MNSFR (The Ministry of National Food Security and Research) has unveiled a Rs. 82 billion plan for the agriculture sector. The plan aims to improve water efficiency, enhance crop yield, fishery and livestock development, the creation of agro markets and uplifting small farmers to reduce rural poverty.
The transformative and revolutionary plan sketched on recommendations by MNFSR task force follows ‘100 days agenda’ and is a part of Rs. 200 billion packages allotted by the federal and provincial government to the agricultural sector.
Sahibzada Mehbub Sultan, Minister for National Food Security and Research, said that the comprehensive plans will be implemented within 2-3 years. He added that every target is achievable and the ministry is determined to fulfil it. Specifically talking about the area of crop yield, an investment of Rs. 4 billion will be made through promoting mechanization.
50% subsidy will be given to small farmers on the purchase of crops specific machinery, improved provisions of certified seeds and development of high yielding varieties.
The Minister also directed PARC (Pakistan Agriculture Research Council) to invest in producing better seeds for farmers and sanctioned Rs. 4 billion to PARC.
To develop fisheries sector, the government plans on promoting shrimp farming, trout farming and cage fish culture in Northern areas costing Rs. 4.6 billion, the project will later be extended to coastal areas as well. Minister added that a cage farming process is already working at Head Panjnad.
Water efficiency will be improved under the National Program for Improvement of Water Courses in Pakistan Phase II, costing Rs. 68.60 billion. The project will improve watercourse lining, enhancing command area of small dams in barani areas and water conservation in barani areas. As a result, 9 million acre-feet of water is expected to be saved and later made available for irrigation. The Minister also revealed that laser levelling will be provided on subsidized prices to small farmers.
In Sindh, there are 18,000 lasers already available while there are 12,000 in Punjab.
“UAE and China are major markets for Pakistan’s cattle but to explore exports. The project will help ensure that animals in affected areas are disease free within one year. Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalnagar and Bahawalpur would soon be declared disease-free zones” – the minister said.
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