Agricultural innovation first step towards food autonomy: PM

Mr Khan said the Agricultural Tran­sformation Plan (ATP) was the first step towards food autonomy and the Agri Dashboard would prove helpful in timely decision-making.

Agricultural innovation first step towards food autonomy: PM

Agricultural Innovation First Step Towards Food Autonomy: PM: said bringing innovation in agricultural sector and ensuring prosperity of the farmers was among the top priorities of the government.

Chairing a meeting on the development of agricultural sector, the premier said for the first time a comprehensive strategy had been formulated for the betterment of agricultural sector.

Mr Khan said the Agricultural Tran­sformation Plan (ATP) was the first step towards food autonomy and the Agri Dashboard would prove helpful in timely decision-making.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, National Security Adviser Moeed Yousuf, special assistants Dr Shahbaz Gill, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and other officials. The chief secretaries of the four provinces joined the meeting through video-link.

It was highlighted that the Food Security Dashboard had been fully activated for wheat.

The dashboard contains the demand and supply indicators of wheat at tehsil, district, division, province and national level.

The dashboard will guide about the effective monitoring of prices, procurement and the timely decision-making. It will also help in taking timely action against profiteers and those involved in hoarding of agricultural commodities. It will be updated on daily statistics to prepare the real-time data on availability of wheat.

The meeting was informed that after wheat, the categories of sugar and other food commodities would be added to the dashboard. The steps are aimed at saving the country from the future food crisis.

Later, the meeting was given a detailed briefing on the ATP. The plan includes ensuring supply of high-quality seeds to increase crop yields.

In this regard, after amendments in rules and regulations, only those companies in the country will be registered which provides high-quality seeds after research.

Under Asian Development Bank, a PC-1 for distribution of quality seeds among Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also been approved.

To ensure access of farmers to seeds, the data from the Consumer Sourcing Authenticity System will be completed by this December.

The meeting was also briefed on the progress on cooperation with Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences to increase innovation and productivity.

The step will significantly reduce the cost per acre with use of modern technology. Also, four Centers of Excellence in Punjab, research institutes in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and agricultural sector innovations are part of the project.

The project focuses on genetic improvement of cattle to increase meat and milk production and a comprehensive import strategy is being formulated at the government level. A helpline 9211 is being introduced for cattle farmers and in Punjab, the facility has been reactivated.

The meeting was updated on the progress on projects related to olive cultivation and the Kisan Card, aimed at the uplift of farmers.

Value-added exports

Prime Minister Khan also chaired a meeting to review the country’s exports wherein he was told that during 2020-21, the value-added exports had witnessed a surge of $3.8bn.

It was also told that owing to government’s investment friendly policies and incentives to the exporters, the non-traditional exports also increased by $2.7bn during the previous fiscal year.

The commerce ministry told the participants that traditionally, textile products were being exported from Pakistan but in order to increase the volume, steps were being taken for export of non-traditional items like minerals, food products, fruits, information technology and ceramics.

The prime minister said the government was extending all possible facilities to the exporters.

He called for promoting non-traditional exports and focusing more on the countries with more demand for Pakistan’s products.

He also instructed for giving targets to the trade officers at Pakistan’s embassies for enhancement of exports and examine their performance using the same yardstick.

Originally published at Dawn