Tell me something about yourself please?
I am Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan, a horticulturist/botanist by profession, currently serving as Vice Chancellor of University of Agriculture. I have a distinguished career spanning more than forty years. I am a graduate of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, and the University of California, Riverside, USA.I have supervised more than seventy graduate students including fourteen PhDs. My students and research associates have achieved significant positions in academia and industry. I have undertaken forty-four research projects and published 375 articles and books. I served as vice-chancellor of two universities for more than nine years and founded five new universities and district campuses (2008–2017). I have also established several national and international research centers and institutes, including a Chinese Confucius Institute and a Bio-Energy Institute. I have also served as COP/Director US-Pak Center of Advanced Studies (2017–2019) and Ela Bhatt Professor at the University of Kassel, Germany (2020).My research on wheat, potato, citrus, mango, and dates has benefitted the industry and significantly improved the life and livelihood of farmers and rural communities. I am a Distinguished National Professor and a Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. I am awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz for my services by the President of Pakistan and Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the French Government for my international contribution to education.
What is your opinion about Food insecurity in Pakistan?
The food insecurity is rising at an alarming rate in Pakistan. Pakistan is facing mild to moderate food insecurity and desiring intermediate interventions to resist the figures from rising.
What are the basic Guidelines to overcome food insecurity?
Food security can be improved if we only intensify our production technology and marketing reforms.
Do you see this as a problem on the national scale?
Of course, I consider this is a serious problem and imminent danger for our future generation. In my opinion, the lack of good governance and policy failure are the causes of this problem which can be mediated by putting our efforts into research and development.
What do you see as the most at-risk population in Pakistan? And What are some of the main problems in Pakistan that cause food insecurity/hunger?
The people of rural and peri-urban areas are at high risk of incidence of food insecurity. The inequality of distribution of resources, opportunities and poverty leads to substandard living followed by inadequate nutrition and food insecurity in the society.
Can you name a few organizations that provide food support for people in Pakistan as well?
There are several organizations currently working in the country with an aim to provide safe and healthy food options and access to affordable food. The organizations include Ehsas program, different NGOs, and last but not the least are neighbors who can put a watch on people around them, facing food insecurity
Do you coordinate with other organizations?
Yes, we coordinate with other organizations in different ways and overlap our ideas and research outputs for the betterment of society and this coordination can be improved by better provincial and federal reviews of the existing systems.
In the end, describe the future ways to provide food security in Pakistan.
Being an agrarian economy, the country needs to focus and work on the serious issue. Pakistan clearly has to invest in its research and development sectors to provide people with safe food options at an affordable price. Overpopulation is the enabling factor worsening the situation.