ISLAMABAD  -  The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Saturday called upon the government to launch micro credit schemes for small farmers  and enabling them to adopt modern agricultural techniques that would help them to achieve manifold increase in per acre yield of crops.

It said that Pakistan was an agricultural country, but remained unable so far to introduce latest agricultural machinery and technology due to which its per acre yield of agricultural crops was far less in comparison with many other countries.

ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal, said that agriculture was contributing 21 percent to the country’s GDP and providing employment to around 45 percent of the workforce.

He said that Pakistan has not yet achieved the required targets of self-reliance in agricultural production, primarily due to non-adoption of modern techniques.  He stressed the need to train, support and encourage farmers to utilise modern day tools in agriculture sector to achieve food security and self-sufficiency.

He said that present day agriculture was more knowledge-based in which modern education has an important role to play. He said that diffusion of modern agro technology in many countries has considerably increased growth of all crops and urged for also following this approach to increase production and incomes of farmers.

He said that majority of peasants were hesitating to adopt modern technologies due to number of factors, including high rates of agriculture appliances, unavailability of quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides in the market at an affordable rate and emphasised that government should address these issues on priority basis.

ICCI President said that farmers were mostly using tractors for cultivation and were losing around 40 percent of their yield in post-harvest losses due to non-adoption of modern agricultural technologies.

Therefore, he urged the government to cooperate with farmers in using combine harvesters and other modern techniques, which would save their precious time and increase their per acre yield as well.

He said that farmers should also be educated to use efficient irrigation techniques, which would lessen their expenses and increase production.

He said that majority of farmers had knowledge about the use of modern seed varieties for crops, but they did not have sufficient financing to adopt latest techniques of cultivation such as purchasing high-cost seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, machinery, etc.

He urged that government should take measures to address these issues of farmers and develop a proper mechanism under which quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other agro-appliances were available on proper and controlled rates in the market.

He was of the view that use of modern techniques would enable Pakistan to achieve self-sufficiency in agriculture sector and export surplus agro products to earn precious foreign exchange for improving its economy.