ISLAMABAD: The Asian Productivity Organisation (APO) has developed a smart Agricultural Transformation Framework that will help member countries, including Pakistan, to develop their country-specific framework.

The framework aims to meet multiple goals simultaneously: poverty reduction, food security, improved nutrition, climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, environmental sustainability, and empowerment of women.

The framework was introduced at a five-day workshop of value-added agriculture organised by the National Productivity Organisation in collaboration with the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation.

According to the framework, food security and public health have a direct correlation and are important indicators of the quality of life in a country while reflecting its economic development status.

It aims at poverty reduction, food security, climate change mitigation and empowerment of women

Economic access to a healthy diet is a key parameter indicating the overall status of a society and the affordability of quality of food as well as other aspects of food safety and sufficiency in an indicator of the status of the agriculture sector and its efficiency.

In Pakistan, major challenges faced are the lack of knowledge of the links between productivity tools and techniques and real-world problems at the firm level, minimum exposure to the latest information on organisational management techniques to boost productivity at the micro-organisational level, and better regulatory management in relation to productivity enhancement.

NPO Chief Executive Officer Abdul Ghaffar Khattak explained at the workshop that any efforts to address these challenges should be carried out systematically, continuous in nature, employing an integrated approach to embrace all sectors.

Concerted efforts are needed to equip national human resource with sufficient productivity knowledge to transform Pakistan into a productivity-driven economy, he added.Experts from Malaysia and Sri Lanka along with locals having experience in agriculture are conducting the workshop. They shared their experiences and knowledge with participants from Pakistan and nine other countries.

The demand for food will continue to grow in the Asia-Pacific region, where more than 4.3 billion of the 7.7 billion world population resides.

Global population has been estimated to reach around 10 billion by 2050 with Asia continuing to be home to more than half of that. The APO future food initiative contributes to sustainable food security in member countries in cooperation with global professionals and key stakeholders in the future food industry by promoting food alternatives, innovative future food technologies and systems.

The availability of critical natural resources such as land and water for agricultural and food production has been declining at a steady pace in most APO member countries.

This widening gap between food demand and the natural resources available to support agriculture, climate change and extreme weather conditions, and social issues like changing rural demographics and aging populations pose a serious threat to future food security.

The workshop is reviewing recent developments and emerging global trends in value-added agriculture. The participants will assess policies and programmes as well as new technologies and successful models of value addition to agricultural commodities for making efficient use of raw materials.

They will identify key challenges in promoting value-added agriculture in member countries and possible solutions as well as formulate strategic action plans for dissemination and adoption of successful value-added agriculture models.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2019

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