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December 6, 2018

Rs82 bn plan for boosting crops yield, livestock launched


December 6, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The government Wednesday launched a Rs82 billion investment plan for boosting crops yield, livestock and fisheries development and importantly improving the irrigation water efficiency.

The plan has been devised based on the five presentations been presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan by the task force on agriculture. The task force was formed by the Ministry of Food Security and Research. Development of agro market is also including in the plan which would help boost the incomes of the rural population and bring them out of the poverty.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sahibzada Mehbub Sultan while explaining regarding the plan here to the media said the target are achievable and every effort will be made in this regard. Four billion rupees would be invested through promoting mechanisations. Small farmers would be given fifty percent subsidy on purchase of crops specific machinery; development of high-yielding varieties and increase provision of certified seeds. International experts would also be engaged in setting up new research institutes and upgradation of existing research institutes.

Agriculture extension services at all level, agronomy, plant protection, marketing and crop processing methods will be reorganised in order to gain better yield. Prime minister has also sanctioned four billion rupees for producing better quality of seeds by Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC). Another Rs8.6 billion would be spent on promotion of shrimp farming, case fish culture and trout farming in northern areas. This project would be extended to the coastline areas too. A cage farming project is already working at the Head Punjnad, the minister said.

A huge Rs68.6 billion would be spent on improving water course lining, enhancing command area of small and mini dams in arid [barani] areas and water conservation in barani areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. This would save nine million acre feet of water for irrigation. The ministry says about 47 million acre feet of water is lost in conveyance in canals, distributaries and watercourses.

Laser leveling will be provided to small farmers on subsidised prices. The government will arrange 12,000 new lasers over the next two to three years. In Sindh, there are 18,000 lasers while in Punjab the total number is 12,000, he said.

The prime minister has approved the livestock initiative project for small and medium farmers which contain buffalo calf fattening programme, backyard poultry programme and small and medium dairy farms. The backyard poultry programme will be launched in 36 districts of the country, which will not only reduce stunting and improve nutrition value but also reduce poverty at local level. In Punjab a similar programme has already been started, he said.

As foot and mouth disease was the major hurdle in Pakistani meat export, so a mega project would be launched with the help of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations at a cost of Rs763 million. UAE and China are Pakistan’s big markets but to explore more markets, the project will help make the already infected areas disease free within one year.

He said that Rahimyar Khan, Bahawalnagar and Bahawalpur would soon be declared disease free zone. Transforming the agriculture market, the government will develop six markets in collaboration with private sector to facilitate consumers to purchase agricultural produce.

A state-of-the-art market is being developed in Lahore that will be replicated in other five locations, he said. The prime minister has approved the plan to be completed in five years. Responding to a question about the current sugarcane crisis, Sahibzada Mehbub Sultan said that the issue will be resolved in a couple of days.

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