Saturday October 16, 2021

High-value crops must to enter global food market: Fakhar Imam

September 13, 2021
High-value crops must to enter global food market: Fakhar Imam

FAISALABAD: Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam has said that the National Agriculture Commission will be set up for the development in the agricultural education and research.

Chairing a meeting at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, he said that the focus on agricultural economy had yielded positive results. However, he added, we must switch over to high-value crops to secure space in the global food market. He said that the government was focusing on science and technology as the major nations were harvesting its benefits in a big way.

He regretted that Pakistan was facing food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty despite being an agrarian country. He said that the UAF was one of the oldest agriculture related institutions and the government wanted to avail its expertise to improve the lifestyle of the people linked with farming.

He said that this year we had substantial increase in the production of three major corps. We had harvested a bumper wheat crop of 27.5 million tons, while rice and maize production also stood at 8.4 million tons each. He said that cotton production had gradually decreased in the last three or four years due to multiple reasons. One reason was its cultivation on less area as the farmers were not getting good profit on it, he added. In order to reverse the process, the government fixed its support price at Rs 5,000 per 40kg, which would also attract farmers to sow this crop on maximum land.

He said: “We are expecting to pick 8.5 million bales of cotton this year from Sindh and Punjab. It may be more than our estimation and Pakistan can export it instead of its import”.

He said that cotton had 60 per cent share in the country's exports. Hence, the government was making serious endeavours to increase its yield, he added. He said that seed shortage was a major problem of the country. “We need 1,100,000 ton seeds of different crops every year to plough 22 million acres of land.” He said that wheat sowing would start after seven weeks and we had 530,000 ton certified seed for it. Out of it, 160,000 ton seeds have resistance against rusting, he added. He said that the Punjab in collaboration with other provinces was discussing a comprehensive strategy to change the current agriculture mechanism toward high-value crops.

He said that livestock had 60 per cent share in our agriculture and for its improvement, the government was helping the farmers to resolve their breeding and feeding animal health problems.