Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that agriculture is the backbone of national economy and it has also a major share in GDP. He said that promotion of modern agri technology is of paramount importance in increasing per acre production for meeting the food requirements of increasing population. He said that promotion of agri research and provision of its benefits to the farmers are very essential.
He was presiding over a high level meeting with regard to promotion of agriculture, here today.
Federal Minister for Food & Agriculture Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Provincial Minister for Agriculture Dr. Farrukh Javed, Irrigation Minister Yawar Zaman, Forests Minister Muhammad Asif, Advisor on Livestock Arshad Jatt, Members Provincial Assembly, concerned secretaries and agri experts attended the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister said that there is a need to move forward by setting priorities for the promotion of agriculture. He said that extension sector will have to be fully mobilized and activated for providing guidance to the farmers. A comprehensive plan should be evolved for the promotion of agri research and all necessary resources would be provided for this purpose, he added. He said that there is great potential in agriculture sector and national economy can be strengthened by promoting agriculture.
While constituting a committee headed by MPA Hussain Jehanian Gardazi, the Chief Minister directed that the committee should present comprehensive recommendations within two weeks for capacity building of extension workers and transforming extension sector into a vibrant institute.
Constituting a committee headed by a cultivator Abid Malhi for the purchase of agri machinery and equipments, their use and maintenance, the Chief Minister said that the committee will consider all matters regarding agri machinery. The committee headed by Federal Minister for Agriculture & Food will look after import, manufacturing and balanced use of fertilizers.
The Chief Minister constituted another committee headed by Chief Secretary which will look after the matters of farms land. He said that there is substantial fuel in the shape of biomass in Punjab which can be used for generating electricity. He said that small projects can be set up for generating electricity through biomass.
Expressing indignation over slow implementation of a programme of generating electricity through biomass, Shahbaz Sharif said that practical steps should be taken speedily instead of wasting time on summaries for this purpose. He said that an effective strategy should be adopted regarding land development for agri purposes and services of experts be acquired for this purpose. He said that spurious agri medicines are a poison for the crops and his government had eliminated the business of fake agri pesticides in 1998.
The Chief Minister said that full attention should be paid to the checking of fake agri medicines business and strict action should be taken against the elements involved in this trade. He said that an autonomous Farms Commission should be constituted on the pattern of sugarcane. He said that Irrigation Reforms Programme continuing at a cost of Rs. 36 billion with the collaboration of World Bank is yielding positive results, however, there is a need of taking effective steps for preserving existing water resources for agriculture purposes.
Federal Minister for Food & Agriculture Sikandar Hayat Bosan said that the performance of Punjab government regarding implementation of agri programmes is appreciable. He said that federal government has given approval to the bill of amendment in Feed Act which will soon be presented in the parliament. With the passage of amendment in Feed Act, a revolution will be brought in seeds sector which will leave a far-reaching impact on agriculture.
Provincial Minister for Agriculture Dr. Farrukh Javed said that draft of new marketing law will soon be given a final shape. Secretary Agriculture gave a detailed briefing regarding measures for the promotion of agriculture and future projects. He said that the work on the project of setting up Agricultural Technology Park is also underway.