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Balochistan govt curious about making an excellent Nutrition and Food Security strategy

By: Saeed Yousuf

Quetta: Additional Chief Secretary (P&D) Balochistan Dr. Umar Khan Babar has said that Balochistan government is very curious about  making an excellent Nutrition and Food Security strategy and will appreciate any positive move or recommendations from the stake holders. He said this on Wednesday while addressing the ‘Strategic Review on Food Security & Nutrition, Balochistan Provincial Consultation Round II’.

The event was organized by P&D Government of Balochistan, Federal government& UN world Food program.  WFP country Director & One UN OP II SPA-6 Convener Mr. Finbarr Curran, Chief of Section and SUN focal person Government of Balochistan Mr. Shah Jahan Khan Achakzai, Chief of Section Foreign Aid Mr. Mujeeb ur Rehman , UNDP Balochistan Mr. Zulfiqar Durrani, INGOs, NGOs, Civil Society, Academia, Government officials and others  participated in the event.

On the occasion ACS Balochistan Dr. Umar Khan Babar said “Government has taken pragmatic various steps to overcome this global phenomenon of food security and nutrition starvation by the underdeveloped countries.”

 He added that  Balochistan government had created a scaling up nutrition cell in the P&D department which was  working in a right direction under the focal person and Chief of Section Mr. Shahjahan Khan Achakzai. 

The main scope for conducting this consultation seminar was to sketch a draft for making a strategy for Balochistan in food security and Nutrition that will be very helpful in making futuristic policies and development programs in the forthcoming times. 

In the technical sessions Dr. Stephen briefed the participants on ‘Consultative process on Food security’ and Mr. Shujaat Zaidi  on ‘Nutrition’.

Dr. Stephen Davies, Senior Research fellow IFPRI, and team leader strategic review said “ In Balochistan food secure is 36.5%, food insecure without hunger 33.9%, food insecure with hunger moderate 18% & food with hunger severe 11.5%. He further elaborated that annual growth rate of urbanization in Balochistan is 0.9% while Pakistan has 3.6%. Nearly 85% of the population in Balochistan takes more than 3 hours to a major city, access to drinking water is also a problem, 31% of households had toilet facilities, and road access is also a major problem.” 

Adding more, he said that Balochistan was producing enough to feed the population however exports of agricultural, livestock products were essential. “Balochistan has also climate change related threats to food security along with governance gaps in resource distribution.” He added.

In nutrition side technical expertise said that the projected population of Balochistan in the year 2017 is 19million while in Pakistan it is 205 million. Infant Mortality rate is 97 deaths/1000 live births, less than 5 mortality rate is 111 deaths/1000 live births, total literacy rate is 44%, female literacy rate is 24.2%, and employment in services is 35.3%, Industry 14.3%, Agriculture 50.4%. He said that in the nutrition side we are lagging behind in many indicators. 

On last the UN WFP Country Director Mr. Finbarr Curran said that UN would  be available in provision of technical and other expertise to Balochistan. He appreciated the overall performance of government of Balochistan steps in curbing the food insecurity and scaling up Nutrition in the remote areas of Balochistan.

Published in The Balochistan Point on January 11, 2017

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