Ambassador of European Union to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara called on the Minister of National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam in Islamabad.
Talking on this occasion, Syed Fakhar Imam said Pakistan needs to benefit from the experience of European Union with respect to modernization of agriculture and upgradation of value addition in agricultural products. He said that the EU has only 5.8 percent of the world’s population and yet they generate 18 percent of global GDP which stands at $17 trillion in 2021.
Fakhar said that there was a pertinent issue of quality of soil, quality and cost of input, choice of seeds, etc that needed to be focused on an emergency basis. He said that Pakistan was the 5th largest producer of milk but only seven percent of that was processed. Minister said that value addition was one of the primary issues that needed to be addressed in the agriculture sector. Fakhar Imam praised the current government’s efforts and said in the last 70 years the main setback to research was insufficient funds. This was the first time in the history of Pakistan that under the Prime Minister Initiative Program billions of rupees had been invested in agricultural research which had led to record production of wheat, maize, and rice last year, he added.
Ambassador of European Union said that EU is eager to collaborate with Pakistan to upgrade the agricultural sector in addition with enhancing human development of farmers in the rural areas of the country. EU is already investing in the up-gradation of agriculture and livestock research systems in Pakistan but wants to expand its scope in collaboration with the ministry of national food security and research, she added. She said that half of the development package of $250 million was focused on the development of the agriculture sector and the human resource associated with this sector.
Androulla Kaminara said that the EU was leading projects that aimed at providing veterinary support, availability of water, basic medical health services to women and children in the rural areas in addition to the provision of alternate farming opportunities that could reclaim arid land.
EU could provide technological support like provision of satellite imagery to assess the topography of Pakistan for effective and efficient farming, she added.