Thursday April 18, 2024

Online conference on impact of coronavirus on agri sector

By Myra Imran
April 22, 2020

Islamabad : Pakistan’s 60 per cent economy is based on agriculture. Keeping in view its significance, the government should provide sufficient technology and tools to revive it during the pandemic.

The views were expressed at an online conference titled ‘Impacts of COVID-19 on Agriculture Sector in Pakistan,’ organised by Center for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS) on Tuesday. The session aimed to discuss the current situation of the agriculture sector and to comprehend the harmful impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown on the agribusiness.

The Online Conference was attended by prominent experts from Pakistan’s agriculture industry and experts from academia. The conference was moderated by Executive Director CGSS Lieutenant Colonel Khalid Taimur Akram (Retd).

The conference was commenced by Major General (r) Syed Khalid Amir Jaffery HI(M), president CGSS. He briefed the panelists about the current scenario of COVID-19 and the relevance of the agriculture sector.

Prof Dr Asif Ali, Vice-Chancellor, MNS-University of Agriculture, Multan talked about the importance of the food industry, especially in rural areas and its contribution to Pakistan’s economy. He said that Pakistan’s international trade is being affected due to COVID 19 restrictions and the trade of fruits and vegetables will be negatively affected if proper policies are not formulated.

Dr Yusuf Zafar T.I, former chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) stated that the Coronavirus pandemic is first and foremost a ‘health crisis.’ “However, it is also a major social and economic predicament. He further stressed the need to maximize public sector investment to strengthen R & D sector in the country,” he said.

Mumtaz Mohammad Khan Manais, former minister Livestock, and Dairy Development, Punjab, briefed about the need for advanced technology in the agriculture sector to increase the productivity of Agriculture industry in Pakistan. He also highlighted the importance of food security policies.

Dr Waqas Ashraf, assistant professor, Department of Plant and Pathology, University College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Islamia University, Bahawalpur explained the effects of the current pandemic on import and exports. He said that lockdown is creating many challenges for farmers and people related with agriculture industry. He further stressed on the preservation of orange seeds, as they are helpful in boosting immunity.

Dr Umer Farooq, Member Social Sciences, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) briefed the participants about the post-harvest challenges in Pakistan. He suggested to devise a workable policy for formers as Pakistan was not prepared for this natural calamity and now the assets of our country are in havoc.

Brigadier (r) Mansoor Saeed, Member Board of Advisers, CGSS stated that the world has gone into a recession in the post CVODI-19 era and reemergence for Pakistan will only be possible if proper and better rates are paid to the farmers as they need to be preserved as a national asset for our future.