Sindh cabinet approves first ever agriculture, youth policies
The Sindh Cabinet has taken important decisions on Monday and approved new agriculture, new youth polices and also establishment of two new universities in Shikarpur and Sukkur.
The Sindh Cabinet meeting was chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah here on Monday. The cabinet meeting has taken important decisions including agriculture policy were presented in the cabinet which is complimented by a series of background studies in the areas of macroeconomic factors, poverty and gender, climate change, value chain enhancement, resource use efficiency, nutrition and fiscal space utilization, in addition to consultation with farmers and stakeholders.
The time horizon of agriculture policy would be until 2030 to along with the international agreed Sustainable Development Goals. However, the various legal, regulator, institutional and expenditure-related changes set out in the policy would be implemented over a period of two years, 2018-19 to 2019-20.
Syed Murad Ali Shah while sharing some facts with the cabinet says that in terms of agriculture, Sindh accounts for 18 percent of the country’s land area, 16 percent of its total crop area and contributes about 23 percent to national agriculture value addition.
The Sindh agri-sector has not performed to its potential and the output was low in 2015-16 which led agriculture growth being negative for the first time in the country.
Murad said that more critically, what little growth has occurred has been the result of more land, water and input, higher livestock numbers or greater fishing effort. Such an input-based pattern of growth is not sustainable – for example, he said, it was estimated that by 2025 the water requirements for agriculture would increase by about 50 percent, if the current irrigation practices continue.
“In coming years, enhanced productivity has to take over as the principal engine of growth,” he said.
Minister Home and Agriculture Sohail Anwar Khan Siyal gave details action plan under the new agriculture policy including, to increase credit flows into crop, livestock and fisheries and for associated rural off-farm activities, including development t of new instruments such as warehouse receipts and building linkages formal and informal sources of credit.
To simplify the procedure for land use, land transfer and lease for establishment of rural enterprise.
To reform the legal and regulatory system governing agriculture and livestock marketing and to redesign the price support system.
To improve legislation, regulations, labeling and quality oversight in the market for inputs, particularly for seed, fertilizers, pesticides, animal feed and veterinary medicines, as well as for certification system for organic crop, livestock and fisheries products.
To attract investors, both domestic and foreign, to rural areas through fiscal incentives, a better legal and regulatory environment for commercial farming, cold chain and agro-based industry and to promote export of high value food production.
To review and reallocate government expenditure on agriculture as well of direct and indirect subsidies.
To restructure, right size and rationalize concerned government departments to be made ‘fit for purpose’ avoiding duplication of efforts with improved conditions.To reform the public research and extension system for crops, horticulture, livestock and fisheries, particularly . .