NA speaker presents seven years agriculture growth strategy

ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser on Friday presented an integrated structural reforms oriented agricultural growth strategy for the next seven years.

During the meeting of the National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products chaired by him, the presentation was made to a committee of the cabinet working on the new agriculture package.

In a bid to build the national consensus on the proposed agricultural growth strategy, Asad Qaiser called for a close scrutiny of the entire strategy, said a press release.

He said after presentation to the sub-committee of the cabinet on Agriculture, the strategy would be presented to Prime Minister Imran Khan and subsequently the report would be laid in the National Assembly for debate.

The chief components of the strategy included Special initiatives for Balochistan, South Punjab, KP, Tharparkar, Cotton Revival program, Oilseed Development, Low-Cost Refinance Line of Credit & Credit Enhancement for Digital Production Finance, Digitization of Demand-Driven Extension Content, Integrated Seed System, Agriculture Climate Change Insurance Pool (Farmer Risk Transfer Mechanism)/Satellite-based Crop Reporting), Establishment of Agriculture Development Authority for Coordination of Reform Implementation, linkages with Ehsaas, Kamyab Jawan and CPEC and incentives for promoting investment in warehousing, contract farming and farmers produce organizations.

The panel was informed that the overarching objective was to achieve agriculture growth rate of 7.5% per annum by FY 2027-28 led and sustained by producer-owned integrated market-based value chains that incentivize producers to continue investing in modern and climate-smart production technologies, expansion of cultivated land area and value added activities.

The convener of the sub-committee Shandana Gulzar Khan briefed the meeting on agricultural growth strategy.

She presented a data driven snapshot of the structure of Pakistan’ agriculture sector followed by a presentation of the Sub-Committee’s proposed strategy.

Shandana Gulzar highlighted that the overarching goal of the proposed strategy was to boost agricultural exports, accelerate rural-development driven economic growth, reduce rural poverty, enhance financial and gender inclusion in agricultural sector.

Drawing upon historical data, she explained that the inconsistent growth patterns of agricultural sector reveals lack of consistency in policy and planning for the sector.

She said the proposed model envision a pro-poor growth strategy focusing on transformation of the business model of the 7.4 million smallholder farmers who cultivate 48% of the total cultivable land.

She said the weak business model of the smallholder farmers comprising low bargaining power, low access to finance, low yields, fragmented market segment, lack of access to competitive markets and high production cost hindered the modernization of the agriculture sector.

Shandana Gulzar said the proposed strategy drawing upon eco-system based, multi-pronged three phased strategy seeks to transform Pakistan’s subsistence agricultural into modern, diversified, competitive and high-value agriculture with a particular focus productivity and profitability of the smallholders’ farmers.

She explained that the objective of the plan was to accelerate the modernization of agriculture sector so that the sector can generate resources for the sustained development of the economy with a high degree of self-reliance.

Shandana Gulzar said the proposed program would complement the Prime Minister’s initiatives for agriculture sector.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Minister Food and Security Syed Fakhar Imam and other MNAs.