Staff Reporter Islamabad
Ministry of National Food Security & Research and Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) here on Monday agreed to increase collaboration in shifting focus towards production of high value agricultural products in Azad Kashmir for upgrading the agriculture sector in AJK.
The consensus to this effect was developed in a meeting between Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam and Prime Minister of AJK Sardar Abdul Qayumm Niazi, who called on the minister.
Fakhar Imam assured the PM AJK that his ministry would provide every support available to help the agricultural transition towards high value crops.
He said that AJK has high potential for high value products such as saffron, garlic, and fruits such as peach and plum.
He said that a transition towards high value crops can uplift AJK economically. He said that the factors of production of these crops are available such as bulbs for saffron.
He said that average income of per acre saffron production is 25-30 lakh which is extremely high as compared to low value crops.
Fakhar said that every technical support would be provided to the government of AJK to upgrade the agriculture sector, adding that the livestock sector has immense potential and should be a key area of focus as well.
The minister highlighted the benefits of private and public partnerships and proposed that the local producer should be incentivized for transitioning towards high value crops.
The two dignitaries pre-emptively discussed strategies to ensure that wheat shortage does not occur.
Planning was also done to ensure that prices of wheat remain low and in the reach of common people across the country.
He said that quality of silage plays a key role in the quality of livestock and thus collaboration to enhance the livestock sector should be prioritized.
Speaking on the occasion, Sardar Abdul Qayuum Khan Niazi said that a new policy will be made to oversee the transition towards high value crops in collaboration with the ministry of national food security and research.
He said that tea plantation was once an area of focus but due to lack of vision of the previous governments it has seen little progress.
He said that long term planning is the key towards meaningful output in the agriculture sector.
Both the sides also agreed to make a long-term strategy to ensure that policies are implemented by the future governments as well.