Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam Friday said Pakistan should enhance agricultural technological exchange with China. He stressed that both countries can immensely benefit from an exchange in agriculture research and value-added technologies.
The minister made these remarks during a meeting with a delegation headed by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Affairs Khalid Mansoor.
Fakhar said that agriculture is the main focus of Pakistan for economic growth and food security. Therefore, the government is focusing on transforming the agriculture sector on modern lines. Similarly, mechanization and climate-smart agriculture tools are the need of the day, he added.
The SAPM on CPEC Affairs briefed the minister on the progress regarding agreed areas of cooperation in the agriculture sector in the Joint Cooperation Committee and the respective Joint Working Group. He also briefed the minister about the eight areas of cooperation in CPEC with regards to agriculture which include capacity building, germplasm resources, agricultural product processing, agricultural technology extension, fishery science & technology, aquaculture and aquatic product processing, the establishment of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) free zones in Pakistan, market information & agricultural trade and cooperation for agricultural development under CPEC.
Fakhar said that keeping in view the future challenges of population growth and climate change, there is a need to explore science-based solutions to ensure food and nutritional security along with rich raw material supply to the industry. He said that China is quite advanced in agriculture science and technology with advance crop lines/hybrids, biotechnological tools, advance farm machinery and modern tools and Pakistan should benefit from it.
He said that Pakistan faces several challenges but with the right policy interventions under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the agriculture sector can be transformed. He said that the agriculture sector has been tottering along with the traditional agricultural techniques and it is high time that we focus on modernization.
The minister praised the governments’ efforts and said that in the last 70 years the main setback to research was insufficient funds. This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that under the Prime Minister Initiative Program billions of rupees have been invested in agricultural research which has led to record production of wheat, maize and rice last year.