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Pakistani PM vows to support farmers

Pakistani PM vows to support farmers

Helping producers adopt modern practices is a top priority, Imran Khan says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The future of Pakistan’s ag industry is a top priority for the federal government, the country’s prime minister says.

Working groups made up of representatives from private organizations and government are needed to ensure farmers are using the best tools available, Imran Khan said, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

The Minister for National Food Security will head one group dedicated to revamping seed registrations. Another working group will consist of seed companies and government regulators striving to help farmers plant the best varieties.

Pakistan’s GDP was about US$305 billion in 2017. Agriculture accounts for about 20 percent of that amount, or about US$61 million.

The industry also employs about 42 per cent of the country’s residents and is responsible for nearly 75 per cent of export revenue.

Major crops in the country include wheat, corn, rice, sugarcane and cotton.

One of the country’s goals is to increase cotton production.

Farmers harvested more than 14 million bales in 2015, the Karachi Cotton Association says.

Prime Minister Khan wants that number increased by one million bales to help offset imports. Pakistan imports about US$1.2 billion worth of cotton annually.

The prime minister’s support for farmers echoes a report from the Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW), which described agriculture a the “backbone of the economy.”

Farmers need proper tools to produce crops at a more profitable rate.

“It is impossible to ensure national development while keeping agricultural development on the babkburner,” Dr. Murtaza Mughai, president of the PEW, said in the report, the Pakistan Observer said.

Imran Khan/Twitter photo

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