While chairing a meeting on Agriculture Transformation Plan at the Finance Division on Tuesday, Dr Hafeez Shaikh directed the relevant authorities devise a clear action plan along with timelines and responsibility matrix to finalize different proposals including those relating to agri loans and their swift processing.
Dr Hafeez Sheikh also constituted a five members committee comprising secretary Law and Justice Division, Secretary NFS&R, Governor SBP and other senior officials of the relevant institutions and ministries to complete the task.
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir, Secretary Law and Justice Division, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research, President National Bank of Pakistan, President ZTBL, President Bank of Punjab, senior members from Boards of Revenue of Punjab, Sindh, KP, Balochistan & AJK and senior officials from the Finance Division were a part of the meeting.
The meeting reviewed the progress on the directions of the prime minister to enhance agriculture credit for the farming sector. The deputy governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) made a presentation on the consultative process followed with key stakeholders and detailed proposals to enhance the agriculture credit.
Read More: Challenges faced by our Agriculture Sector
During the meeting, it was decided to make LACIP Act, 1973 more effective by bringing amendments in areas of foreclosure and simultaneously streamlining procedures for swift processing of agriculture loans. It was also stressed that judges against vacant positions in banking courts need to be appointed as soon as possible.
The minister reiterated the firm commitment of the government for promoting agriculture sector through effective and speedy implementation of Agriculture Transformation Plan as approved by the prime minister.
Agriculture crucial for attaining sustainable food security
The livelihoods of most food-insecure households worldwide are mainly based on agricultural activities. It is also believed that growth in the agriculture sector, on average, is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth in other sectors. Pakistan’s economy being primarily agriculture in character has seen a drastic decline in the production of staple crops, such as wheat, rice and cotton, due to natural disasters, volatile security situation and low economic growth. As a result, the national nutrition survey 2018 points out that an estimated 37 percent of the population faces food insecurity.
Presently, Pakistan is grappling with lower-than-expected levels of food output and therefore needs to import key food items like oil, wheat, pulses, sugar and tea.
Amidst all of this, Engro Corporation has been actively working on its initiatives to improve rural livelihoods through sustainably increasing agricultural production and sales and enhancing food security for the poor. It specifically targets low-income and vulnerable rural populations empowering them to effectively pursue profitable agricultural activities and break free from the cycle of poverty.
Recently, Engro Fertilizers which is a subsidiary of Engro Corporation and a premier fertilizer manufacturing and marketing company and BASF entered a strategic partnership to launch Sefina TM insecticide by BASF in Pakistan, to help the country’s farmers better protect their crops from pests and improve crop yields.
As Pakistan’s population continues to grow, concerted effort and innovation is urgently required in order to sustainably increase agricultural production, enhance the local supply chains, reduce food losses and waste, and ensure that all who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition have access to nutritious food.