ISLAMABAD -  The federal and provincial governments should not ignore agricultural sector in the upcoming budget and must allocate proper resources for its development, a business leader said on Sunday.

Neglect has taken toll on the one of the most important sectors of the economy while continued fall in production has threatened the largest foreign exchange earning sector of textiles, said ICCI former president Atif Ikram Sheikh. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy therefore it should be patronised and all of its sub-sectors should be given additional attention which will not only improve lives of the farming communities but also increase exports and ensure food security, he added.

Sheikh said that the government of Punjab has taken some positive steps to revive the ailing sector but other provinces have not done enough which has reduced share of agriculture in the GDP. Agriculture sector provides employment to 44 percent population and contributes 21 percent to the GDP; it also provides 70 percent of the raw material to textile industry, he added.

He said that promotion of agriculture was must to increase GDP, enhance industrial development, raise income of rural population and strengthen financial position of the growers. He also demanded a proper mechanism to regularly monitor the policies impacting agriculture and its sub-sectors, financial position of the farmers and contribution of the agriculture.

Landlords should not dominate the entire assistances and the small farmers should also be given due share in the relief as it was vital for reviving the declining agricultural sector. Small farmers should be included in the policymaking process so that their problems can be resolved and the government can get the desired results, he demanded.