The government will set up a food security management body


ISLAMABAD:

The federal government decided on Thursday to set up a national food safety management committee headed by the prime minister to get the fastest data.

He issued the Food Safety and Food Safety Information Ordinance 2021, under which an officer who failed to provide data could face up to six months in prison or a fine.

The Food Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, will be set up under the ordinance.

The other members of the committee will include the chief ministers and chief secretaries of the provinces.

The body will meet at least twice a year and will formulate and oversee the implementation of the national food security policy.

The committee will exchange information related to essential items and food safety at federal and provincial levels in a timely and expeditious manner.

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A dashboard will be set up at the central and provincial levels for the exchange of information.

According to sources, the order had to be issued because the provinces did not provide data on agricultural production in a timely manner.

Receiving crop data on time will help overcome the crisis situation.

Sanctions have also been proposed for the officers concerned for not providing harvest data in a timely manner.

It takes several days to acquire culture data from traditional correspondence.

The statistics will be updated weekly on the dashboard created under the ordinance.

The ordinance also empowers the federal government to determine the prices of essential products, including wheat and sugar.

There will be an executive committee, which will be chaired by the Federal National Secretary for Food Safety and Research.

The executive committee will meet once a month to ensure the implementation of decisions made by the management committee, the sources added.

“The idea was that there should be an institutional mechanism that would monitor prices and ensure a centralized database of essential products,” according to an official from the national Ministry of Food Security and Research.

The sources said the Justice Department initially opposed the idea due to constitutional limitations, as the subjects of agriculture and price controls fell under provincial jurisdiction. They said the Ministry of Law only accepted the proposal after being strongly pushed by the prime minister’s office.

Prime Minister Imran Khan recently authorized the withdrawal of the subsidy on wheat flour for urban consumers and agreed to increase the exit price of the commodity to flour mills by over 32% to 1,950 rupees per 40 kg by due to limited fiscal space.

“The output price for wheat has been set at Rs 1,950 per 40 kg,” Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said earlier this week at a press conference held to explain the reasons for the surge in inflation and public debt.

The output price of wheat in the last season was Rs 1,475 per 40 kg. Provincial governments supply wheat to flour mills from their stocks at the exit price.

Provincial governments supply wheat to flour mills at controlled prices to ensure the availability of flour at relatively reasonable rates.

Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, special assistant to the prime minister responsible for food security, said the decision to set the output price of wheat at 1,950 rupees per 40 kg was taken at a meeting chaired by the prime minister. Representatives of provincial governments also participated.


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