Minister seeks to make Agri Sector more vibrant, resilient

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By Asad Cheema

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam Thursday urged the need to transform agriculture sector into vibrant and resilient scale to withstand the impacts of climate change and protect the livelihoods of dependent farming communities.

Addressing the seventh D-8 Agricultural Ministerial Meeting on “Agriculture and Food Security: Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture, Imam said that agro-industries and its contributions to the global greenhouse gas emissions was at the minimum possible levels.

The meeting was also attended by ministers of agriculture, Live stocks, rural development and heads of delegation of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Malaysia, Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Turkey.

Fakhar Imam said that this conference has provided a platform, where we can make commitment to eradicate poverty, end hunger, combat climate change, and address the challenge of reducing food loss and waste. Fakhar said climate change has become the most significant challenge to achieve sustainable development goals and it threatens to drag millions of people into never-ending poverty food insecurity.

Agriculture is the foundation of food security in the developing world, he said adding that it will not only provide essential food for human consumption and feed for livestock but also provide raw materials for industry and value-added products for both domestic consumption and international markets.

He said that food food Security ministry through Pakistan Agricultural Research Council has done some pioneer work regarding research and development of Climate Smart Agriculture and urge that PARC along with suitable organizations from other countries should be made part of this initiative right from the planning stage.

The minister said that due to the excellent agricultural policies of the government; despite COVID pandemic, the production of wheat, rice, maize, sugarcane, potato, onion and groundnut has increased to a record level. This year has been remarkable for agriculture sector of Pakistan, and our economy got a boost with the record agricultural production, indicating a lesser reliance on food imports in 2021-22.

Additionally, due to our favorable policies and interventions, the exports of agro-commodities have also increased significantly, including mango by 28.6%, citrus 31.25% and potatoes 28%. Fakhar said that he was very pleased to know that the D-8 Secretariat has taken this initiative at the right time.

I am also hopeful that this program and planned actions will be helpful for sustainable agricultural development and food security in D-8 countries. He reaffirmed that Pakistan is ready to work with international community to promote more ambitious collective actions to address the problem of food security in the world.