Khusro Bakhtiar, US Ambassador discuss food security

ISLAMABAD: The Ambassador of the United States of America Paul W Jones called on Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar and discussed the matter of mutual interest and agriculture development.

Agricultural Counselor Rey Santella and USAID Director of Rural and Economic Development Office Jeff Goebel were also present.

In the meeting, various areas and prospective potentials for agro cooperation were discussed. Pakistan has a history of collaboration with the United States through USAID.

The minister said that the agriculture sector was vital for Pakistan’s economy and GDP growth. He added that the government was looking forward to a healthy cooperation in the agro sector for mutual benefits.

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The minister further said that Pakistan had huge halal meat production and it could enter into the world market through US support in terms of SPS and JVs could also be established to that effect.

He said that we were focusing on mutual collaboration by providing an enabling platform in the public sector.

He added that the incumbent government had launched history’s largest agriculture development programme worth over Rs3 billion, which shows our commitment to the revival of this sector.

Khusro Bakhtiar told the US Ambassador that in order to achieve high yield through accurate scientific means would enable us to plan the crop sowing priorities and to meet the challenges of production especially enhancing cotton, pulses, and edible oil growth indigenously for there was a huge import bill of these commodities.

The US Ambassador said that it already had its footprints in Pakistan especially in the agriculture sector for soybean was exported here from the US, moreover, there were a number of projects in the livestock and dairy sector through USAID interventions.

Khusro Bakhtiar said that we were looking forward for cooperation in developing cold chain, value addition facilities in various horticulture products, dairy and meat.

He further said that joint ventures in these areas would be a convenient approach for unleashing the potential in a short span of time.

The ambassador said that the US was well aware that Pakistan was an important agricultural country. Exchange of technologies in agro field including cooperation in value addition, a public-private partnership would be welcomed by both sides.

He further added that the experts in various areas, for instance, dairy, livestock, fisheries could exchange visits for learning new technologies.

The ambassador said that he was grateful for the efforts rendered by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for facilitating the export of exotic dairy animals to Pakistan and also assured that he would pursue the matters discussed in the meeting rigorously.

USAID Director of Rural and Economic Development Office Jeff Goebel told the minister that for the purpose of USAID had separate department called Disaster System and if requested, officially it may intervene and provide support wherever needed.

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