ISLAMABAD - The Sub-Committee of the National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products yesterday presented a comprehensive structural reforms oriented agricultural growth strategy for the next seven years.  

The committee meeting was presided by Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser while the Convener of the Sub-Committee, Shandana Gulzar Khan, briefed the Committee on the proposed agriculture growth strategy.  Referring to the formation of the special committee, exclusive debate on agriculture in the National Assembly and the members’ commitment to uplifting the agriculture sector, Asad Qaiser remarked that this government has a sustained commitment to according central priority to agriculture sector in policy planning and debates.  

The Convener of the Sub-Committee, MNA Shandana Gulzar Khan, presented a data driven snapshot of the structure of Pakistan’ agriculture sector followed by a presentation of the Sub-Committee’s proposed strategy. She stated that the proposed programme was prepared after comprehensive consultation with all the stakeholders including the private sector, provinces, development sector, legislators and progressive growers.  The Speaker urged the Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam to spearhead a meeting with the Prime Minister to present the Committee’s proposed program.  He also urged the Ministry of National Food Security and Research and the Special Committee on Agricultural Products to convene a meeting with the provincial agricultural departments to ensure that the provinces are on-board for implementation of the program. 

He also directed the Sub-Committee to propose necessary amendments in the regulatory and legal framework.  

She highlighted that the overarching goal of the proposed strategy is to boost agricultural exports, accelerate rural-development driven economic growth, reduce rural poverty, and enhance financial and gender inclusion in agricultural sector.  Drawing upon historical data she explained that the inconsistent growth patterns of agricultural sector reveals lack of consistency in policy and planning for the sector.  It was outlined that implementation of the proposed program would accelerate the agriculture sector growth rate up to 5% per annum in a sustainable manner.   

She further added that the proposed model envisions a pro-poor growth strategy focusing on transformation of the business model of the 7.4 million small farmers who cultivate 48 percent of the total cultivable land. 

She stated that the weak business model of the small farmers comprising low bargaining power, low access to finance, low yields, fragmented market segment, lack of access to competitive markets and high production cost hindered the modernisation of the agriculture sector.  

Shandana Gulzar Khan further added that the proposed strategy drawing upon eco-system based, multi-pronged three phased stagey seeks to transform Pakistan’s subsistence agricultural into modern, diversified, competitive and high-value agriculture with a particular focus productivity and profitability of the small’ farmers. 

She maintained that in a value chain approach, in Phase 1 of the strategy, an alternate value chain structure for the small farmers would be implemented to increase their crop yield and milk and meat productivity, driving agriculture GDP growth and farmer incomes. In the next phase, GDP growth would be driven mainly by increase in the farm land by small farmers further increasing their incomes. In the 3rd Phase, the small farmers would graduate toward high value crops and value addition.