pakistan.
Mr. Mohammad Qazilbash, Country Director OXFAM Pakistan while delivering his message said that it was important to seize the opportunity for change and set course towards a new prosperity, in an age of cooperation rather than competition, in which the wellbeing of the many will be ensured.
The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Pakistan Mr. Knut Ostby also attended the ceremony and read the message from the United Nations Secretary General for World Food Day. Various events marking the day were held across the country.
Dr. Ghulam Muhammd Ali, Director General NARC paid vote of thanks in the end and said that with the collaboration of international partners we will cope with food security by working together.
Incharge (PR&P) PARC