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PESHAWAR: Federal Minister for Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam has said that 100,000 ton phosphate urea would be imported from China in next few weeks.

He was talking to media here on Thursday at Agriculture Institute (ARI) Tarnab before briefing on the Prime Minister’s National Agriculture Emergency Programme and progress on Agriculture Transformation Plan.

He said that the government has provided Rs 8 billion to the provinces for giving subsidy on urea and the production of urea commodity had swelled to 6.3 million. He said that use of latest technology in agriculture research was imperative to achieve self-sufficiency in food services.

The minister said that China had made rapid progress because of the use of modern technology and Pakistan had the potential to achieve new heights of economic development and achieve autarky in food by using latest techniques, innovations, mechanization and modern technology especially in agriculture and livestock sectors to earn maximum capital.

He said the country needed more scientists and new researches in agricultural development, adding that the great responsibilities rest on our scientists and PhD scholars of agriculture universities and colleges to prepare students for modern day challenges.

Fakhar Imam said he had held constructive meetings with Chinese agricultural scientists and invited them to visit the country’s agriculture educational and research institutes to deliver lectures so that the students and young scholars could get more knowledge from their rich experiences.

The minister said agriculture was backbone of the country’s economy and the government was making efforts to make modern agriculture technology part of the existing educational curriculum to broaden knowledge of students and get maximum agriculture, livestock and fisheries production.

Asked about KP’s share in Agriculture Transformation Plan, the minister said that special projects were launched for increasing value addition of corps, fruits, vegetables, livestock and fisheries besides promoting floriculture.

The minister said US, Brazil and Argentina were leading exporters of edible oil while soyabean production of China and India has touched 240 million tons while Pakistan despite having great potential was spending huge amount on its imports.

A record production of wheat, rice, maize and sugarcane was witnessed last year and Pakistan was moving to achieve self-sufficiency in sugarcane this year, he added.

He said that 40,000 tons flour was being provided in the markets across the country per day including 6000 tons to 7000 tons in KP.

The government is providing subsidized wheat to flour mills to keep stability in prices of flour and minimize the burden on common man.

Later, during a presentation given by KP Secretary Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Dr Muhammad Israr about agriculture projects, the minister underlined the need for paying special focus on manufacturing, standardization and mechanization to increase agriculture productivity. He said Pakistan could earn substantial revenue by increasing cotton production.

Mohibullah Khan, Provincial Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries said that prior to PTI government, the budget of the department was only Rs 2 billion that had now increased to record Rs 129 billion.

He said that 11 mega projects in agriculture, livestock and fisheries worth Rs 44,672.654 million had been launched in KP under the Prime Minister’s National Agriculture Program that would bring green revolution in the province upon completion.

Secretary Agriculture, Dr Muhammad Israr briefed the minister about performance of the agriculture department including agriculture transformation plan, Kisan Cards, upgradation of research institutes of Tarnab Peshawar and Mingora Swat, tele-farming and digital services, establishment of seed industries, genetic improvement of cattle and introduction of 9211 services.

He said Rs 10,594.31 million were being spent on projects launched under Agriculture Transformation Plan. About one lakh Kisan Cards were issued to the farmers and a subsidy to the tune of Rs 475 million were disbursed.

Earlier, the minister visited different sections and laboratories of ARI Tarnab and inquired about facilities being offered to farmers and research services.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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