KARACHI – Lockdown and rescue and stimulus package announced by the government are laudable steps but they are insufficient to tackle the emergency, a business leader said Wednesday.
Steps to improve purchasing power of masses and provision of affordable edibles to fulfil their nutritional needs is equally important, said Shahid Rasheed Butt former President ICCI.
More than half of the population lacks access to the food that can develop their nutrition and strengthen immunity against disease and viruses, he said.
Inadequate dietary intake is already leading to increasing disease burden, large-scale malnutrition and stunting in Pakistan which must be accepted as a challenge without further delay, he added.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the government should take steps to reduce prices of the food items to improve overall food security situation in the country, which has become imperative.
He said that the struggling agriculture sector must be supported through provision of quality and affordable seeds, urea, insecticides and cheap loans.
Moreover, export of meat, mutton, poultry, fruits and vegetables and other edible items should be banned immediately, which will bring its prices down in the local market making it affordable for the poor, he added.
He noted that import duty on pulses, poultry feed and other food items should be abolished or reduced largely to help masses get healthy food on affordable prices which will increase their immunity against infectious disease.
He demanded that the hoarders and profiteers using the nationwide crisis for profits should be made an example for others.