Government envisions enhancing Agriculture based Economic Growth to Benefit the Poor – Rana Tanveer

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Islamabad, A high-powered Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) mandated to oversee strategic measures for ensuring food security in the country, held its meeting on 24th April, 2024 under the chairmanship of Mr. Rana Tanveer Hussain, Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research. Besides the participations of senior officers of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research, the meeting was attended by the Provincial Agriculture Departments, State Bank of Pakistan, ZTBL, National Fertilizer Development Center (NFDC), Pakistan Meteorological Department, Indus River System Authority and member, Food Security & Climate Change of Planning Commission of Pakistan.

Addressing the Federal committee of agriculture Federal Minister for industries production and food security said to ensure food security Rana tanveer said , we must enhance domestic agricultural production through increased productivity per acre. While the availability of food commodities in the country is generally satisfactory, affordability remains a major issue for the poor segments of society. Pakistan has immense production potential in agriculture, livestock, and fisheries sectors, thus averting the challenge of hunger. However, for sustainable economic growth and prosperity, efficient utilization of production resources by adopting modern technologies, establishing realistic marketing systems, and minimizing trade barriers are of fundamental importance, the Minister said.

The Minister said Pakistan is facing natural crises due to climate change, making the agriculture sector a priority for the government. To stabilize the food security situation, the government is making efforts to assist farmers by providing inputs at affordable prices and ensuring better prices for their produce to bridge the gap between production costs and output prices in favor of farmers, he said.

The Minister said the government envisions enhancing agriculture-based economic growth to benefit the poor and promote nutrition-sensitive practices to reduce various forms of malnutrition. This includes increasing farm profitability and competitiveness by realizing the existing productivity potential of various crops, livestock, and horticulture, while also creating an enabling environment for investment along the value chain of agricultural products.

While reviewing the performance of the Rabi crops (2023-24), the Committee observed that Wheat production for 2023-24 is estimated 29.69 million tons from an area of 9.6 million hectares; the increase in production is 5.4% over the last year, Onion production for 2023-24 is estimated 1.92 million tons from an area of 0.122 million hectares; the increase in production is 3.9% whereas, area decreased 5.4% over the last year, Tomato production for 2023-24 is estimated 627.47 thousand tons from an area of 50.9 thousand hectares the increase in production is 3.9% whereas, area decreased 0.3% over the last year, the potato production for 2023-24 is estimated 8.1 million tons from an area of 0.3 million hectares the increase in production is 27.9% over the target assigned by last FCA. The current government has prioritized agriculture to boost up country’s economy and uplist the livelihood of people.

3.The FCA held detailed deliberations over the production targets for essential Kharif crops 2024-25 and decided to fix the production target of cotton 10.8 million bales whereas, 8.7 million tons production target for Rice over 3.1 million hec of land. Maize target fix 9.3 million tons production target over 1.5 million hec of land. The Committee also fixed the production target (2024-25) of sugarcane at 76.7 million tons over an area of 1.3 million hectares. The targets for other crops such as Mung, Mash and Chilies were also fixed.

4.Pondering over the availability of agricultural inputs for Kharif crops (2024), the water availability in canals head will remain 63.61 million acres feet (MAF) as against last year which was 61.85 MAF. At present all the provinces are getting their satisfactory supplies in the system.

5Meteorological department informed that during April to June 2024, normal to slightly above normal precipitation is expected in most parts of the country particularly over upper Punjab during the season May to July, 2024. Tendency of above normal precipitation is likely to prevail in the month of August and September, 2024. Area weighted normal rain fall of Pakistan during monsoon season in 140.8 mm. It is also informed that sufficient water will be available for irrigation and power sectors.

6.Director General (FSC&RD) informed the house that seed of Rice, Maize, Sesam and Mung Bean will be remain available as per requirement. The representative from State Bank of Pakistan informed that allocations of institutional credit for agriculture had substantially increased to Rs.2250 billion for 2023-24 and the disbursement up to February, 2023 is Rs.1073.5 billion which is 59 % of overall annual target of 1819 billion which is 28.5% higher than the disbursement of 835.3 billion made during last year.

7.The FCA directed to concerned departments to remain vigilant to balance the supply and demand situation of fertilizer for quick decision to make import to meet the domestic requirement during the coming kharif season.

8.At the end, the Committee expressed satisfaction over the food security situation in the country however, emphasized the need for research & development as well as better coordination to consolidate the gains and ensure further progress of the sector.