“The recent momentum in Pak-US relations has opened up vistas of opportunities in furthering Pak-US cooperation in critical areas including agriculture sector,” said Pak Ambassador to the United States. “Pak-US ‘Green Alliance’ can potentially serve to revolutionize agriculture sector of Pakistan with the help of US expertise and would also significantly help in cementing the goodwill created between the two countries by Green Revolution in past,” he continued. The Ambassador made these remarks while addressing a webinar on ‘Pak-US Cooperation in Agriculture Sector’ which was hosted by Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, and attended by leading area experts from public and private sectors, research institutes, agriculture departments, entrepreneurs and representatives of farmers community of Pakistan. The webinar was organized to identify potential areas of cooperation between Pakistan and the United States and interventions needed to optimize agricultural yields through introduction of weather resistant and climate resilient seeds, helping Pakistani famers reducing costs and maximizing output and most importantly to stave off any situation involving food security. The participants included among others Syed Babar Ali, Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, Senator Sehar Kamran, Secretary Agriculture Department Punjab, renowned agriculturist Rabia Sultan, Mr. Afaq Tiwana, Mr. Shoukat Ali, Country Lead Monsanto Mr. Saad Khan and others. Addressing the participants, Masood Khan said that the US government, universities, research institutes and the private sector was willing to join hands with Pakistan in addressing issues related to agriculture sector. He underscore the need for capitalizing this unique opportunity to create a win-win partnership between the two countries. Masood Khan said that the goal of revolutionizing agriculture sector needed innovative approach, a concrete strategy with delineated goals, sustained efforts and a robust cooperation among all stakeholders including government departments, universities and the private sector. He said that farmers community and civil society were important stakeholders while chalking out future roadmap vis-à-vis addressing challenges in agriculture sector and promoting greater Pak-US cooperation. “The interest being shown by the US side and the existing frameworks including Trade & Investment Framework Agreement between Pakistan and the United States provides us with a solid foundations to enter into a robust partnership, once again, in agriculture sector,” Pak Ambassador said. Masood Khan thanked Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, for bringing all stakeholders on a platform to work together for deliberating and suggesting ways and means to enhance Pak-US cooperation in this critical area. Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan apprised the participants that University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) enjoyed strong ties with Washington State University (WSU). He informed the participants that in order to overcome effects of climate change on wheat crop, Washington State University (WSU) shared heat tolerant wheat germoplasm which were being introduced and tested. He said that the two universities were working closely in the areas of identification and implementation of cutting edge technologies, exchange of climate resilient wheat germoplasm, manpower training and capacity building. He further informed the participants that UAF has been working on the introduction of soybean as a new multipurpose crop in Pakistan in collaboration with US Department of Agriculture, Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL), University of Illinois and North Dakota State University. UAF and University of California, Davis, USA, were also collaborating in the area of high-yielding and disease resistant cultivar of chickpeas. Dr. Iqrar Khan emphasized upon the need for greater focus on technology transfer and implementation of intellectual property rights laws, in letter and spirit, to encourage US companies invest in the seed sector. Syed Babar Ali, founder of National Fertilizer Corporation, underscored the importance of seeds as the foundation of agriculture sector having critical role in enhancing crop yield. Emphasizing the need for out of the box solutions, Syed Babar Ali called for radically liberalizing regulatory regime vis-à-vis seed processing, procurement, distribution and use. Muhammad Asim, country lead Monsanto Bayer, highlighted the importance of ensuring level playing field, implementation of IP protection laws and bilateral collaboration in technology transfer areas. Mr. Saad Khan emphasized upon the need for developing local partnership with US companies and streamlining the process of multiplication of seeds. Renowned agriculturist Ms. Rabia Sultan underscored the need for putting in place science based regulatory regime and stewardship of new varieties of seeds. Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak identified viability gap funding and provision of incentives for seed processing plants as major areas for promoting introduction and adaption of quality seeds for various crops. US former ambassador Asif Chaudhry while calling for according ‘strategic importance’ to seeds emphasized upon greater facilitation of the private sector by federal and provincial government departments. Ambassador Khan thanked the participants for their valuable input and highlighted the steps being taken by the government to eliminate red-tapism and facilitate private sector especially the farmers community in playing lead role in agriculture sector. The Ambassador underlined the need for a dialogue on streamlining regulatory regime vis-à-vis introduction and adaption of new varieties of seeds. He emphasized the importance of strong inter and intra partnership among the universities, private sector and other stakeholders of agriculture sectors of the two countries. Ambassador Khan called upon the entrepreneurs and leading farmers to identify agri-sector tech development and investment opportunities. He also assured the participants of every possible support from the Embassy of Pakistan in connecting relevant stakeholders and building networks to promote greater cooperation between Pakistan and the United States in the agriculture sector.