ISLAMABAD: The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently organised a two-day

training seminar on July 30, 2016, and July 31, 2016, to support the Pakistani Governmentand#39;s

efforts to expand agricultural trade.

As many as 30 officials from the Department of Plant Protection and other agricultural

professionals from across Pakistan participated in the seminar.

The training was designed to increase Pakistans exports by apprising the officials with regard to

compliance with the international plant health standards. At present, Pakistan exports fresh fruits

and vegetables worth approximately $585 million every year, according to a statement issued

here on Monday.

US Embassy Agricultural Counsellor David Williams also remarked, andquot;This training and similar

ones serve the dual purpose of helping expand the Pakistani export market and building closer

ties between our governments and people.andquot; He added, andquot;We look forward to continuing our

cooperation with the Government of Pakistan to help increase fruit and vegetable exports to the

US market.andquot;

Punjab Agriculture Department Director General for Extension and Adaptive Research, Dr

Muhammad Anjum Ali said, andquot;Learning about sanitary and phytosanitary measures from a team

of USDA, Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International, and other learned experts was a

unique experience.andquot; He further added, andquot;I have gained a lot from the trainers and methodology.andquot;

Agriculture accounts for over 21 percent of Pakistanand#39;s GDP and is its second-largest sector. It

also remains, by far, the largest employer, which accommodates around 46 percent of the labour

force. For the nearly 62 percent of the Pakistani population in rural areas, agriculture is an

essential part of daily life. Hence, this training session was the latest step in the broader

collaboration between the United States and Pakistan established to enhance agricultural

productivity in Pakistan and to support economic growth and food security. U.S. Agency for

International Development has previously funded initiatives by USDA, Texas Aandamp;M University

and the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International to develop as many as 12 online

training modules to benefit both individuals and organisations working in the Pakistani

agricultural sector.

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