Investment in agriculture research and development is necessary to boost agriculture production for ensuring food security in the country, said Sikandar Hayat Bosan Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research. The minister said this while speaking at a two-day Agriculture Linkage Programme (AIP) annual conference on “Agriculture Innovations for Improved Productivity and Economic Growth” here on Monday.
He said increase in agricultural yield was only possible through research and use of modern technologies. Bosan urged the authorities to enhance investment and introduce innovations in agriculture, as the use of modern technologies is mandatory for improvement in farming techniques.
The minister said climate change is a serious threat to food security, hence comprehensive polices and concrete efforts needed to cope with effects of climate change. “The present government is making all out efforts for making agriculture sector competitive to cope with future challenges,” he said. He asked farmers to participate in AIP to help improve agriculture productivity.
John Groake, USAID mission director speaking on the occasion said the United States is supporting Pakistan agriculture for 50 years and the AIP will further improve their skills in innovative farming. He said that the API has shown remarkable results, which prove that through cooperation of United States Pakistan could achieve maximum agriculture growth, bringing prosperity for the farm community.
Citing Green Revolution, he said when in 60s, Pakistan was facing challenge of food security, Norman Borluge developed Mexi-Pak wheat variety, which brought about green revolution in the country. Groake maintained that climate change is a big challenge therefore both US and Pakistan need to work together to deal with it. Martin Kropff, Director General CIMMYT, said that presently we have been facing host of challenges including climate change, extreme weather conditions and water shortage which also impact agriculture production. “There is need to make concerted efforts to cope with these challenges, ensuring sufficient food for our growing populations,” he said.
The conference was organised by International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in collaboration with USAID and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC). Country Representative CIMMYT, Dr Imtiaz Muhammad gave a detailed presentation on the AIP projects and informed the participants about the impact of these projects on the overall productivity. The AIP is an initiative launched by USAID, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and PARC. Heat-resistant maize, higher-yielding wheat crop, livestock vaccines and less water dependent rice harvesting technologies are the leading innovations stemming from the four year $30 million initiative.