Federal Minister for Education Baligh-ur-Rehman has said that the Punjab government’s initiative of formulating a comprehensive provincial agricultural policy will help address the issues of the farming community and ensure food security as Punjab is the country’s largest source of agricultural output.
He addressed a seminar on the Punjab Agriculture Policy arranged by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture, Multan (MNS-UAM), and Regional Agriculture Research Station (RARS) here on Sunday.
UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Iqrar Ahmad Khan, MNS-UAM Vice Chancellor Prof Asif Ali, IUB Vice Chancellor Prof Qaiser Mushtaq, progressive farmers Malik Habib Ullah, Haji Muhammad Arshad, Azhara Shiekh, Abdul Rahman Fahim and others also spoke on the occasion.
The minister said that the government was doing its best to address the problems of the farming community. He added that the government had brought the Kissan package to provide relief to the farming community.
“The government is setting up a livestock university in Bahawalpur that will help provide trained manpower in the area. Cholistan has heat tolerant livestock, and research on this livestock must be carried out to multiply it,” he said.
Talking about education, he said that the government had doubled the education budget. It was Rs 41 billion three years ago, he said, adding that now it had been raised to Rs 91 billion.
“The government is making sincere efforts to build new water reserves including Bhasha and Dasu dams, as well as power plants to overcome power outages and the energy deficit. Load shedding will soon end as a result of these power plants, and they will also help reduce the price of electricity by 2018.”
He congratulated Prof Iqrar Ahmad for writing the Punjab Agriculture Policy, which is expected to significantly help increase the agricultural output of the province.
Prof Iqrar Ahmed called for making the agriculture industry competitive, profitable and sustainable through enablement, efficiency and value addition. He said the agriculture policy will focus on land and water reservation, yield gap, diversification, post-harvest losses, market issues, gender mainstreaming and value addition.
He expressed concern for Punjab’s farming community, which he said was facing tremendous problems. “We are only focusing on five crops whereas we have the climate to grow more than 300 crops. We need diversification to make agriculture a more profitable business.”
He said that the agriculture policy was a milestone that will bring an improvement in the agricultural sector.
All the stakeholders, the farming community, and others appreciated Prof Iqrar Ahmed’s effort and hard work in devising the policy, which is expected to greatly help the land-owning and farming community of the province.
Source: Pakistan Today
December 5, 2016