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Farmers to Lead Agriculture Portfolio

July 21, 2023 at 6:19 pm | Economic Affairs

Green Pakistan Initiative underlines the government’s prioritization of the economy, specifically focusing on the agricultural sector of the country.

By Aamer Hayat Bhandara

Constitutionally and democratically, Pakistan has undergone significant transformations during the last parliamentary tenure of the current national assembly, ranging from governmental structural changes to the urgent implementation of economic recovery measures.

In recent months, there has been a notable increase in attention towards the agricultural sector by the state, government, and business community. This shift in focus commenced with the IMF agreement and has since been accompanied by actions aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and trade.

The most recent budget presented by the current government was indeed challenging and met with limited political support. However, it did emphasize the revival of certain sectors, with particular attention given to the agricultural industry.

In recent months, there has been a notable increase in attention towards the agricultural sector by the state, government, and business community.

The budget includes provisions for subsidies to aid in establishing processing units in rural areas, converting agriculture tube wells to solar-powered green energy sources, granting tax exemptions on seed imports, transplanters, and harvesters, as well as providing support for agriculture-focused youth loans.

These initiatives are expected to yield increased crop and livestock productivity, reduced post-harvest losses, and support for Agritech and agri-entrepreneurship. In the long run, these efforts will contribute to a reduction in the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels for electricity, a decrease in carbon emissions, increased green energy production, improved agricultural quality, the upskilling of unskilled rural labor into a skilled workforce, the generation of rural employment opportunities, and a reduction in food inflation and supply chain issues.

With only three weeks remaining until the completion of the constitutional terms of the National and two Provincial Assemblies, the economic recovery measures are still in their early stages. The role and responsibility of the caretaker government during the political transition will be of paramount importance compared to previous elected governments.

Recently, during the inauguration of the Green Pakistan Initiative, the presence of the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Army Chief underlined the government’s prioritization of the economy, specifically focusing on the agricultural sector. Alongside efforts to increase agricultural productivity, this sector will receive significant attention in the upcoming months.

A progressive agriculturist who can balance food security and climate resilience and adaptation will be a valuable asset in advancing the current government’s agriculture and food security agenda, fostering fulfillment, and promoting sustainability.

During the political transition, as the Pakistani state places great emphasis on economic recovery, particularly through leveraging agriculture, it becomes imperative to consider appointing an individual from the farming community to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. This individual should possess not only a comprehensive understanding of agriculture but also a deep awareness of local, national, and global agricultural and environmental challenges. This appointment will be crucial in charting the course for Pakistan’s prosperity and identifying new agricultural opportunities while ensuring a supportive farming system for farmers at all levels—national, provincial, and local.

A progressive agriculturist who can balance food security and climate resilience and adaptation will be a valuable asset in advancing the current government’s agriculture and food security agenda, fostering fulfillment, and promoting sustainability.

Pakistan’s recent parliamentary tenure has witnessed noteworthy changes, particularly in terms of governmental structure and economic recovery measures. The focus on the agricultural sector has intensified, with various initiatives aimed at enhancing productivity and trade.

As the political transition approaches, the role of the caretaker government becomes pivotal, and the appointment of a qualified individual from the farming community to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research is crucial for Pakistan’s prosperity and sustainable agricultural development.

With the right approach, Pakistan can unlock its agricultural potential and achieve both food security and climate resilience, contributing to the nation’s overall economic growth and well-being.

Write is a progressive farmer. He is Co-Founder of Digital Dera and Agriculture Republic Pakistan. He tweets @aamerbhandara

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