ISLAMABAD: The government is paying special attention on the development and modernisation of agriculture sector in the next five-year plan, a government official said on Tuesday.
Chairing a consultative meeting on agriculture sector development, federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar said that both short- and long-term strategies will be devised in consultation with all the stakeholders to harness the potential that this crucial sector offers to enhance agriculture growth and its contribution to the country’s GDP.
The agriculture sector was neglected in the last plan and its growth remained dismal during the last five years, which is evident from the fact that almost all targets in this area were missed, he said.
Bakhtyar said that the progress of agriculture sector provides a sound base for economic development and the present government is paying special attention on agriculture development by focusing on improving its key sectors, including livestock and fisheries.
Major crops such as cotton, wheat, sugarcane and rice yields will be enhanced by adopting best irrigation and farming practices, efficient water management and quality agriculture inputs, he said, adding that livestock and fisheries also offer great export potential that will be harnessed to boost exports.
The minister said research and development and innovative farming practices remained the most neglected areas, adding that special resources will be allocated for these purposes to develop the agriculture sector.
The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) will be reviewed in consultation with all the provincial governments regarding irrigation and agriculture sector needs to boost productivity, he added.
The minister recalled that during the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on November 3, 2018 in the field of agriculture to strengthen and promote technology transfer, trade facilitation, scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries.
First meeting of the Joint Working Group on agriculture will be convened next month to work out modalities and the way forward to expand and broaden the scope of cooperation to the mutual benefit of Pakistan and China, he said.
Bakhtyar said that the development of agriculture sector will also help reduce poverty, as a large number of the country’s population was linked to this key field.
Focusing on socioeconomic development of marginalised sections of the society was among the top priorities of the present government.
During the meeting, a proposal to do away with the gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) on fertilisers, especially urea and to provide relief to farmers through provision of subsidy on agriculture inputs also came under discussion.