LAHORE  -   Minister for Agriculture Punjab Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial, Minister for Information & Culture Fayyaz-Ul-Hasan Chohan and chairman taskforce for Pesticides and Fertilizers Malik Masood jointly held a press conference at Agriculture House, Lahore about government initiatives regarding agriculture sector to boost up the growth.

High officials of department and media representatives also attended this press conference. During media briefing session, Minister for Agriculture Punjab Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial has said that government of Punjab is going to implement first ever agriculture policy in the province soon. Policy draft has already been prepared on 24th October, 2018 and approved by the cabinet which mainly aims at reforming agriculture sector and industry to enhance its role in national economy.

Chief Minister Punjab will launch this policy on 20th February 2019. Present government has allocated almost Rs.36 billion during 2018-19 for agriculture growth. Government has increased the limit of Rabi interest free loans from Rs 25,000 to 30,000 and distributed interest free loans among 1,01,228 registered farmers worth of Rs. 5 billion during Rabi 2018-19. Minister for Agriculture also disclosed that government has also started Crop Insurance (Takkaful) for appeasement of farming community in 9 districts and till now 30 thousands farmers has been insured against rice, cotton and wheat crops. Government has to import worth of Rs 350 Billion edible oil. So, government of Punjab has started campaign to increase oilseed crop area and production. A subsidy of Rs 5000 per acre is going to provide sunflower cultivation and in future canola and sesamum will also be added in this subsidy scheme so that import bills of edible oil can be lessen in future.

Minister for Agriculture Punjab further said that government of Punjab has decided to provide subsidy on DAP fertilizers at Rs 500 per bag, Nitrophos Rs200 per bag and subsidy on Potash fertilizers Sulphate of Potash (SOP) & Murat of Potash (MOP) at Rs.800 and Rs.500 respectively per bag. Government will also provide subsidy of Rs.1000 per bag on cotton seed to registered farmers in District Multan, Vehari, Khanewal, Rahim Yar Khan, DG Khan and Rajan Pur for an area of 1,00,000 acres and hopefully federal government will also provide same subsidy for more 1 hundred thousand acres. Government is also revamping agriculture marketing system under Punjab Agriculture Marketing Regulatory Act (PAMRA) for betterment of farming community and to minimize role of middle man. Government is also establishing model mandi with worth of Rs 5 billion at Lakkho Derra. Present government also paid special heed towards recovery of sugarcane farmers pending liabilities to sugar mills. Government of Punjab appointed Advisor to Chief Minister Punjab for resolving matter of sugarcane and now this year sugarcane is expected to produce 46 million metric tons. Government has swiftly handing this issue and all sugar mills are being operational during crushing season and there’s no hue and cry of farming community over this issue.

Minister for Agriculture Punjab also briefed about water saving schemes and said that this year 2100 water courses will be improved and drip and sprinkler irrigation system will be installed on 12,000 acres. In pother region, 160 ponds are being made for saving water and 360 schemes are being operated in non-canal areas. To promote horticultural crops agriculture department also organized Pakistan Horti Expo 2019 on 21st and 22nd January.

Minister for Information & Culture Fayyaz-Ul-Hussan Chohan has said that our government aims to make agriculture sector, a vibrant and profitable sector. We are fully aware that without boosting this sector, Pakistan cannot make a progressive state. Under special directives of Chief Minister Punjab Agriculture Department is completing important projects and hopefully we will make a better future than our past.