MULTAN - Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Muhammad Gondal has disclosed that pesticide and seed acts are being amended and these laws will be presented before the assembly in the upcoming session for approval. Addressing a news conference here at Central Cotton Research Institute Multan on Friday, he said that the government was determined to uplift agriculture sector and new laws would help boost national production. He declared on this occasion that Basmati rice would not be procured from South Punjab, as it did not fulfil international standards. He suggested to the growers of South Punjab not to cultivate rice, as this area was not suitable for this crop. He claimed that the country currently possessed three million ton surplus wheat. He said that the annual wheat requirement of the country stood at 23 million ton while the country produced 24.3 million ton wheat last year and 24 million ton this year. He said that the government was highly serious in promotion of agro business as practical measurers were being adopted to expedite the process of mango export. He said that new board of management was constituted for mango pulp plant to eliminate public reservations. Our steps have resulted into a visible boost in plants production. Previously it was producing 135 ton pulp and now it produces 250 ton, he added. He said that the plant would also produce the pulp of citrus, guava and apple and the benefit would go to the local growers. He was of the opinion that the farmers ceased cultivating unprofitable crops. The sugar mills did not pay well to the farmers during the last five years as a result of which the sowing of sugarcane has observed serious decline, he quoted an example. To a query, he said that agricultural scientists were working to develop virus controls. He said that multiple projects were underway simultaneously to develop hybrid and virus-free varieties of cotton. He said that the country would soon get technology to control virus. Once we get the control, well achieve production target of 15 million bales, he claimed. Referring to BT Cotton, he said that this seed produced positive result across the globe as it increased production. He said that local farmers were getting 60maund per acre yield compared to previous 30 maunds. This has become possible because of BT cotton seed, he claimed. Answering a question, he supported extension given to army chief, saying this step was taken while keeping in view services rendered by him in war against terrorists. It was imperative. Today the residents of Swat are living free life. Taliban had made the lives of people miserable, he added. He said that the government held a fair in Kalam after completion of army operation and over 80 percent locals participated in it. To another query, on unemployment in the country, he said that the situation in Pakistan was much better than other countries as people were losing 600,000 jobs every month in countries like USA. He said that the banks of other countries were getting bankrupt but the situation of Pakistani banks was much better. He said that PPP had many tremendous achievements like 1973 constitution, NFC award, nuclear programme and elimination of terrorism from the country on its credit. Earlier, talking to the journalists on Thursday night, the minister said that the PPP government was acting upon reconciliation policy, as it wanted to keep all political parties along with it. He said that the reconciliation policy had nothing to do with fake degree issue. Wherever any parliamentarian gets disqualified there will be held by-polls, he added. He was of the opinion that out of 1200 degrees if 30 or 40 had turned out fake, it did not make any difference. There will be no mid-term polls in the country, he categorically declared. He said though PPP and PML-N were political opponents, both the parties agreed upon implementation of charter of democracy. As far as the statements of Dr Babar Awan and Rana Sana Ullah are concerned, they are the beauty of democracy as criticism is an integral part of parliamentary system, he added. He said that criticism always brought positive changes.