ISLAMABAD – Around 30 officials of Department of Plant Protection and agriculturalists from across the country attended the two-day (July 30-31) training designed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support Government of Pakistan’s efforts to boost agriculture exports.
The training aims to increase Pakistani exports by informing officials how to comply with international plant health standards.
Pakistan currently exports approximately $585 million of fresh fruits and vegetables annually.
“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,” US Embassy Agricultural Counselor David Williams said, and added, “We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the Government of Pakistan to help increase fruit and vegetable exports to the US market.
“Learning about sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures from a team of USDA, Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International and other learned experts was a unique experience,” said Dr Muhammad Anjum Ali, Director General for Extension and Adaptive Research in the Punjab Agriculture Department.
“I have gained a lot from the trainers and methodology,” he added.
He said agriculture was Pakistan’s second-largest sector, accounting for over 21 percent of the GDP.
“It remains by far the largest employer, with 46 percent of the labour force working in the sector.
For nearly 62 percent of Pakistan’s population in rural areas, agriculture is a vital part of daily life,” he said, and added, “This training session is the latest step in a broader collaboration between the United States and Pakistan to enhance agricultural productivity in Pakistan and to support economic growth and food security.”
With funding from the US Agency for International Development, USDA, Texas A&M University and the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International also have developed 12 online training modules to benefit individuals and organisations working in the Pakistani agricultural sector.
Source: The Nation