Islamabad April 23: ………………President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr. Mammon Husain has said that the Federal Ministry of National Food Security and Research in consultation with Provinces is finalizing National Food and Nutrition Security Policy focusing four main policy features; sustainable food availability, food accessibility, food utilization, nutrition and stability in food supplies while vision of the policy is healthy and active life. This he said while addressing the august gathering on the occasion of commemorating 50 years of Pakistan-US cooperation in Agriculture and Celebrating Dr. Borlaug’s 100th Birthday here on Wednesday.
It is to be notedthat Dr. Norman Borlaug was a legendary CIMMYT scientist who developed high-yielding, semi-dwarf wheat variety that is credited with saving over 1 billion people from starvation. Borlaug’s wheat variety was grown in Mexico, Turkey, India and Pakistan, avoiding famine in South Asia and sparking wide spread adoption of improved crop varieties and farming practices. Dr. Norman Ernest Borlaug was born on 25th March 1914 and died on 12th September, 2009. He was an American biologist, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a father of the Green Revolution.” He was also awarded with Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Further he was awarded India’s second-highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan. On last March 25, a statue of Dr. Borlaug was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall.
Speaking on this occasion, President said that Pakistan’s Government attaches high priority to agriculture sector and connected research agenda. The Government of Pakistan is committed to the development of Pakistan’s agriculture sector and is working in close collaboration with international partners to improve productivity and food security, to increase farmers incomes and stimulate overall economic growth. The joint ventures between Pakistan, CIMMYT and USDA have a long history of agricultural cooperation that spans more than five decades and continues today.
The President said that there is great need for investment in agriculture sector to ensure food security and poverty alleviation in Pakistan.
Speaking to august gathering the President said that International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT)’s, role is equally remarkable as it provided a springboard to Dr. Borlaug’s outreach. He said that there are a few people in the history of mankind who bring about a metamorphosis in the lives of human beings. Dr. Borlaug was not just an eminent scientist, scholar or humanitarian, he was gifted to crisscross the orthodox parameters which measure human achievements, he added. He said he spread his intellectual and creative tentacles across the globe was tremendous contribution to food deficient countries.
President said that he developed numerous new wheat varieties that were disease resistant and were also high yielding.
President welcomed the Dr. Borlaug’s daughter Dr. Jeanie Borlaug Laube on behalf of Government of Pakistan. He eulogized his father’s contribution who I am sure is looking down on all of us from heavens with a broad smile. Being the premier beneficiary of Dr. Borlaug’s scientific expeditions, Pakistan is hugely indebted to him, he added.
President acknowledged tremendous contribution of the United States in extending substantial help to Pakistan in the field of agriculture, capacity building and knowledge sharing. He said this enabled my country to embark upon new paradigm which sought enrichment of expertise, research and productivity enhancement. He congratulated the organizers of this event which commemorates the contribution of Dr. Borlaug towards humanity. He also highlights US Pakistan relations particularly in the field of collaborative efforts in agriculture for which we are very grateful to the American people.
President congratulated organizers of PARC (Dr. M Munir Gorarya, Focal Person), USDA and CIMMYT representatives to organize this august ceremony in a befitting manner.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) Mr. Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosanhas said that Pakistan got immense improvement in food security after the introduction of high yielding wheat variety (Mexipak) by Dr. Borlaug combined with modern agricultural production techniques that boosted agricultural production tremendously. He said Dr. Norman Borlaug not only introduced high yielding wheat variety in Pakistan but also in other food deficient countries. As a result these countries got self sufficiency in wheat and some countries got export status, he added. He further said that the efforts made by Dr. Norman Borlaug though out his life are commendable and great honor. Sikandar Hayat Bosan presented salutes to Dr. Norman Borlaug for the role he played to bring Green revolution in the food deficient countries in agricultural sector.
Speaking at this occasion Federal Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R), Mr. Seerat Asgharsaid that Pakistan needs a broad based agricultural development, which is critical for raising living standards, alleviating poverty, assuring food security, generating buoyant market for expansion of industry and services, and making substantial contribution to the national economic growth. He said fellow policy makers, scientists and all the stakeholders to join hands to fulfill the dreams of Dr. Norman Borlaug. We need to extinguish the burning flames from the lives of poor and malnourished masses and to provide them food security, he added.
In a welcome address Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad Chairman, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) welcomed Ms. Jeanie Borlaug for gracing this occasion by coming all the way from US and appreciated efforts of PARC, CIMMYT and USDA and support staffs who have worked vigorously in successfully organizing Borlaug event in Islamabad. He said that Government of Pakistan has already decided to develop a Borlaug Research Institute in Pakistan at NARC where land has been allocated to commemorate the Borlaug’s contributions towards the “Green Revolution” in the region.
Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad appraised the audience that the daughter of Dr. Norman Borlaug Ms. Jeanie Borlaug Laube has already inaugurated the establishment of Borlaug Institute for South Asia at NARC Campus, Islamabad in recognition of Dr. Borlaug achievements in agriculture sector.
Speaking on the occasion Mr Richard Olson, US Ambassador for Pakistansaid US continue support the agricultural R&D activities in Pakistan. He said Dr. Borlaug story is a long collaboration between Pakistan-US in agriculture development.
At this occasion Dr. Amir Muhammad, Founding Chairman PARC highlighted the PARC role in Research in International Perspective, Dr. Tom Lumpkin, DG (CIMMYT) highlighted CIMMY-Pakistan Collaboration, Dr. Kay Simmons, USDA-ARS Deputy Administrator highlighted USDA collaboration with Pakistan, Past and Present, Mr. Clay Hamilton, USDA Agriculture Counselor highlighted USDA strategic plants for Wheat Research in Pakistan, Ms Jeanie Borlaug Laube, Chairperson Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) and daughter of Dr. Borlaug also addressed the ceremony.
On this occasion Dr. Borlaug lifetime achievements awards were awarded to Dr. Amir Muhammad, Founding Chairman PARC, Late Dr. Sardar A Qureshi and Late Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Bajwa.
At the end, President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan presented shield to daughter of Dr. Borlaug Ms. Jeanie Borlaug Laube and Ms. Jeanie also presented a shield to the President of Pakistan.
( Sardar Ghulam Mustafa )