Former Speaker National Assembly Syed Fakhar Imam on Thursday demanded the lawmakers devise comprehensive agricultural policies by showing his concern that the country faces 35 percent decline in cotton production. On the other hand, we are surplus in wheat, rice and potato but we don’t have the storage capacity.
He addressed a consultative meeting on prioritization researchable topics organized by US Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies (USPCAS) in Agriculture and Food Security, University of Agriculture Faisalabad. He stressed upon the need to devise the state-of-the-art marketing mechanism of agricultural produces and price policy of input and output to face up the challenges of modern era. He was of the view that in 1993, the cotton was under the grip of the disease Cotton Leaf Curl Virus. But even then we got the 11 million bales from the Punjab province. But last year due to the climate changes, the cotton production in Punjab has reduced to about 6 million bales only. He said that the country is importing edible oil worth $ 3 billion. Whereas, India has attained 80 percent self-sufficiency in the edible oil. He urged the researchers to dig out the real issue of agriculture in their researches.
UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said it was a challenge for farming community and agricultural experts to ensure the food security in the region. The cultivated area of agriculture sector is shrinking and population was increasing. He urged the researchers to come with solution oriented policies to present the recommendations before the policy makers. He said that this year the cotton production has decreased 35 percent. It was 14 million bales that had reduced to 11 million bales due to climate changes. He said that we are wasting the wheat due to lack of storage capacity. He called for devising a policy to water storage for agriculture in line with California. He showed his concern that the farming community was being exploited by the middle man, adding that the middle man role must be reduced in order to safeguard farmer’s rights. He urged the researchers to come up with the viable policy solution for the food security and rural development of the country.
He said that the CAS had established five chairs including Climate Changes; Agriculture Policies, Biotechnology; Outreach and Precision Agriculture.
USPCAS Chief of Party Prof Dr Bashir Ahmad Prof Dr Bashir Ahmad said that rural people were migrating towards cities and giving the agricultural land on rent that is the matter of concern. He stressed upon the need to find the solution of the problems of the farming community. He said that USPCAS-AFS is working in five dimensions including efficient governance and leadership, curricular reforms, high quality applied and policy research, internationally competitive multidisciplinary graduate training and the technical and financial sustainability.
The five chairs of the CAS presented the presentations. The renowned agricultural researches and progressive farmers from four corner of the country presented their views about the researchable topics.
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