ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan here on Wednesday said that government would spent Rs 200 billion in five mega agriculture sector development programmes during next 3-5 years in order to exploit the true potential of the sector for poverty alleviation.

Addressing a press conference, he said that the amount would be spent on five agriculture sector promotion programme including livestock, dairy development, fishers and poultry development which would help in alleviating poverty from the country particularly from the rural areas.

He said that there are 15 components of these projects and all the projects would be initiated in collaboration with the provincial governments in order to put the agriculture sector on right direction for socio-economic uplift of the people in the country.

Besides, five new agriculture markets would be established across the country to provide the farming community access to market and save them for the exploitation of middle man, adding that the existing markets would also be revamped and revitalized.

The minister said that the agriculture sector was badly neglected by all the governments in the past, adding that this sector was on the top priority of current government as about 70 percent local population was directly or indirectly linked with the sector.

Besides, he said that government is launching enhancement of crop yield project in order to increase per acre crop output by providing the farmers proper awareness, financing for mechanization and certified seeds, adding that an amount of Rs 4 billion would be spent on the above mentioned project.

He said that government would also revamp the research institutions in the country and foreign experts would be invited to train the local scientists and agriculture researchers.

Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan said that Rs 8.6 billion would be spent on the promotion of aquaculture as there were about 1,120 Km of coastline and 905 million acre feet of water reservoirs suitable for fish farming including trout fish.

In order to enhance the water use efficiency for irrigation, the government would spent Rs 140 billion and provide 12,000 lazier land levelers on subsidizes rates and provide Rs 250,000 subsidy on land leveler, adding that it would save about 9 million acre feet of water.

The minister said that in order to enhance the water storage capacity in the rain fed areas, Rs 86.60 billion would be spent on the construction of mini dams and programmes would be initiated in live stock sector to promote the meat production.

Mehboob Sultan said that government was also taking other small projects with its own resources and these were internationally recognized to end poverty and malnutrition, adding that 2.5 million chicks would be provided to promote the backyard farming.

Replaying to a question, the minister said that sugarcane crisis was inherited by the last government as it had imposed ban on the export of the sugar, adding that the current government had allowed about 1.1 million tons of sugar.

He said that government was in close coordination with the provincial governments on the matter as four mills in Sindh had started the sugarcane crushing, adding that it was expected that mills in Punjab would also start crushing in next few days.

To another question, he said that the recent incident that taken place in PARC was regrettable and Secretary was assigned a task to look into the matter and submit the report.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2018