Policy Experts Reviewed Assembly's Proposed Agro- Growth Strategy
The Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser on Wednesday invited the policy experts and practitioners to critically analyze the National Assembly, Committee's proposed agricultural growth strategy, policy levels, reform instruments and implementation plan, and propose corrective measures where necessary
ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Feb, 2021 ) :The Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser on Wednesday invited the policy experts and practitioners to critically analyze the National Assembly, Committee's proposed agricultural growth strategy, policy levels, reform instruments and implementation plan, and propose corrective measures where necessary.
The experts while appreciating the proposed strategy unanimously stated that a Pro-Small Farmers policy lens was crucial to accelerating sustained agricultural growth rate and rural poverty alleviation.
The panelists appreciated the Speaker National Assembly and Special Committee on Agricultural Products for the elaborate, well thought-out and holistic strategy to drive up Pakistan's agro-productivity.
MNA Shandana Gulzar Khan, the Convener of the Sub-Committee explained that the objective of the plan is to accelerate the modernization of agriculture sector so that the sector can generate resources for the sustained development of the economy with a high degree of self-reliance.
Outlining the reform objectives, she remarked that there were twin aims of this reform plan; firstly, to enable the agriculture sector to achieve a sustained growth rate of 7.5 percent per annum by 2027 and secondly, to ensure that the poorest farmer i.e. the small-holder farmer (SHF) can be brought out of slavish poverty.
She added that the intended growth will also have positive additional spillovers i.e. reducing rural poverty, digital financial inclusion, improved food safety, security and quality, bio-diversity, formalization of the agriculture economy, supporting import substitution as well as support growth of exports (to Central and South Asia and Africa).
The panelists agreed upon and supported the proposal to revamp the agriculture lending system to unlock the farmers from the Arthi's dominated exploitative informal lending mechanism and debated the role of the banks and micro-finance institutions to cater to the demand of the agricultural credit.
The experts endorsed the digitization of credit, public procurement, advisory and extension services and weather index based climate insurance pool.
The panel also stressed the need for a phased approach to end the distorted subsidies through a business model of the small farmers.
It was unanimously agreed that structural reforms like contract farming, professionally managed farmers' cooperatives and village produce organizations, multiple produce markets and investment in warehousing was pivotal to drive up agro-productivity.
Other chief components of the strategy included Special initiatives for Balochistan, South Punjab, KP, Tharparkar, Cotton Revival program, Oilseed Development, Low-Cost Refinance Line of Credit and Credit Enhancement for Digital Production Finance, Digitization of Demand-Driven Extension Content, Integrated Seed System, Agriculture Climate Change Insurance Pool (Farmer Risk Transfer Mechanism) / Satellite-based Crop Reporting), Establishment of Agriculture Development Authority for Coordination of Reform Implementation, linkages with Ehsaas, Kamyab Jawan and CPEC and incentives for promoting investment in warehousing, contract farming and farmers produce organizations.
The Panel included Chaimran Income Support Programme Sania Nishtar, Former Finance Ministers Shaukat Tareen and Syed Naveed Qamar, Former Chairmen FBR Syed Shabbar Zaidi and Jahazeb Khan, Shahbaz Jamil president ZTBL, Adeel Malik Associate Professor at the University of Oxford, Abid Soleri, Mosharraf Zaidi, Shahid Zia, Professor Khalid Bashir and Khalid Mushtaq from Faisalabad Agriculture University amongst many other participants.