ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday chaired a meeting on agriculture at Prime Minister’s Office, where has was informed that the country’s agriculture has been stagnant for past many decades and little work was done to assist the farmers in crop diversification, enhancement of yields and mechanization of the agriculture sector.
It was informed that research functions were totally ignored in the past, resulting in overall deterioration of the sector, while low agricultural output resulted in greater reliance on import thus soaring up the import bill.
The prime minister was also informed that the existing trend could be effectively checked and reversed with short-term measures while work on long-term strategy could be started immediately with concerted efforts of all stakeholders.
The prime minister was given a detailed briefing on the existing situation vis-à-vis wheat, rice and sugarcane crop along with a comparative analysis with the neighboring countries and other producers with regards to production, exports and imports.
The PM was informed that as part of the government’s agenda of placing greater focus on the agriculture sector, various projects were being planned to increase crop yield and productivity, to shift focus towards exports and encouraging crop diversification. The projects included increase in yields of major crops and adoption of oilseeds; optimum utilization of water resources; harnessing untapped potential of fisheries; restructuring of livestock business model; transforming agriculture produce markets and increasing access to finance for the farmers.
Expressing concern over the existing state of affairs, the prime minister said that boosting agricultural sector was a major agenda of the PTI government. He said that there was a need to support farmers and help them adopt best practices along with requisite support in provision of finances and mechanization process.
The prime minister said that Pakistan could greatly benefit from the Chinese expertise in the agriculture sector, adding that strengthening of cooperation with China in agriculture would be one of the priority agenda of his forthcoming visit.