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ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Industries and Production Tasneem Qureshi has said that the government was taking every possible step for the growth and development of the agricultural sector which is crucial for the economic development of the country.

Qureshi said this while addressing the closing ceremony of a five-day international training course on productivity gain sharing on agriculture enterprises jointly organized by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Japan and the National Productivity Organization (NP), here on Friday.

The minister said that all possible steps are being taken to enable rural development-driven economic growth by enhancing financial inclusion in the agriculture sector to boost productivity and exports. The minister said the government is committed to support the agriculture sector and believed that initiatives and platforms which connect such international practices can drive further development of the sector.

He was of the view that the agricultural sector is indispensable for the country’s economic growth, food security, employment generation and poverty alleviation, particularly at the rural level.

The minister said the government is closely monitoring key crops, devising policies and planning interventions to ensure an uninterrupted supply of basic food items at affordable prices in the country.

The minister said he looks forward to enhancing the productivity of the agriculture sector based on mutual learning and showing the rest of the world how APO member countries can work together for innovation and development of the agricultural sector. He lauded the efforts of the organizers for hosting a successful event which got the attention of the APO member countries.

He said that the Ministry of Industries own and owe a mission “to achieve efficient, sustainable and inclusive industrial development” for which every possible effort is being made.

He said that his ministry will continue playing an effective role of facilitator in industrial development and entrepreneurship through policy intervention, setting up Industrial Parks and Export Processing Zones (EPZs) for investors, skill development of human resource for the industrial sector and socioeconomic development of the country with particular focus on SME development and promotion of traditional crafts of Pakistan.

He said that the country through sustainable industrial development can tackle the present external and internal challenges.

He said that it was to better integrate small-scale farmers into markets so that they can make the agricultural sector stronger. Experience shows that when a country’s agricultural sector is not competitive as a result Pakistan despite being an agricultural economy was forced to import various food items.

He said that owing to these key issues agriculture sector was unable to address the poverty reduction in rural areas.

The minister said that the country has started taking multiple steps to enhance agriculture productivity and APO was providing much-needed expertise. The APO member countries can work together for innovation and development; and also be mentors for other countries of the world, he added.

Tadahisa Manabe, head APO Secretariat, Tokyo while appreciated the government of Pakistan for making maximum efforts for the continuation of the productivity movement and in developing first ever National Productivity Master Plan for Pakistan.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) NPO Muhammad Alamgir Chaudhry said that it is worth indicating that two other APO member countries i.e. Bangladesh and Vietnam, in the recent past, got their National Productivity Master Plan developed, as desired by the top leadership of their countries, with the assistance of the APO, Japan.

The Master Plan will provide the strategic framework required to enhance productivity in Pakistan.

He said that the NPO is working on a productivity measurement system resulting in productivity-linked wages. It is also pertinent to mention that National Productivity Master Plan will lead to the next phase of NPO’s Productivity Movement i.e. “Improving Competitiveness through Sustainable National Productivity.”

The APO, established on May 11, 1961, is a union of 21 Asian countries with headquarters in Tokyo working for the promotion of socio-economic development in the region and among member countries.

The members of APO include Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, The Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, The Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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