ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday announced a comprehensive Rs309 billion programme for the uplift of the agriculture sector, Radio Pakistan reported.
The details of the programme titled ‘Agriculture Emergency Programme’ were shared by Minister for Food Security Mehboob Sultan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen during a news conference in Islamabad.
“This four-year programme has been prepared on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan. It envisages 13 projects in the areas of farming, fisheries and livestock,” they said.
These projects will be approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (CNEC) this month and work on the projects will start in a matter of two weeks. Tareen claimed that the agriculture sector was totally neglected in the past.
“Spending on this vital sector [agriculture] of the economy was reduced from Rs29 billion to Rs14 billion over the last ten years. But now both the federal and provincial governments will contribute Rs309 billion for the uplift of the agriculture sector.
Sharing more details, the PTI leader said the programme would focus on enhancing per yield of wheat, rice, sugarcane and oilseeds.
He said, “The living standards of the farmers will improve with better production of the crops. This programme is especially for the poor and small farmers.”
According to Tareen, “Rs220 billion will be spent on water-related projects including the brick lining of watercourses and construction of small dams. Under this project, 70,000 watercourses will be brick lined which will help save nine million acre-feet of water.”
He added initiatives in the agriculture sector include ‘Save the Calf and Fattening of Cattle Programme’ to enhance meat production and their export. “Desi chickens will be provided to the poor population of rural areas at subsidised rates.”
“Shrimp and cage farming will be promoted and supported. There is a comprehensive programme for trout farming in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Loans will be provided to the people for trout farming in Naraan, Kaghan and Swat,” Tareen said regarding fisheries.
“The government,” the PTI leader continued, “is also focusing to expand the agriculture markets so that the farmers can get better return of their yield. Four new markets will be established Lahore, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad and 56 other markets will be upgraded.”
Tareen regretted Sindh government was repeatedly requested to become part of the agriculture programme but they did not respond positively.
“Sindh government should rise above politics and join the programme for the sake of the country and uplift of the agriculture sector. The government is ready to provide Rs18 billion to Rs20 billion to the Sindh government for the agriculture sector.”