ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikander Hayat Khan Bosan, has underscored the commitment of the government of Pakistan to ensure food and nutritional security at all levels to eradicate hunger and poverty.

While addressing a UN-sponsored conference titled “Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty and Hunger by Strengthening Rural Resilience, Social Protection and Sustainable Agricultural Development” in Rome, he said that the government has launched a “Zero Hunger and Family Farming Programme” on the Brazilian model to reach 61 million people across Pakistan.

While highlighting the long term vision of the government to improve the agriculture sector, he said that the Vision 2025 included a specific focus on promoting sustainable development by modernizing the agriculture sector.

He said that the Ministry for National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) was making concerted efforts to provide support to the farmers, particularly, smallholders. “Multiple initiatives had been taken to break the cycle of rural poverty and hunger. Special focus was being accorded to help farmers to adopt good agricultural practices in order to produce high quality, value added products which can access export markets and help farmers get higher returns on their produce,” he said.

The minister said that the government of Pakistan was also committed to providing social protection to the most vulnerable. The Benazir Income Support Programme has now become the largest social safety net programme in Pakistan’s history benefiting 4.7 million households.

He called upon the UN to play its role in assisting developing countries in implementing the Post 2015 Development Agenda for ensuring food security and nutrition, eradicating extreme poverty as well as for addressing the challenge of climate change