LAHORE-The government of Punjab has been giving 50 percent subsidy on the micronutrients and is committed to introduce more measures to facilitate rice sector. These views were expressed by Minister for Agriculture Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial during the launching ceremony of REAP journal at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The minister said that the farmers will be given transplanters and rice harvesters at 50% discount and rice choppers will also be given to the farmers on subsidy. He said that the LCCI will be given representation in the agriculture committee of the Punjab government.

Speaking about the measures govt has planned to implement, the minister said that government will coordinate with rice exporters in regard with the use of pesticides. Competitions should be held among the farmers to encourage production, adding that the government is working to develop long grain basmati which is internationally acceptable.

Senior Vice President LCCI Ali Hussam Asghar said that there is a lack of Research & Development, especially in developing hybrid seed varieties for Basmati. He also said the most effective remedy for lowering the cost of production is increasing the per acre yield. This has been witnessed in case of coarse variety where hybrid rice replaced IRRI and took tremendous yield jump in Sindh.

Ali Hussam Asgahr was of the view that there is a need to work in collaboration with the private and public research institutes to introduce new varieties especially hybrid in Basmati rice, which could ensure quantum jump in its production thus leading to more export surplus as well as the economic well-being of the farmers.

LCCI Senior Vice President stressed upon the need of participation of private sector in seed development; the current MNFSRD regime for seed certification needs to be shifted to truth-in-labeling regime.

He pointed out the areas that need intensive work including seed development, Better farm practices and higher yields through water management and mechanical transplanting and Research and Development.