Boosting agriculture

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Pakistan’s agriculture sector plays a central role in the economy as it contributes 19 percent to GDP and absorbs 42 percent of labour force. It is also an important source of foreign exchange earnings and stimulates growth in other sectors. According to the 6th Population and Housing Census of Pakistan 2017, the country’s population is growing at the rate of 2.4 percent per annum. This rapid increase in population is raising demand for agricultural products. The present government is focused on developing this sector and in this connection initiated a number of measures.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday met with the Asian Development Bank Chief for Rural Development and Food Security Dr Akmal Siddiq and discussed a comprehensive strategy to boost agricultural sector of the country. The premier said the provision of all possible facilities to farmer community is government’s top priority as agriculture sector was the backbone of the country’s economy as a huge chunk of population was attached directly or indirectly to it. The government is also focusing on fisheries and farming sectors, besides increasing production of wheat, rice and other major crops through introduction of modern modes and technologies.

The meeting also discussed issues pertaining to the agriculture sector challenges faced by the developing countries especially Pakistan, like technology, environment, lack of facilities in research, development and marketing which negatively impacted this sector, and the technical assistant and future mechanism. The agriculture sector, under the present requirements, especially due to introduction of the modern technology, requires consistent patronage from the government. Special focus should be made on research and development, provision and supply of latest seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, availability of financial resources, cold chain and marketing.

The bank also plans to introduce corporate agriculture on wider scale for the promotion of agriculture sector in Balochistan province. Science and technology can potentially revolutionize food production. Scientific and technological advancements have made it possible to increase food production notwithstanding its shrinking resource base. However, several factors may deter the realization of such opportunities. Farmers’ lack of knowledge and their access to technology are some of the possible roadblocks. The appropriate approach, mechanism, and institutions to deliver the knowledge and technology to farmers are yet to be developed.

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