Economics & Business South Asian Affairs

Food shortages: SAARC should address the problem

ISLAMABAD: President of Pakistan Economy Watch Dr. Murtaza Mughal has said Food shortages have hit the whole globe and it is high time for SAARC to hold a high profile food summit to address the problem. He said the grouping should also bring its Food Bank into operation as soon as possible. Four SAARC members including Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka have already ratified the declaration of the food bank. “Rest four countries that are Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan, of the regional grouping should ratify the declaration soon,” PEW president said in a statement issued on monday.

The decision to develop a food bank for the region was taken in April 2007 at the last summit of the SAARC. In view of the experience of food crisis in the region and other countries of the world since 2007 the decision to develop a food bank for the region was a prudent and farsighted one. The recent experience also has taught that if the decision was taken some years ago and implemented the region would not have suffered such a food crisis.

“It has now become an urgent task for the SAARC to establish the proposed food bank to store the targeted two million tones of cereal rice and wheat,” said Mughal. Food crisis has not remained confined only to the SAARC region. It has become a global problem for a host of reasons, he added. “In that backdrop, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has warned nations that food price globally will come down only a little and furthermore, very slowly. Hence, all nations of the world, especially the Third World ones have to be very careful,” the statement said further.

Analysts and forecasters are one that even if money is available food may not be available in the international market at the time of dire need. SAARC is a relatively underdeveloped but most populous region in the world. So, accumulation of food grain reserve should be a topmost concern for the member countries. During the last summit held in India it was thousand times pledged to be more active to protect the interest of the member countries.-SANA

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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