The Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is developing new technologies which include remote sensing, laser land-leveling, bio-fertilisers and solar tube-wells for enhancing the efficiency in agriculture sector.
The plan is to develop genetic modification expertise for producing high yield/pest resistant crops. MoST will produce, preserve and process fruits and vegetables that satisfy food chain requirements of the international market.
“The ministry will establish facilities for producing quality controlled halal food for Muslim consumers in different parts of the world and will support schemes for modern techniques in poultry, livestock and fish farming,” an official told the media.
Pakistan Council of Science and Technology Chairperson Dr Mudasar Asrar said that despite contributing 20-25% of the GDP and being the mainstay of our economy, it has not been possible, for one reason or the other, to exploit the livestock and agricultural sector to its full potential.
Significantly lower average yields of crops, persistent decrease in the quantity as well as the quality of water available for irrigation, high cost of fertilisers, limited availability of quality certified seeds, weak pest management and large post harvest losses are only some of the factors, limiting the growth of this critical sector, she said.
“Today about 30-35 million people in rural areas are engaged in raising livestock and about a third of their income is generated from selling livestock products.”
Pakistan is still spending a significant amount of foreign exchange on the import of food grains, meat and dairy products, she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2015.