Pakistan needs to benefit from EU experience for modernising its agriculture sector: Imam

Written by The Frontier Post

ISLAMABAD (APP): Federal Minister of National Food Security, Syed Fakhar Imam on Monday said Pakistan needed to benefit from the experience of European Union (EU) with respect to modernization of agriculture and upgradation of value addition in agricultural products.
While talking to Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan Ms Androulla Kaminara, who called on him here, he said Pakistan faces a number of challenges but with the right policy interventions in collaboration with EU, agriculture sector could be transformed.
He said EU has only 5.8 percent of the world’s population and yet they generate 18 percent of global GDP which stands at US $17 trillion in 2021.
An holistic approach is required to enhance the working conditions of the farmers, he commented.
Imam also welcomed the EU development program of US $250 million which primarily focuses on uplifting agriculture sector of Pakistan via programs aimed at but not limited to horticulture, water conservation and hydro power generation, livestock development and human resource development especially basic health facilities for women and children of the rural areas such as Tharparkar and Umerkot.
He added that agriculture had been tottering along the traditional agricultural techniques and it is time that we start to look ahead to the future in terms of modernization.
Fakhar said there were pertinent issue of quality of soil, quality and cost of input, choice of seeds etc that need to be focused on emergency basis.
He said Pakistan was the 5th largest producer of milk but only seven percent of that was processed. Minister said value addition was one of the primary issues that needed to be addressed in the agriculture sector. Fakhar Imam praised the current governments efforts and said in the last 70 years the main set back to research was insufficient funds.
This was the first time in the history of Pakistan that under Prime Minister Initiative Program billions of Rupees had been invested in agricultural research which had led to record production of wheat, maize and rice last year, he added.
Speaking on the occasion Ambassador said EU was eager to collaborate with Pakistan to upgrade the agricultural sector in addition with enhancing human development of farmers in the rural areas of Pakistan. EU is already investing in up-gradation of agriculture and livestock research systems in Pakistan but wants to expand its scope in collaboration with ministry of national food security and research, she added.
She said half of the development package of US $250 million was focused on the development of agriculture sector and the human resource associated with this sector.
Androulla Kaminara said EU was leading projects that aimed at providing veterinary support, availability of water, basic medical health services to women and children in the rural areas in addition with provision of alternate farming opportunities that could reclaim arid land.
EU could provide technological support like provision of satellite imagery to assess the topography of Pakistan for effective and efficient farming, she added.

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