Speakers on Saturday stressed the need of advanced scientific research in the agriculture and livestock fields to augment country’s key export sectors and making the nation self-sufficient with regard to several edible commodities.
Agriculture-based companies, including fisheries, poultry, livestock, dairy, biotechnology deployment and agriculture farm equipment, food trace-ability, agriculture value-addition and horticulture took part in one of the country’s largest agricultural and livestock exposition at Expo Centre here.Foreign delegations of growers and agriculture experts also participated in the show, besides local investors who set up their stalls of various products.
US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter was also present on the occasion.
Being the chief guest of AgriExpo, Federal Commerce Secretary, Zafar Mehmood emphasised on reshaping the pivotal agriculture sector with scientific research to develop it.
He was of the view that privatisation of agriculture sector would help introduce advanced scientific research in the field to scale up annual yield.
He also said outsourcing of agriculture sector could be an option for the government to develop this sector on modern lines.
For enhancing the supply chain to outreach targeted consumers, he believed that privatisation of utility stores would help the growers.He stressed that country’s neglected sector needs revolutionary steps by the government to compete with other countries in the global market, adding seed development programmes should be handed over to private research companies to disburden the government financially and attract fresh investment.
For better results in seed development, government should now allot scientific research programmes to private sectors, which, until now, are being carried out on official basis on huge spending, he added.Mehmood opined that there should be policies to boost up status of poor farmers of the country along-with the development of value-addition food sector.
In order to streamline the entire sector, land and other record of agriculture sector should be computerised.
He highlighted that country’s agriculture sector has great potential with its products to compete with other stable countries in the international markets, but needs better infrastructure and policies.In his keynote speech on ‘Agricultural Productivity & Economical Development’, Dean and Director of Institute of Business Administration, Dr Ishrat Hussain said country’s 75 percent labourer class is dependent on agriculture sector and contributing 50 percent to the GDP.
With advanced production methods, wheat yield could grow up to 35million tons from the present 25MT.
He suggested that land should be efficiently organised to increase production with better water distribution system, particularly to poor farmers, liberal retail markets and greater preferences to the agriculture sector.
With this, he said, the very sector could aggrandise its annual yield manifold.The expert also held a number of factors responsible for low annual agriculture yield in the country, including unequal water distribution to poor farmers, non-liberal retail market, low preference to agriculture sector and unavailability of quality certification methods.Dr Ali Abbas Qazilbash from United Nations Industrial Development Organisation said his organisation, at present, is making efforts to help the country with provision of direct technical assistance and investment and technology transfer.Addressing the conference, Chief Executive Officer Engro Foods Limited, Afnan Ahsan highlighted the challenges and opportunities which the dairy industry of Pakistan continues to face.
He said the value of dairy component of the agriculture sector is Rs 500billion which, according to him, is 15 times higher than the mango market.
He informed the participants that the demand of dairy products is continuously outpacing the supply.
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