Sindh to get a new and improved agriculture policy 

CM laments that sector not performing up to its potential

Our Correspondent April 17, 2018

KARACHI: During the Cabinet meeting on Monday important decisions were made regarding agricultural policy, youth policies, a 10-bus project in Karachi and the establishment of two new universities.

The agriculture policy would be in force till 2030 and would be in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the various legal, regulatory, institutional and expenditure-related changes set out in the policy will be implemented over a period of two years – from 2018-19 to 2019-20.

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who chaired the Cabinet meeting, said in terms of agriculture, the province accounts for 18% of the country’s land, 16% of its total cropped area and 23% of the national agriculture output.

He lamented that the sector has not performed up to its potential. The CM added that output was low in 2015-16, which led to agricultural growth being negative for the first time in the country’s history.

Murad said that what little growth has occurred has been the result of more land, water, input, higher livestock numbers or greater fishing efforts. He said that such an input-based pattern of growth is not sustainable; explaining that by 2025 the country’s agricultural water requirements would increase by 50% if the current agricultural practices continued.

“In the coming years, enhanced productivity has to take over as the principal engine of growth,” he warned.

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Home and Agriculture Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal briefed the Cabinet members on the action points of the new agriculture policy. These include increasing credit flows into crop, livestock and fisheries and for associated rural off-farm activities and simplifying the procedure for land use, land transfer and lease for establishment of rural enterprise. According to the minister, they also aim to reform the legal and regulatory system governing the agriculture and livestock marketing and to redesign the price support system.

The policy also aims to improve legislation, regulations, labelling and quality oversight in the market for inputs, particularly for seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, animal feed and veterinary medicines, as well as implement a certification system for organic crop, livestock and fishery products.

The new policy is also geared towards attracting both domestic and foreign investors to rural areas through incentives. According to the Siyal, a better regulatory environment will be fostered for commercial farming, cold chain and agro-based industry and to promote export of high value food production. Finally, the policy also aims to review and reallocate government expenditure on agriculture as well direct and indirect subsidies.

The cabinet, particularly Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro, stressed the need of giving more subsidies to the agricultural sector. The Cabinet, after thorough discussion, approved the new agriculture policy.

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Youth policy 

The Sindh youth policy was also discussed and approved during the meeting, in which it was said that it is the central tool to systematically integrate, implement and evaluate all youth development work in the province. The policy aims to build youth who are economically sound, socially progressive and politically engaged and who possess appropriate skills and tolerant values of good citizens. Like the agriculture policy, it was formed in consultation with stakeholders, experts and academics.

The highlights of the policy include the establishment of a youth development commission, establishment of district structure of youth affairs department, a centralised information system on youth development and job database, formation of a job bank, establishment of placement bureaus through IT interface and establishment of a youth venture capital fund. The policy also includes annual innovation competitions and formation of small incubation centres at universities, entrepreneurship training at universities by the private sector, a crash programme on technical education, research and mapping studies on the youth, youth-led mass awareness campaigns and reviving student unions and other student leadership opportunities.


The Cabinet also decided to upgrade the Shikarpur campus of Shah Abdul Latif University into a full-fledged university. The new university will be named after poet Shaikh Ayaz. The Cabinet approved the draft of the Shaikh Ayaz University, Shikarpur Act, 2018 and referred it to the Sindh Assembly for further approval.

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The Cabinet also approved the establishment of the Begum Nusrat Bhutto Women’s University draft bill. The university is being established at a cost of Rs2.71 billion in Sukkur. The land for the university has been donated near the Arts Council, Sukkur and its compound wall has already been constructed. The remaining construction work is in progress and the varsity’s vice-chancellor, Parveen Munshi, has been appointed to oversee the work. The draft bill was referred to the assembly.


The appointment of Ayaz Hussain Tunio as prosecutor-general was approved during the meeting. During the last Cabinet meeting, Fiazul Hassan was appointed but his notification was stopped as he was younger than the required age of 45 years.

The law department had proposed three names, Tunio, Qurban Ali Malano and Hakim Ali Shaikh, and the Cabinet approved Tunio’s appointment.

NTS teachers

The assembly passed a bill regarding regularisation of National Testing Service (NTS) qualified teachers appointed on contract basis and sent the summary to the governor on February 26 for his assent. The governor returned the bill with the observations that the contractual appointments of teachers under the policy were made to address the issue of non-availability of teachers at union council or taluka levels. The passage of the bill categorically kills the spirit of the policy, which was meant to revive teacher-deprived schools in far-flung areas of Sindh.

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The Cabinet, after addressing the observations made by the governor, referred the bill back to the assembly to pass it again. The Cabinet decided that the teachers’ transfer or posting would be made in a way that no school remains deprived of teachers.

Bus project

The transport department moved an item regarding fare slab for operation of AC buses on intra-city routes in Karachi. Transport Minister Syed Nasir Shah informed the Cabinet that the fare has been proposed after consultation with all the stakeholders at Rs20 for less than five kilometres, Rs30 for five to 15km and Rs40 for 15 and more kilometres.

These 10 buses would ply on the route from Quaidabad, Malir, Star Gate, Sharae Faisal, Shah Faisal Colony, Natha Khan, Drigh Road, PAF gate, Karsaz, Baloch Colony, Nursery, Jinnah Hospital, Metropole Hotel, Fawara Chowk, Arts Council and II Chundrigar Road up to Tower. The Cabinet approved the fare slab and urged the minister to start the buses’ operation as soon as possible.


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