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September 28, 2020

Climate change tops three major challenges Pakistan is faced with: Fakhar Imam

National

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APP
September 28, 2020

MULTAN: Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has said that the climate change topped three major challenges Pakistan is faced with at present.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUA) here on Saturday night, Syed Fakhar Imam said that Pakistan missed 1,500,000 tonnes of wheat target in the last yield. He said: “The total wheat yield was 2.5 million tonnes. Of it, the Punjab contributed lion’s share with 19.4 million tonnes while Sindh shared 3.95 million tonnes, KP 1.25 million tonnes and the remaining was produced by Balochistan.”

He said that the government departments procured 6.4 million tonnes.

The minister said that it was purchased at 1,400 per mound from the farmers and after a short span it was being sold at Rs 1,800-1,900 per mound in Karachi and Peshawar. The shortage was due to international parity price, Fakhar Imam informed adding that when procurement price was Rs 1,300 for seven to eight years in our country, the maximum rate was Rs 1,150 in the international level.

Moneyed people invested more this time to earn better profit by selling the wheat locally because they did not bother about 25 per cent Pakistanis living below poverty line in the country, he deplored. Keeping the situation in view, the govt decided to import wheat, the minister said, adding that 430,000 tonnes has reached Karachi port.

He stated that five crops, including wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane and maize, were cultivated on 80pc land in the country while fruits, veggies, fodder and pulses were grown on rest of the 20pc area. Pakistan is importing edible oil of two-and-a-half billion dollars annually which poses a big challenge. It turns out to be 85pc of our consumption while 15 pc is obtained locally out of which 7pc is extracted from cotton seed as the byproduct, Syed Fakhar Imam noted.

Regarding wheat cultivation last year, he stated that it was grown on 22 million acre, including 16m in Punjab, 4m in Sindh and 2m in KP and Balochistan collectively. The ministry is planning along with the provincial govts to recommend better support price to the farmers keeping in view the international parity, the minister said and added that they would submit their recommendations to Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and Federal Cabinet in this connection.

He stressed the need of using pure and quality seed of wheat which will yield better results next time. Syed Fakhar Imam insisted that universities should extend improved opportunities of research to students as given by the developed countries like China. He compared Pakistan’s agriculture with other countries and shed in depth light on reasons of lagging behind them. Provincial Agriculture Minister Hussain Jahania Gardezi and Kissan Ittehad leader Khalid Khokhar also spoke. A large number of farmers and dignitaries attended the ceremony.