‘Early warning system’ being developed to counter food inflation: minister

ISLAMABAD: National Food Security and Research Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said on Thursday that the government was focused on curbing food inflation and that a robust “early warning system” would be developed in this regard.

He said that Pakistan, being an agrarian economy, was largely a food secured country, but the challenge of food inflation emerged recurrently due to gaps in demand and supply management system.

The minister was talking to World Bank Country Director Illango Patchamuthu and Regional Director John Roome.

Bakhtiar said the government was looking to vertically promote the growth of cotton with high-quality seed and pest management.

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He hoped that the government and the bank would enhance their agricultural cooperation to achieve short-term and long-term growth agendas.

“Short-term collaboration may include designing a model of Early Warning System (EWS) for management of food inflation; EWS will save the interests of both farmers and consumers. Long-term collaboration may be worked out in other common areas of interest like water management, fisheries, and climate-smart agriculture.”

The minister further shared that the government was also committed to rationalizing agricultural subsidies to ensure the diffusion of their benefit to the farming community.

Speaking on the occasion, Illango Patchamuthu apprised that the bank was in process of hiring an agriculture expert for Pakistan. Furthermore, he added, a team of experts on agriculture was likely to visit Pakistan in a couple of weeks.

The minister appreciated the bank’s commitment for collaboration with the government for agricultural development in the country.

The two sides agreed to continue further discussions to develop future roadmap for agricultural cooperation.

Patchamuthu said the WB would like to work in close collaboration with the government on the commonalities like climate-smart agriculture, high-value crops, and water management.

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