Punjab Agriculture Minister Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi chairs Agri Policy Meeting

FAISALABAD September 30: Punjab Agricultural Minister Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi has asked the University of Agriculture Faisalabad scientists to develop agricultural policy recommendations in order to revamp the policy on scientific bases keeping the ground realties and the challenges in view that will help ensure the food security and increase productivity. He was chairing a meeting on agriculture policy at UAF. He directed the UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan to constitute a committee for mapping out recommendations on modern lines to make farming an attractive profession and to meet the food demands of the ever-increasing population. He said that the agriculture sector was in the grip of different challenges including low productivity, traditional way of the farming, soil fertility, market issues, climate changes, water scarcity, seed etc. He said we have to provide the secure, safe and healthy food to the people. He said that the cities were expanding. Resultantly, fertile land is being converted for residential colonies and other purpose that was one of the major concern. It requires vertical expansion of the cities. He said that improvement of life in rural area is the need of hour with quality education and better medical facilities to minimize the heavy migration towards cities. He said that if Seed Act 2015 was implemented in letter and spirit, it will address the issue. He added that the agriculture was the lifeline for the country and efforts are afoot for high value agriculture system. He said that latest irrigation and the water reservoirs are essential in the times when ground water was shrinking. He said that the country was importing edible oil worth $4 billion that was matter of a grave concern for agrarian country. He said that now oil seed area was increasing but wheat area was being converted into oil seed crop. UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that until 1960, average annual growth in agriculture was 6 percent while 1960-2000, it was 4.33 percent, while 2000-20, the agriculture was the stagnant when average annual growth was 2.7 percent. He said that China Research and Development investment in GDP on agriculture is 0.62, India 0.4 percent while Pakistan .18 percent. Talking about main issues, he said malnutrition, food security, land and water productivity, climate changes, diversification, post harvest losses and market, rural Social disparity, stagnat yields were hampering the process of the agriculture development.