LAHORE-Around one million small holder farmers will adopt climate-smart and sustainable agricultural practices by the year 2023, said Dr Wyn Ellis, Executive Director Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP), while speaking at a webinar organized by the Pakistan Basmati Heritage Foundation (PBHF). Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R) Syed Fakhar Imam was the chief guest on the occasion.

Dr Wyne Ellis also threw light on the impact and adoption rate of the sustainable rice production standards. The webinar was attended by all the major stakeholders of rice crop.

Syed Fakhar Imam, while speaking on this occasion, emphasized on the private sector to come forward for providing quality agricultural inputs and promoting mechanization through service provider’s model. “We need to focus on both in human resources, capital & quality of equipment,” he added.

“Yield is our biggest challenge and we need to enhance yield per unit area to monitor, evaluate, examine & access how our research institutions are working at national, provincial, district & field level. We want to build our inherent seed system & technological advancements through digitally integrated mechanized farming. Efforts are being made to ensure quality seed supply especially of hybrid through Chinese collaboration like Green Super Rice (GSR)”, he said. He also underlined the importance of organic farming and its trend in global markets. He assured for capacity building of seed regulating bodies (FSC&RD) and Plant Breeder Rights registry for strengthening of seed sector, the minister concluded.

Dr Abid Qaiyum Sulehri, Executive Director Sustainable Development Institute, highlighted the working of stakeholders in silos & crop per drop. He focused on agro-climatic zoning, allocation of Special Economic Zone for Agri. in CPEC & digitization. Dr. M. Azeem Khan, Chairman PARC, shared that although the yield of rice increased 30% in last 40 years but still yield gap is more than 50 % between potential and actual. He underlined the productivity enhancement project under the PM Emergency Scheme worth PKR 15.8 billion. 

Shahid Tarer, Convener Pakistan Basmati Heritage Foundation (PBHF) & Director Galaxy Rice, shared about the goal of PBHF to promote sustainable rice production and preserve Basmati Heritage through bringing major stakeholders. He explained about “Why SRP standard is ideal for Pakistan” and said that greater collaboration with government is needed.