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Mar 21, 2012

Pakistan Inaugurates New Food Security Ministry, National Zero Hunger Program, Annual Wheat Donation to the WFP

On 21 March 2012, Pakistan's Prime Minister Syed Gilani announced the creation of a new National Zero Hunger Programme, a new Ministry of Food Security and Research (MFSR) and a commitment to donate  wheat to the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) on an annual basis.  This donation could total up to 500,000 metric tons of wheat and has an estimated value of US$144 million.  

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani
announcing National Zero Hunger Program 3/21/12
Photo: Pakistan News
Pakistan's National Zero Hunger Programme is a commitment to work with UN agencies and donors and learn from their experience how other nations are working to eradicate hunger and malnutrition.  Shafqat Hussain Nagmi, MFSR Secretary said that his goal is to "reach 12 million food insecure people in one year which are 20 percent of total affected population with a cost of US$1.04 billion, of which US$200 million is sanctioned by government of Pakistan while rest will be contributed by donors and other sources of funding. He said in five years. a total of 61 million people will be reached with total cost of 16 billion dollars."

In his speech inaugurating this new program, Prime Minister Gilani noted some of Pakistan's recent agricultural production achievements in the past 4 years:
  • "wheat production has reached its highest level of 25 millions tons, with an exportable surplus and country is now recognized as net wheat exporting country; 
  • sugar production is at record 63 million tons, and for the fist time, Pakistan is exporting 5 million tons of sugar; 
  • Cotton and rice have also grown quickly."
It will be the WFP's task to distribute the in-kind wheat donation to vulnerable groups throughout the Pakistan.  WFP must prioritize and evaluate which districts need the food the most.  There are an estimated six million malnourished children, pregnant women and primary school children who are in the first priority group. The wheat may be converted into a variety of products, all processed in Pakistan.  This includes fortified wheat flour, high energy biscuits and fortified pastes. 

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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