Federal Minister For National Food Security And Research Syed Fakhar Imam Said That Pakistan Needs To Upscale Its Agricultural Technology.

By Fazal Sher 

Federal Minister For National Food Security And Research Syed Fakhar Imam On Tuesday Said That Pakistan Needs To Upscale Its Agricultural Technology to provide better products to small, medium, and large farmers for the betterment of the agricultural outcome of the country.

He expressed these view during the meeting of sub-committee of the special committee on agricultural products held under the convener-ship of MNA Shandana Gulzar Khan. “We need to change our mindset. We have to put ourselves in a state of mind that we become achievers rather than dependent”, he said.

Talking about research, the minister stressed upon applied research rather than theoretical research to build up momentum for advancement. He also talked about the importance of meteorology and Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) as well as its improvement to further strengthen the agricultural sector as meteorology is a key stakeholder in agricultural prosperity of Pakistan. The improvement of agriculture system was mandatory for the betterment of agriculture, he said.

The Integrated Structural Reforms plan for Sustainable Agriculture Growth of special committee on agriculture produced presented by Inshan Ali Nawaz Kanji focuses on increasing the bargaining power of the smallholder farmers who account for 89 percent of Pakistan’s agriculture and 48 percent of its farm land. The minimum support price (MSP) and government procurement for wheat was to be continued and MSP be also announced for cotton crop, he said.

The reforms also suggested low-cost refinance credit line for smallholder farmers, incentivizing farmer organizations, developing legal framework for contract farming, digitization of demand-driven extension services, digitizing government procurement of agriculture commodities and commercializing Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC).

The plan also suggested that re-positioning Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) as a technology company with a banking license to establish a new model for production finance for smallholder farmers that can be replicated by the private financial sector. MNA Ehsanullah Tiwana suggested to utilize rural development which is part of the Cabinet Division for execution of the strategy.

MNA Nafeesa Khattak and representative of international development agencies including Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), International Fund for Agricultural Development, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, United States Agency for International Development and International Food Policy Research Institute also attended the meeting.

Myriam Chaudron of World Bank said that there should be more stress on nutrition outcome. She said that there is overlap between special committee plan and WB draft country strategy. Xiaohong Yang of Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that we are very keen to support Pakistan in few key areas including food security, agriculture business and agriculture market supply chain and access to digital financing. There are many areas we like to work with you, she said.

The FAO representative suggested reviewing of the legislations and food pricing to avoid taxing farmers. Agriculture transformation goes hand and hand with industry transformation, she said, adding that the contributions of industry with respect Pakistan’s industry is underperforming. Both ADB and WB representative also requested the convener for follow-up meetings to discuss specific areas of interest to finance Pakistan’s proposed agriculture reform agenda.

This news was originally published at B Recorder.