Islamabad, February 27, 2015 (PPI-OT): Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan has said that the Agro industries are vital for development and growth of our economy. The prime focus of the government is on high value agriculture including horticulture, livestock and fisheries. Concerted efforts are being made to improve farm level practices and developing linkages of farmers with markets and industry.
Federal Minister was addressing “Pakistan Agriculture Conference and Exhibition 2015, and at this occasion Sikandar Bosan said that this will also be an opportunity to discuss and share new technologies, ideas and future pathways for sustainable growth of agro industry. Federal Minister has said that under the existing situation, Pakistan has to make investment for setting up processing industries for commodities like potatoes, chilies and tomatoes to create opportunities for fair returns to farm sector.
Federal Minister has stated that agriculture sector has traditionally sustained a satisfactory growth to ensure food security of our growing population however; the major challenge faced has been low returns to farmers for their commodities because of higher costs of production.
This calls for well-thought interventions to improve agri. products value addition at the farm levels and industrial linkages. Especially under the existing situation, when the agricultural commodities returns do not commensurate the increasing cost of production, a vibrant industrial sector understanding of these challenges may come forward to support the farm sector.
Bosan has stated that government is currently focusing to develop mechanisms for minimizing cost of production to increase farmers’ interest in agriculture and livestock. As a policy, the Government is committed to provide required infrastructure support to agro-processors with the aim to enhance value addition and job opportunities for growing young population.
Bosan has said that present Government is fully cognizant of the role of rural youth in developing services sector and entrepreneurship for value added growth of agriculture sector and its relevance to improvement in incomes. The rural youth will be supported in acquiring the new skills for setting agro-based businesses for improving household livelihood.
Minister has stated that it is expected that under the Prime Minister’s Youth Loan Programme, the areas like livestock, horticulture and fisheries as well as non farm sector would benefit and this would result in overall economic betterment of rural masses and generate raw material for our growing food industries.
Bosan has remarked that I would also like to emphasize that there is little direct linkages of various agricultural industries with small scale farmers. This situation demands a paradigm shift in approach of the industrial sector with respect to their relationship with farming community who produce raw material for them.
He further emphasized that the agro-based industries should be set up in major agricultural producing areas. There is also need that the businesses and industry have to set up formalized contractual arrangements with the farmers for purchase of their commodities and products.
He said that the industrial sector should also develop linkages with the agricultural research and development and play a role in transfer of technology and knowledge to the farming community. Bosan has expressed that Pakistan Agriculture Conference and Exhibition 2015 would be an opportunity for our visiting farmers to expand their knowledge about new innovations and value addition technologies.
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