Fund being created to promote research, innovation in agriculture sectorBreaking

February 22, 2024

The government is going to create a fund for promoting research and innovation to help boost Pakistan’s agriculture production. Muhammad Kashif Dogar, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Department, said the fund was going to be established in the department’s research wing with an initial allocation of Rs1 billion. He said the agricultural sector’s current decline could be arrested only through introduction of modern technology. He said climate change was a major threat to the agriculture sector. He said agricultural scientists would have to work on a war footing to find ways to ensure climate-resilient agriculture practices. He said effective use of natural resources was the need of the hour to help enhance agricultural production. “Climate-resilient production methods should be introduced and farmers should be trained in how to apply them,” he stressed.

“Land and water are the precious gifts of nature and their protection is a sacred duty,” he said, adding it is the need of the hour to maintain the health and fertility of land so that “we could achieve higher production of important crops, fruits, pulses, vegetables and fodder as well.” “We are trying to promote improved cultivation practices, efficient use of natural resources and enhance skills of farmers to turn around the agriculture sector,” Dogar added. He urged agricultural scientists to speed up research efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in crop production. He said agricultural scientists had been assured that the government would provide them all possible resources in that regard. Bilal Ahmed, a farmer, said steps must be taken to bolster agricultural production so that sustainable growth of farmers could be assured. He said due to multiple challenges and lack of support for the farmers, particularly the youth, were saying goodbye to agricultural practices. He said agriculture was the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, and that it was the need of the hour to explore solutions to the issues being faced by the growers.

Ahmed said agriculture scientists should sit with real stakeholders to evolve a strategy to overcome the challenges facing the agriculture sector. He claimed the farmers lacked such platforms where they could discuss their issues and find solutions to them. Dr Ahmed, an official at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, stressed that without paving the way for resilient farming practices and sustainable development of farmers, Pakistan couldn’t ensure food security. He called for training farmers in use of modern technology and improving irrigation system to ensure availability of water to the farmers at the tail-end. Besides, he said irrigation through solar-powered tubewells should be promoted. Dr Qurban Ali, Chief Scientist of Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad, said scientists of the institute had registered more than 1,600 pesticides for control of harmful insects and weeds in the light of field research results.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan (INP)