ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Special Committee on Agricultural Products on Friday presented an ‘integrated structural reforms-oriented agricultural growth strategy’ for the next seven years.
The presentation was made to a cabinet committee working on new the agriculture package at the Parliament House. Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar chaired the meeting.
In a bid to build national consensus on the proposed agricultural growth strategy, Asad Qaiser called for a close scrutiny of the entire strategy.
He said after presentation to the Sub-committee of Cabinet on Agriculture, the strategy would be presented to the prime minister and subsequently to the NA for debate.
The chief components of the strategy included special initiatives for Balochistan, South Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Tharparkar; cotton revival programme; oilseed development; low-cost refinance line of credit; digitisation of demand-driven extension content; integrated seed system; agricultural climate change insurance pool (farmer risk transfer mechanism/satellite-based crop reporting); establishment of agriculture development authority for coordination of reform implementation’ linkages with Ehsaas, Kamyab Jawan and CPEC frameworks; and incentives for investment in warehousing, contract farming and farmers produce organizations.
The panel was informed that the overarching objective is to achieve agriculture growth rate of 7.5pc per annum by FY2027-28, led and sustained by producer-owned integrated market-based value chains that incentivize producers to continue investing in modern and climate-smart production technologies, expansion of cultivated land area and value added activities.
Sub-committee convener Shandana Gulzar Khan briefed the meeting on agricultural growth strategy. She presented a data driven snapshot of the structure of Pakistan’ agriculture sector followed by a presentation of the sub-committee’s proposed strategy. She highlighted that that the overarching goal of the proposed strategy is to boost agricultural exports, accelerate rural-development driven economic growth, reduce rural poverty, enhance financial and gender inclusion in agricultural sector.
Drawing upon historical data, she explained that the inconsistent growth patterns of agricultural sector reveals lack of consistency in policy and planning for the sector.
She further stated that the proposed model envisioned a pro-poor growth strategy focusing on transformation of the business model of the 7.4 million smallholder farmers who cultivate 48pc of the total cultivable land.
She added that the weak business model of the smallholder farmers comprising low bargaining power, low access to finance, low yields, fragmented market segment, lack of access to competitive markets and high production cost hindered the modernization of the agriculture sector.
Khan said that the proposed strategy drawing upon ecosystem based, multipronged three phased strategy seeks to transform Pakistan’s subsistence agricultural into modern, diversified, competitive and high-value agriculture with a particular focus productivity and profitability of the smallholders’ farmers.
The meeting was also attended by federal ministers Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Syed Fakhar Imam.