FAISALABAD: Agriculture should be strengthened by increasing investment and adopting a comprehensive policy that will increase employment opportunities and bring down poverty in Pakistan, is the view of Dr John W Mellor, chief of the Pakistan Strategic Support Programme (PSSP). He was speaking at a seminar titled “Agro growth and economic transformation” at University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF).
Pointing out that 85 million of the population in Pakistan is working with the agricultural sector, Mellor stressed that agriculture had a direct relation with employment as it created more jobs. Agricultural research was the area that needed to be developed to cater to growing food needs of the country as well as the entire region, he said.
Giving a comparison, he said the federal government was spending 1.7% of its budget on agriculture, but Punjab was spending 7.5% of the budget on farmers.
He said in the 60s the sector grew at a fast pace in Pakistan, but in the 70s and early years of 21st century, it recorded a decline. This underlines the need for undertaking reforms at the micro level to help develop the sector.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2013.
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