FAISALABAD: The greatest challenge faced by the agricultural sector in Pakistan lies in management systems, observed a special committee of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences (PAS).
The PAS has formed a committee of agricultural experts to put together a white paper on challenges faced by the agricultural sector of Pakistan.
“A crisp, comprehensive document providing clear guidelines needs to be prepared, given the importance of agriculture to the national economy,” observed the committee in its first meeting.
“We are preparing a report with special emphasis on management issues and prepare workable proposal for radical changes in the sector,” said Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and convener of the PAS agricultural committee, while talking to The Express Tribune.
Post 18th Amendment, where agriculture has been devolved to provinces, the management systems at provincial levels need to be strengthened, Khan said.
For growth in the sector, entrepreneurs should not be ignored and provided technical as well as financial support in the form of loans at low mark-up, he said.
He also emphasised on the need for agricultural education and research, revision of syllabi for agricultural education and developing market-oriented human resource.
Digitisation of land records needs to be undertaken on a priority basis to protect poor farmers from the highhandedness of patwaris (land-record officials), he said.
We would also take consumers on board and incorporate their viewpoint in the report, he added. The target group for this report is small farmers, Khan said, adding that transferring knowledge to them is essential to bridge the technological gap. The PAS committee adopted a strategy to suggest measures for improvement in the livestock and aquaculture sectors, regulations for standardisation of the market and productivity of the agricultural sector, ensuring provision of quality seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, new tractors and loans and value addition of the agricultural produce.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2011.