Use of modern technology imperative to upgrade country’s agriculture sector: Fakhar Imam

Use of modern technology imperative to upgrade country's agriculture sector: Fakhar Imam

By Shabbir Hussain

ISLAMABAD, Oct 06 , Diplomatic Star (DS) : Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research,  Syed Fakhar Imam highlighted the role of agriculture in Pakistan’s economy and termed use of  modern technology was more imperative to upgrade agriculture sector.

Pakistan is a country blessed with the agro-economic zones, he expressed these views during a day-long the conference organized by the think-tank Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) and the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Pakistan in collaboration with the MNS University of Agriculture, Multan on the topic of “Food Security vis-à-vis Sustainable Agriculture in Pakistan: Policy Outcomes and Prospects”.

The initiative aimed to highlight the issues of food security and agricultural productivity in Pakistan. Experts from academic and multiple relevant fields presented their research-based views and policy recommendations.

The minister said:” We have one of the most extensive irrigation system in the world”. Around 38% of our population is employed in the agro-economic sector, which increases the significance of this sector.

“We need to upgrade the agriculture sector through the use of modern technology. We can apply different methodologies on smaller areas and that can be replicated on larger scale upon success to multiply its benefits for the public”.

Later, addressing to the participants of the conference, Provincial Minister of Punjab for Agriculture, Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi, stressed the significance of modernization of the agriculture sector in accordance with the global standards to increase productivity:

He said under the 2030 SDGS implementation agenda, Pakistan plans to achieve food security for its population by 2030 by adopting modern agriculture and food production methods.

“We need to focus on research in agriculture especially biotechnology in order to improve the yield and achieve self-sufficiency in food.”

While responding to the query of journalist from Diplomatic Star and APP regarding my opinion about Food Security and Pakistan the Resident Representative of HSF Pakistan, Dr. Steffen Kudella, said for a foreign guest like me, this is very hard to understand: how can a country like Pakistan be so full of natural and agricultural richness and at the same time face the challenge of food shortages.

For him, he said Food Security means: “Everyone has access to sufficient and safe food – even in times of crisis.”

He said that there are several reasons behind and that from now Food Security is a serious non-traditional security challenge globally and for Pakistan.

Steffen Kudella pointed out the few main and most significant causes of food security are given below.

  1. In Pakistan more than 16% of households suffer from food insecurity as per a recent study.
  2. This becomes particularly serious for children: too many of them are malnourished or have underweight.
  3. Even though Pakistan already has a comparatively strong food production sector, its agricultural potential is much bigger and needs to be used for its people.
  4. A lot of available food remains un-accessed due to physical, economic and sometimes naturalfactors.
  5. Pakistan is also heavily affected by the impact of climate change and other serious environmental factors,such as droughts or floods.
  6. The COVID-19 pandemic has further worsened this in terms of the economic growth, food prices, and unemployment.