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Monday, April 15, 2024

USAID aims at boosting sales of Pakistani Agritech companies

News Analysis |

In a stakeholder awareness workshop, 15 representatives from Pakistan’s leading agriculture technology companies deliberated on how to expand adoption of agriculture technology in Pakistan. Under Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity (PATTA) Project, the session was held in collaboration with the Punjab Agriculture Department. After a successful signing of a cooperative agreement between Government of Punjab & USAID, the project supports the establishment of mechanization centers across the province to provide technical services to area farmers.

The significance of Punjab is primal. A major portion, 80% of the contribution to Pakistan’s agricultural GDP comes from Punjab province. Given that the agricultural sector employs 42.3% of the labor force means that any mechanization intervention significantly alters the contribution to GDP overall and the increase in income of farmer communities, especially in Punjab where over 60% of the land is cultivated.

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During the session, these 15 private sector agriculture businesses discussed the case for mechanization in the sector. They also identified several factors to make technology effective, appropriate and affordable for farmers that buy from them across Pakistan. On this occasion, Dr. Ghazanfer Ali, Additional Secretary Agriculture (Planning) attended the event and spoke about the need to meet a growing food demand domestically and globally through technology advancement in horticulture and livestock.

“USAID has always been a partner in helping Punjab’s agriculture sector expand its sales, we hope to see this continue through these awareness sessions. “Transfer of technical know-how, global agriculture best practices and technological essentials in high tech mechanization are the most critical parts of a USAID intervention with businesses in agriculture.

Dr. Daney Johnson, Chief of Party of USAID Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity Project said, “We aim to bring about an increase of 20 million USD in sales for these agri-technology companies of Pakistan within this 4-year period. For this, it is critical to ensure private sector manufactures bring about an adoption of agri-technology that scales productivity.” To assess future technical needs of the agriculture sector, a brainstorming session among these leading private sector companies, government officials, and agriculture experts took place. Recommendations from this session will guide future USAID project interventions in collaboration with the Punjab government.

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Meanwhile, ICARDA is implementing the United States sponsored projects on water and soil in Pakistan in close collaboration with the research and development institutions of the country. Minister for Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan, chairing a meeting, said project of water rehabilitating and best soil fertility and soil health management technologies for farmers is a generous assistance to Pakistan by the US Government.  He said Pakistan’s fertility and health of the soil are deteriorated because of low organic matter and unfavorable cultivation practices intensive tillage practices and removal or burning of crop residue, as a result, the productivity of our land is low.

Acting chairman, PARC said unsustainable management practices in Pakistan have damaged soil fertility and health and there is a stark need to suggest measures through soil testing advisory services for the improvement of soil fertility using suitable fertilizers and avoiding extra expenditure and to control the salinity and diagnose the soil problem and advise the farmers for its reclamation through suitable amendments.

Dr. Abdul Majid, Country Manager, ICARDA, Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Director General NARC and David Williams, USDA also spoke on the occasion and appreciated the efforts of Pakistani scientists for their remarkable achievements in the land, water research, and development. The main purpose of US-sponsored projects is to increase crop production, soil health, water use efficiency and conservation through diffusion and adoption of technologies and practices by farming communities.