STAFF REPORT ISB: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Muzammil Hussain Sabri has urged the government to announce a relief package for the agriculture sector with the objective of reducing the input cost and improving productivity.

“The agriculture sector accounts for 21 per cent of the countrys gross domestic product, 43 per cent of employment and 45 per cent of total exports. Yet, the sector encountered multiple problems including a high input cost, low per-acre yield and outdated cultivation methods,” said Sabri in a statement issued here.

He pointed out that old methods of irrigation are still in vogue and are causing 50-60 per cent wastage of water. “Despite possessing enough water resources, Pakistan is losing around 13 million cusecs annually from its rivers into the sea due to lack of sufficient reservoirs and dams,” he maintained.

The traditional methods of cultivation, he said, are keeping per-acre productivity at low levels and the average yield was just a quarter of what regional countries like Nepal, India and Bangladesh got.

Sabri also said that the government should formulate an effective plan for establishing ample water storage facilities and focus on introducing the drip irrigation system to provide adequate quantity of water for plantations and a better yield.

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