FAISALABAD: Experts at a seminar held in connection with the World Food Day on Monday said heavy migration from rural to urban areas, ever-increasing population and conversion of agricultural land into residential colonies were posing a threat to food security.
The event was arranged by the Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Home Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and chaired by UAF Vice Chancellor Muhammad Iqbal Zafar.
The vice chancellor said rural development, provision of modern facilities in rural areas, and ensuring profitability of the agricultural sector would help address the issue of heavy rural-to-urban migration.
He said migration in large numbers from rural areas to cities was not only increasing the burden on urban settlements, but it was also causing a negative impact on the agricultural sector.
Highlighting malnutrition as a matter of grave concern, Zafar said despite being a food-abundant country, 50% of Pakistan’s population suffered from malnutrition.
Urging increased awareness of balanced usage of food, the vice chancellor said adopting simple food habits would help improve the situation.
“The threat to food security cannot be mitigated only by a variable increase in the production of food alone, but by efforts aimed at improving access to food sources and to make it affordable for the people,” Zafar said.
Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Home Sciences Dean Masood Sadiq Butt claimed that 50% of women and children in Pakistan were malnourished, adding malnourishment in the country led to stunted growth in 43% of the children below five years of age with 31% being underweight.
Butt called Pakistan a nutrient-deficient country, highlighting low affordability of nutritious food as the main issue. He said food diversity was essential for mitigating malnutrition, pointing out that UAF had kicked off a BS programme in Human Nutrition and Dietetics to produce skilled manpower.
Source Express Tribune