Tech advancement to help address agri-challenges | The Express Tribune


ISLAMABAD:

Coordinated efforts have been made at the national and provincial levels to develop the agriculture sector and bring it at par with the international standards to enable Pakistan to achieve self-sufficiency in food production and boost economic development, said Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali.

Briefing media persons at PARC office on Saturday, Ali said that besides strengthening linkages with the international development partners and agencies, the department made several other efforts as well to promote agriculture.

“Research-based solutions and technological advancements are direly needed to overcome the challenges present in the sector and to maintain food security,” he said. “They can also help achieve sustainable, long-term economic growth and social prosperity.”

Terming climate change the biggest challenge to the agriculture and livestock sectors, he said unsustainable use of natural resources, high cost of inputs, rapid urbanisation and high population growth were also daunting issues for the segment.

According to the PARC chairman, there is a need to create a national agriculture research system to resolve all these problems. Such a mechanism can provide research-based solutions to farming communities as per their ecological requirements.

He pointed out that many areas had been identified for the production of high-value crops and maximisation of farm income. “Under the system, a large area of land has been identified for sowing oilseeds, citrus fruit and nuts,” he said.

“Implementation of the initiative will help promote high-value crop production and reduce the cultivation of conventional crops.”

Ali told the media that PARC had started developing new varieties of high-yielding seeds of major and minor crops in order to enhance per-acre crop output to tackle the growing demand for food.

Moreover, it will aid exports and steer economic development on a sound basis.

“So far, the department has developed over 65 varieties of seeds of different crops, including eight hybrid varieties, and distributed them to the growers,” he said. “Due to these efforts, Pakistan is now producing a surplus output of major crops like wheat, rice, sugarcane and maize.”

He shared that PARC was in the process of launching four new varieties of seeds of long and extra-long grain rice to enhance output and farm income as well as accelerate the earnings of medium and small farmers.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2022.

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