Minister stresses need for crop diversification for food security

Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam Saturday said that government was working hard in applying genetic engineering, crop diversification and biotechnology in agriculture sector to ensure food safety in the country. His government is committed to double the income of the farmers and this can be achieved only if farmers use technology and opt for crop diversification, he said while speaking to PTV news channel.

He said there is a dire need to move towards precision agriculture technology, big data and quality assurance to meet international quality parameters.

The PTI government wants to focus on agricultural research, education and extension to promote export-focused production that cannot be avoided anymore as it is vital for agro-based industrial development, he added.

Imam stated that universities and research departments should be groomed and advanced technology be applied for the benefit of agriculture.

The minister said there was no doubt that Pakistan was an agro-based country but we had not focused on it as we should have over the years. “We should continue to work together towards climate change resilient research, mechanization in pulses cultivation and processing, improving seed replacement rate to fill the gap of technology adoption in the farmers’ fields.

He said the government would take all-out measures to facilitate the farmers as development of the agriculture sector was among its priorities. He said agriculture is not only the basis for country’s economy but it also ensures the supply chain of foods to the masses. That is why it is of paramount importance to focus on agriculture sector to avoid food security issues.

He further explained that the agriculture sector of the country was being faced with multiple issues including water scarcity, low quality seeds and pesticides. Moreover, the locust swarms and climate change, were also emerging threat for the sector as it had become a huge challenge for the crops the same way COVID-19 had become a threat to human life.

Food availability will be ensured through increase in production of food items, he said, adding, improved farm techniques will also be promoted and issues like land and water management will also be addressed.

He said the present government of PTI had also formulated different policies, which would become especially important in the wake of climate change and water shortages.

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