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Agriculture is an important source of Pakistan’s foreign exchange

Lahore: Provincial Minister for Agriculture, Malik Ahmed Ali has said Pakistan is an agrarian country and agriculture is an important source of its foreign exchange. He said that in gross national product (GDP) the share of livestock is 11.6 percent while of agriculture is 55% and both play a vital role in national economy. He said 40 million population is dependent upon livestock due to which Punjab government has granted top priority to the livestock and agriculture sectors.

He expressed these views while presiding over a seminar on providing technical skill to rural youth about artificial insemination held under the auspices of Punjab Livestock and Dairy Development Board (PLDDB), here today. Provincial Minister Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman, Chief Executive Officer (PLDDB), Major General (R) Muhammad Ali Khan, Director General Livestock besides artificial insemination assistants and women livestock extension workers were also present.

Provincial Minister said that milk and meat are important components of our food. He said, as a result of special interest of Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, vigorous steps are being taken to boost milk and meat production throughout the province, for which Punjab Livestock and Dairy Development Board has been set up, which has achieved huge success, under the leadership of Maj General (R) Muhammad Ali Khan, in a very short period. He said, under this project, so far, more than 4000 rural young boys and girls have been imparted training. He said Artificial Insemination Assistants have completed the work of insemination of more than 55000 animals. He further said that women livestock extension workers are also ensuring balanced diet to the animals, alongwith creating awareness among the farmers in rural areas, for which they are being paid suitably. He said as a result of the steps taken by Punjab government, greater employment opportunities have been created in the rural community, and the younger generation in rural areas is taking interest in cattle breeding. He said work on the project is continuing to meet the nutritional needs of animals, while other facilities are also being provided to the farmers. He said an international-standard abattoir has been set up in Lahore while the government has also increased the budget of the livestock sector.

The Chief Executive of PLDDB, Maj. General (R) Muhammad Ali Khan said the youth, living in rural areas, are being provided employment opportunities, through increasing the productivity of animals. He said the project has been initiated from South Punjab, which would be extended throughout Punjab, gradually. He said Field Coordination Offices have been set up in DG Khan, Bhakkar, Jhang, Kasur, Layyah, Narowal and Muzaffargarh, while survey regarding livestock has been conducted successfully in the districts of DG Khan, Layyah, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur. He further said that Artificial Insemination Assistants and Women Livestock Extension Workers are efficiently discharging their duties, at more than 800 livestock resource centers.

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