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Govt launches Rs309 billion programme for uplift of agriculture sector

ISLAMABAD: The PTI government announced on Tuesday a comprehensive Rs309 billion programme for the uplift of the agriculture sector.

Basic contours of the programme, titled ‘Agriculture Emergency Programme’ were shared by Minister for Food Security Mehboob Sultan and PTI leader Jahangir Tareen at a news conference in Islamabad.

They said that this four-year programme has been prepared on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan. It envisages thirteen projects in the areas of farming, fisheries, and livestock.

They said these projects will be approved by the ECNEC this month and in a matter of two weeks practical work on these projects will be started.

Jahangir Tareen regretted that the agriculture sector was totally neglected in the past. Spending on this vital sector of the economy was reduced from Rs29 billion to Rs14 billion over the last ten years.  He said the agri yield cannot be enhanced without spending sufficient resources on it.

The PTI leader said that both the federal and provincial governments will contribute to the programme.

Sharing key points of the program, he said it focuses on enhancing yield of wheat, rice, sugarcane and oil seeds and added the living standards of the farmers will improve with better production of the crops.

He said this program is especially for the poor and small farmers.

Tareen said that Rs220 billion will be spent on the water-related projects which include the brick lining of watercourses and construction of small dams.  Under this project, seventy thousand watercourses will be brick lined which will help save nine million acre feet of water.

Regarding livestock, the PTI leader said initiatives in this sector include save the calf and fattening of cattle program to enhance meat production and their export. He said that desi chickens will be provided to the poor population of rural areas on subsidized rates as part of efforts to alleviate poverty.

As regards fisheries, Jahangir Tareen said that shrimp and cage farming will be promoted and supported. There is a comprehensive program for trout farming in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said loans will be provided to the people for trout farming in Naraan, Kaghan and Swat.

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