ISLAMABAD                     -                 Urging the need for special attention to agriculture, the convener of the parliamentary body on agriculture Syed Fakhar Imam said growth in the agricultural productivity has lost momentum, leaving Pakistan’s rural population to face continuing high levels of poverty, and food insecurity.

He said this in a meeting with the DG of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, Qu Dongyu.

The members of special committee of the National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products were also present in the meeting.

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The Convener of the Sub-Committee Fakhar Imam presented a holistic picture of Pakistan’s agro-economy and listed key constraints that hindered successful transformation of Pakistan’s agriculture sector. He outlined that Pakistan’s progress in agriculture sector was far below its true potential.

He stated that agriculture sector over the last three decades has been relegated to secondary priorities in the policy making circles and urged the need for special attention to agriculture.

Highlighting the rationale for the formation of a Special Committee on Agricultural Products, he added that reversing Pakistan’s agricultural stagnation warranted building political momentum, ownership and close scrutiny of agriculture policies.

He underlined the need for strategic investments in agricultural science, technology, research, infrastructure and high value agriculture production.

Qu Dongyu remarked that Pakistan- a country with enormous agricultural potential constrained by significant challenges-was a key priority in FAO’s long international partnerships and called for further deepening the mutual cooperation to tackle food insecurity, malnutrition and rural poverty.

It is pertinent to mention that it was the first international visit of Qu Dongyu after assuming office of the Director General of FAO in June, 2019.

Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, Sher Ali Arbab who attended the call on as special invitee outlined that FAO’s technical support to Parliament was indispensable to evidence based policy formulation and oversight.

He added that further strengthening strategic partnership with FAO was vital to move Pakistan away from subsistence farming to high yielding modern agriculture.

FAO country representative for Pakistan Mina Dawlatchahi called for wider engagement with Pakistan on gender inclusive agricultural development.