Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research said that government has focused to curb food inflation for which a robust early warning system would be developed.
He further said that Pakistan being an agrarian economy is largely a food secure country but challenge of food inflation emerges very recurrently due to gaps in demand and supply management system. Illango Patchamuthu, Country Director (World Bank) and John Roome, Regional Director (World Bank) called on the Federal Minister for NFS&R on Thursday in former’s office to brief about the interest of the bank for working with the Government of Pakistan in various areas of agriculture. Officials of the Ministry were also present during the meeting.
Illango said that the Bank would like to work in close collaboration with the Government on the commonalities like climate smart agriculture, high value crops and water management. The Minister said that we are looking to vertically promote growth of cotton with high quality seed and pest management. He apprised that we have launched a holistic program of Rs.300 billion with five year gestation period. This program addresses key areas of agriculture including fisheries, livestock, water management and productivity enhancement of major crops. We need to mobilize our farmers for their participation in the initiatives of the government for sustainable development of the sector. Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar underlined the need for harmonizing the crop estimates worked out by Provincial Crop Reporting Services and estimates through satellite imagery & remote sensing to come up with more precise data for devising effective and timely policies. The Minister also expressed that the Government and the bank may together work out their short term and long term agenda for agricultural cooperation. Short term collaboration may include designing of a model of Early Warning System (EWS) for management of food inflation. This EWS would save the interests of both farmers and consumers.
Long term collaboration may be worked out in other common areas of interest like water management, fisheries and climate smart agriculture. The Minister shared that the Government is also committed to rationalize agricultural subsidies to ensure diffusion of their benefit to the farming community. Mr. Illango apprised that the Bank is in process of hiring an agriculture expert for Pakistan. Furthermore, a team of experts on agriculture is likely to visit Pakistan in a couple of weeks. The Minister appreciated commitment of the bank for collaboration with the Government for agricultural development in the country. The two sides agreed to continue further discussions to develop future roadmap for agricultural cooperation between the Government and the bank.