SAARC-CCI calls for increasing investment in agri-research

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Islamabad: SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday urged the government for increasing investment in agriculture research to boost crop yield to strengthen food security in the country.

In a statement, President SAARC CCI, Iftikhar Ali Malik urged the government for granting interest free agricultural loans on soft terms and conditions to farmers at their doorsteps besides especial relief in water and power consumption.

Talking to a delegation of progressive farmers headed by Muzaffar Ali Sial, he asked the farmers to adopt scientific methods to enhance food grain production and reduce imports by using one-fifth of their farming land to cultivate lentils. Underlining the greater readiness to take the bold steps needed to build a prosperous future of Pakistan he has given the call for “Green Revolution”, in the country “which implies productivity improvement in perpetuity without ecological and social harm.

He said our farmers are still lagging behind in terms of availability of good quality seeds, adequate water, power, availability of proper price and market for their produce. “We need to deal with not only the way the world produces food but the way it is distributed, sold and consumed, and we need a green revolution that can boost yields by working with rather than against nature,” he added.

He noted that over half of the food produced today is lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human-managed food chain. “Unless we prepare a balanced and a comprehensive integrated plan, we will not be able to change the lives of farmers,” he added.

Stressing the urgent need for use of scientific methods for farming to increase productivity, Iftikhar said it was high time that the country goes for green revolution. Pakistan can save over $1.2 billion annually by encouraging the domestic edible oil sector, he added.

He was of the view that proper farming, production, processing and marketing of oilseeds can not only reduce dependence on imports but also help earn foreign exchange as Pakistan is located in the food deficient region.

Pitching for `per drop, more crop’, he stressed the need for research in the field of agriculture to determine the health of soil and its needs in terms of seeds, water quantity and amount of fertilization.

He also emphasized on the need to focus on enhancing food grain production by adopting scientific methods. “Research is important in the agriculture sector. And this cannot happen only in one place. We have to see how can we make our agriculture more scientific and increase productivity and solutions are there for these issues,” he added.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said agriculture, nutrition and health should be brought together in terms of design and delivery systems relating to public health and agriculture production.