Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan on Thursday called upon the provincial governments to increase investment in agriculture sectors for their own benefit and socio economic prosperity of the country.
Addressing at a meeting of Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA), he observed that investments in agriculture sectors have been declined in the provinces.
“Provinces must increase their investment on agriculture sector as a major share. Inevitably, if required Federal Government could help to fill the financial gap”, he remarked.
He also asked for efficient utilization of agriculture production resources by adopting modern technologies, besides establishing realistic marketing system, well-linked with domestic and external markets.
Mr.Bosan also asked for establishing distribution network, liberal market policies, with minimum trade barriers and limitations.
The minister was of the view that agriculture for last few years was not so profitable for the resource poor farmers, adding that farmers were suffering from economic losses due to drop in the prices of their commodities in the international markets.
He stressed the provincial agriculture departments to strengthen their research and marketing system for the growth of minor crops for the prosperity of resource poor farming community in the country.
The government, he said that visualized that the agriculture base economic growth must be enhanced and it must benefit the poor and also be nutrition-sensitive in order to reduce various forms of malnutrition.
He said that Ministry of National Food Security was extending all possible support to provinces for creating an enabling environment for ensuring food security in the country.
The government, he said was trying at its level best to help the farmers by providing inputs at affordable price to bridge up the gap between cost of production and output price in favor of farmers.
Sikandar Bosan said Rs 27.96 billion has been announced in the Federal Budget for 2016-17 for reduction of the cost of production in agricultural sector.
In addition, he said an export rebate on export of wheat has been provided since last two years for creating physical and fiscal space for public sector food departments.
The strategic recommendations from this forum would help in finding solutions of the problems faced by resource poor farmers, he added.
The meeting was attended by senior officials of the provincial food and agriculture departments, besides, officials from the State Bank of Pakistan, Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, Indus River System Authority, Meteorological Office also attend the meeting.
The FCA reviewed the overall Rabi crop output including wheat, pulses, potato, onion and oilseeds, where as it set the targets for the Kharif crops including rice, cotton, maize and sugarcane for the crop year 2017-18.