Chairing a meeting to review progress of the Agricultural Transformation Plan, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the incumbent government had already chalked out the idea for the first time in the country’s history and its implementation was being carried out on a priority basis. Mechanisation of agriculture sector, provision of quality seed, efficient water management system and assistance in livestock farming were transforming the agriculture sector into a high yielding economic entity, he added. The premier highlighted that due to the introduction of Kissan card, subsidy on fertilizer and genetic improvement of livestock, the government was aiming to achieve even higher yields as compared to the record yield achieved last year. During the review-meeting on the Agriculture Transformation Plan, participants of the meeting were informed that for dissemination of quality seeds to increase the average yield and quality of the produce, relevant approvals have been made and fund release was in process. For the genetic improvement of livestock, import of quality semen was proposed and the process was expedited and listed as high priority. Moreover, in order to assist the livestock farmers, 9211 helpline has been revived in Punjab which is almost near completion in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The meeting was also informed that the project for mechanisation of farming was nearing completion whereby distribution of machinery to farmers will also begin soon. This will help not only to increase the yield, but will also help cut farming costs. In addition to the above, the development of a comprehensive and well managed Information and Communication Technology (ICT) system for agriculture sector, including extension services to assist farmers, will also be launched in the first quarter of the coming year. During the meeting, a comprehensive update was also given about institutional reforms regarding research institutes whereby 65 per cent of the proposed interventions have already been implemented with special focus on the cotton research institute. Centers of Excellence to conduct agricultural research were soon being launched in Punjab and other provinces with a focused approach on high yielding crops and the crops that will substantially reduce dependence on imports. The meeting was given a detailed brief on olive cultivation and was informed that import of high yielding plants for 20,000 acres has already been commenced. Regarding shrimp farming, the meeting was given an update about hatcheries that have been established and are soon to be operationalised in Punjab and Balochistan. The meeting was also apprised of the fertilizer situation in the country, consumption of urea, DAP and operation against hoarders. Participants were also told about the progress on collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Research whereby transfer of knowledge with the aim to introduce innovative agriculture techniques will improve yield and diversity. The prime minister directed to take strict action against hoarders and profiteers and those involved in smuggling of urea fertilizer. The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar, Syed Fakhar Imam, Special Assistants to PM Dr Shehbaz Gill, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and chief secretaries of all provinces apart from relevant senior officers. During the meeting on Special Economic Zones (SEZs), the premier said his government’s focus was to increase investment in SEZs for the establishment of export oriented industries. He added that the government’s business friendly policies and focus on ease of doing business had started rendering positive results. The premier further said increased investment of overseas Pakistanis and foreign investors was the result of the trust the government had earned by its effective policy measures. The meeting was given detailed presentations on SEZs and initiatives taken by the Board of Investment (BOI), China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority and relevant ministries to facilitate investors in obtaining NOCs and complying to different regimes both under provincial and federal governments.