Karachi: The Federal Government has announced the budget stating that it would support the farmers by providing pesticides, fertilizers and agricultural machinery with a view to modernize and uplift the agriculture sector.
All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable exporters importers and merchant association Patron-In-Chief Waheed Ahmed said in his statement that the GoP has acknowledged that to control inflation and food security it is imperative that the agriculture sector should be developed on modern lines to improve yield per acre.
Since Pakistan being an agricultural country is importing food on a large scale and thus the country faces a stiff challenge of shortage of food which indicates our failure in meeting our foods’ requirements.
The Government has announced a national agriculture emergency program which is a welcoming step.
The government has allocated a fund of Rs.12 billion for development of the agriculture sector which is inadequate.
It is strongly recommended that for development of the agriculture sector a minimum of Rs.50 billion should have been allocated which should be enhanced to Rs. 100billion subsequently.
For Pakistan to be self-sufficient in food the Research and Development (R&D) is essentially required. There is a dire need to develop new varieties of foods, agri-produces, edible oil seeds and new varieties of cotton which should have potential to encounter challenges of climatic changes while these new varieties should have high yield per acre.
Similarly, irrigation systems are also required to be developed on modern lines with the introduction of modern technology.
The Government should announce a special package by allocating substantial funds for the development of the Horticulture sector which should include greenhouse, controlled atmosphere(CA), hydroponics and drip irrigation.
Overall, the Federal budget is balanced and the Government has taken necessary steps to reduce the cost of the manufacturing sector, while the textile industry has been zero rated and no new tax has been imposed.
In the backdrop of severe financial impact on the economy due to COVID-19 by announcement of a balanced budget, it would certainly assist in the economic growth leading to economic stability.
It is felt that the Provincial Governments should allocate more funds in the budget for development of the agriculture sector compared to the federal government because after the 18th amendment it is the sole responsibility of the provinces to develop the agriculture sector.
The Federal Government has announced a national agriculture emergency program in which provinces must actively participate so that this program can pay a substantial dividend.
Likewise, higher education commission, there is a dire need to formulate a national research council in the agriculture sector as well so that research and development conducted in the agriculture sector on the federal and provincial level can be shared will all provinces while the provinces like Baluchistan or KPK having inadequate technical skills and shortage of resources can also take advantage of R&D.