AGRICULTURE NEWS

AGRICULTURAL INNOVATION FIRST STEP TOWARDS FOOD AUTONOMY: PM IMRAN KHAN

Prime Minister Imran Khan 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. 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. Also, four Centers of Excellence in Punjab, research institutes in Sindh, Balochistan and KPK and agricultural sector innovations are part of the project. A helpline 9211 is being introduced for cattle farmers and in Punjab, the facility has been reactivated.PM Khan briefed about the country’s exports that during 2020-21, the value-added exports had witnessed a surge of $3.8bn. The PM said the govt. 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 instructed for giving targets to the trade officers at Pakistan’s embassies for exports enhancement and examine their performance.