ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday asked provincial authorities to expedite Agriculture Transformation Plan (ATP) and further accelerate the process regarding finalizing a mechanism to distribute subsidized agricultural implements to farmers.
The plan includes ensuring supply of high-quality seeds to increase crop yields and to ensure access of farmers to seeds. The data from the Consumer Sourcing Authenticity System is also to be implemented.
Syed Fakhar Imam, minister of National Food Security and Research chaired a meeting of National Coordination Committee (NCC) of ATP with provincial counterparts to monitor the ongoing progress.
Secretary of National Food Security Tahir Khursheed, convener of the NCC Abid Suleri, chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Ghulam M. Ali and the chief secretaries of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sindh and Balochistan attended the meeting.
The government with the cooperation of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences is also working on increasing innovation and productivity to significantly reduce the cost per acre with use of modern technology.
Besides, four centers of excellence in Punjab, research institutes in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and agricultural sector innovations are part of the project.
ATP also focusing on genetic improvement of cattle to increase meat and milk production and a comprehensive import strategy is being formulated at the government level.
Minister Imam said almost 19 percent of GDP is directly contributed by the agriculture sector and through value addition, it can become the back bone of the country.
“Rs5.5 billion subsidies will be given to Punjab to ensure that ATP is timely executed,” Imam said.
“Chief Minister Balochistan will be requested to ensure allocation of Funds in Annual Development Plan (ADP) of the province for current fiscal year. Fakhar Imam praised the progress of Punjab with respect to implementation of ATP.”
Similarly, the minister asked Sindh to ensure timely execution of Hari Card system on the pattern of Kissan Card mechanism being followed by KP and Punjab. Furthermore, KP was advised to start working for distribution of subsidized agricultural implements to farmers in light of recommendations shared by the government.
Imam said Agriculture Extension based service of all the provinces are being re-vamped under Agricultural Transformation Plan to facilitate farmers at union council level.
The minister was briefed about the on-going efforts of the provinces to ensure availability and price control of fertilizers.
He said these measures need to be further strengthened in order to protect the small farmer.
Imam ensured all the participants that necessary steps will be immediately taken to provide any support needed by the provinces.
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