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Rs82 Billion plan initiated by Ministry to diminish rural poverty

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) revealed Rs82 billion plan for the agriculture sector on Wednesday, with the endeavor of better crop acquiesce, enhanced water competence, livestock and fisheries expansion, and formation of agro-markets in order to elevate small farmers and to diminish rural poverty.

Sahibzada Mehbub Sultan, Minister for National Food Security and Research stated in a press conference regarding the detailed preparation which will be executed in the time span of almost two to three years.

He also informed that the objectives of the plan are easily achievable and ministry is trying its level best to provide all the necessary arrangements for the same.

The Minister emphasis in the crop yield segment, an investment of Rs4 billion will be made through encouraging mechanization, 50% subsidy will be provided to small farmers on the acquiring of machinery specific for crops, progress of high-yielding varieties, and enhanced stipulation of certified seeds.

Furthermore, international specialist will also be connected to set up fresh facilities and promote existing modern research institute along with expansion of services at various levels, agronomy, plant fortification, marketing and crop processing methods will be modernized so as to expand better production with fewer input.

The minister also ordered the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) to manufacture superior quality seeds for the farmers, for which he has he has authorized Rs4bn for the PARC.

In order to promote fisheries sector, the plan predicts enhancing of shrimp farming, cage fish culture and trout farming in different parts of northern areas, which will cost almost Rs8.6bn. He also added that, a cage farming plan is already in the process at the Head Panjnad.

However, water competence will be enhanced under the Rs68.60bn National Programme for Improvement of Watercourses in Pakistan Phase-II. This initiative is intended at water course lining, augmenting command area of small and mini dams in barani areas and water protection in barani areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, resulting in saving of almost 9 million acre feet (MAF) of water for irrigation.

The ministry also highlighted that about 47MAF of water is wasted in transportation in canals, distributaries and watercourses.

Sahibzada Mehbub Sultan also proclaimed that laser leveling will be presented to small farmers on subsidized costs. Also, the government will organize 12,000 fresh lasers within the next two to three years. At present, in Sindh, there are 18,000 lasers whereas in Punjab the totality of lasers is 12,000.

A mega Foot-And-Mouth Disease Project will be instigated with the facilitation of UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at an expenditure of Rs763 million.

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