Food security information system in works

Published August 9, 2022
HYDERABAD: Women prepare sugarcane before transporting to mills. The government aims to help sustain national food security by enhancing the agriculture sector’s resilience to natural disasters and the ability to achieve national targets for agricultural growth.—APP
HYDERABAD: Women prepare sugarcane before transporting to mills. The government aims to help sustain national food security by enhancing the agriculture sector’s resilience to natural disasters and the ability to achieve national targets for agricultural growth.—APP

ISLAMABAD: A ‘future-ready food security information system’ is being developed at the Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFSR) to monitor the supply, demand, and prices of essential agricultural food commodities and their seasonal availability for policy feedback and decision-making.

The ministry intends to integrate its proposed Pakistan Food Security Infor­mation System (PFSIS) with the UN FAO’s Food Security and Nutrition Infor­mation System (FSNIS), with the aim of establishing a single source of information which will be used by all internal and external stakeholders. This is to be achieved by designing an easy-to-use decision support system (DSS) with projection and forecasting models using both current and historical data.

The MNFSR has requested the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to conduct a technical assessment of the possibility of integrating its food security portal with the FSNIS. The technical assessment will support the ministry in adopting the best way forward for integrating the two systems and provide direction for setting up the single-source data bank and DSS, linked with a web portal for monitoring, decision and policy making, and sharing of reliable information with its stakeholders and the general public.

Official sources told Dawn that ADB has agreed to provide technical assistance to the ministry since the business requirements of PFSIS are higher-level statements of the goals and objectives or needs of the enterprise for an intended system.

Dashboard will have data on food price monitoring, stock releases

The FSNIS, which is currently in the works, has historical data from 1947 to 2020 and current data on agriculture, food security, and nutrition in Pakistan. The FSNIS is currently focusing on providing information to the general public, whereas the PFSIS is currently geared only for policy and decision-makers.

The MNFSR’s food security dashboard will be linked with food price monitoring data and provide information about daily prices, stocks, stock releases, import and export dates, and changes in prices of 24 food commodities. The dashboard is a template and work on it is on hold, the ADB assessment report says.

The ADB’s knowledge and support for technical assistance Strengthening Food Security Post-Covid-19 and Loc­ust Attacks is an effort to strengthen Pakistan’s food security and resilience in agriculture.

The aim is to help sustain national food security by enhancing the agriculture sector’s resilience to natural disasters and the ability to achieve national targets for agricultural growth. The ministry’s institutional capacity will also be strengthened to manage a sustainable food security system.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2022

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