ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is blessed with a rich natural resource base for agriculture and is among the top 10 producers of wheat, rice, sugarcane and certain fruits, a government official said on Wednesday.
Addressing the participants of the international conference on “Best practices for building sustainable food systems in OIC Region”, held virtually, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said that despite having one of the world’s best alluvial soils and the best irrigation system, the country could not fully harness the potential of the agricultural sector.
The main issues of the agriculture sector included the lack of quality seeds, cold storage facilities, farm mechanisation, trained manpower, post-harvest management, processing industries, and digital agricultural platforms, etc, he added.
The minister said under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government has prioritised the agriculture sector.
“We are working to diversify this sector, by enhancing focus on high value horticultural crops, oilseeds and pulses. Our government is also taking keen interest in livestock breed improvement, water conservation and promoting farm mechanisation. We are supporting farmers by furnishing quality seeds of improved varieties, providing farm machinery at subsidised rates, and disseminating improved production packages,” Imam said.
“Due to the excellent agricultural policies of our government; despite [the] Covid pandemic and locust attack, the production of wheat, rice, maize and sugarcane has increased to a record level. This year has been remarkable for [the] agriculture sector of Pakistan, and our economy got a boost with the record agricultural production, indicating a lesser reliance on food imports in 2021/22,” he added.
Additionally, due to the government’s favourable policies and interventions, the exports of agro-commodities have also increased significantly, the minister said, adding that considering the role of the provinces, the government is also engaging diversified stakeholders as the best tactic for building a sustainable food system in Pakistan. These strategic initiatives will help improve the public health situation, which is reflecting high rates of stunting, he added.
The conference was organised by the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) in collaboration with various international research organisations.