Trade between Pakistan and India should be promoted by protecting the rights of stakeholders particularly the growers, recommended a roundtable held by University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

At the conference titled “improving economic governance in agri sector through trade liberalisation between Pakistan and India”, the recommendation was made by UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad. The vice chancellor suggested the identification of a seasonal window for the commodities. He quoted the examples of potato which has peak season in August and September in India while Pakistan has the peak season in October and November.

The conference also recommended that trust deficit between the two countries needs to be bridged through dialogue. The strengthening of the domestic production market was also essential to tap the potential of the sector.

The vice chancellor said that India was a big market of around one billion of people. He said the trade with the seasonal window would open up new chapter of progress. He also sought the policy interventions in this regard to flourish the sector in Pakistan. He said India was providing the highest subsidy on the electricity. Even in the Indian Punjab, the subsidy on tube wells amounted to Rs1 trillion. On the occasion, Lahore University of Management Sciences Pro Chancellor Syed Babar Ali, MNA and Parliamentary Secretary Rana Afzal, Farmers Association Pakistan President Tariq Bucha and other progressive farmers were present.

Syed Babar said, “We need to tap the potential in flourishing the agricultural sector by promoting state-of-the-art technologies in the country. He said that China has made tremendous work in the garlic. Our country can do the same. We have to get the benefit from the others’ experience. The 70 percent of the population is directly or indirectly linked to the agriculture sector that must be strengthened.”

He suggested the setting up of entrepreneurship cell at the UAF in order to equip the youth with the skills and to transform the knowledge into goods and services.

The MNA said that the government was making an all-out effort to strengthen the agri sector in the country. He said that the recommendations to be made before the government. He said that the agriculture is the backbone of the national economy as it contributes 21 percent to the gross domestic product.

Tariq urged the government to take tangible steps to address the issues of the farmers. He said that at least 10 percent of the budget must be allocated for the agriculture sector. He said that in the process of trade policy formulation, the farmers must be taken on board.

ORIC Director Dr Asif Ali, Dr Abdul Ghafoor, Dr Waseem Ahmad, Dr Mubashair Mehdi, Director Ayub Agriculture Research Institute Dr Abid Mehmood, Aiwan-e-Zarat President Dr Sadique Naseem and others also attended the meeting.