— Govt to enhance rural economy through value addition of agri-products
— Says due to govt’s Kisan package, record wheat yield achieved
LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday said Pakistan greatly valued its cordial and broad-based relations with Belarus.
He also affirmed Pakistan’s commitment towards building mutually beneficial cooperation with Belarus in all areas, including economic, agriculture, science and technology, information technology, education, and culture domains.
The prime minister received Foreign Minister of Belarus Sergei Aleinik, the PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.
Foreign Minister Aleinik conveyed the warm greetings of President Lukashenko to the prime minister, while highlighting that Belarus regarded Pakistan as an important country in the region and appreciated its efforts to promote regional peace and stability.
The prime minister also briefed the foreign minister on the human rights violations by India in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
Noting that Pakistan and Belarus would be commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 2024, the prime minister welcomed continued high-level exchanges and engagement.
In this regard, he also reiterated his invitation to the Belarusian president to undertake a visit to Pakistan, at his earliest convenience.
Govt to enhance rural economy through value addition of agri-products
Prime Minister has stressed upon taking practical and permanent steps over the agriculture reforms and said that the government would improve the rural economy through the value addition of agri-products.
The prime minister chaired a high-level meeting on the fiscal budget 2023-24 proposals regarding the agriculture sector, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.
The prime minister observed that agriculture sector was the backbone of the national economy and the country’s progress was not possible without innovations in this sector. He said that due to the incumbent government’s Kisan package, a record wheat yield was achieved in the current season.
During the meeting, the prime minister was apprised in details of the agriculture reforms during the previous one year.
Due to PM’s special Kisan Package, the provision of loans to farmers on affordable terms was not only ensured but due to supply of timely fertilizers and quality seeds, the country also achieved the bumper wheat crop, exceeding the previous production in the last ten years.
Under the prime minister’s directive, the best-supporting prices over different crops led to the prosperity of farmers which would also boost the upcoming crops, it was added. The prime minister also directed for direct provision of subsidy to farmers on fertilizers.
He said that the provision of quality seeds, latest machinery, extension services and for agriculture research, resources would be allocated in the fiscal budget.
The prime minister said that practical steps should be incorporated in the fiscal budget for complete conversion of agriculture tube wells on solar energy.
The prime minister was also informed about the international quality seeds, import of semen for animals breeding, functioning of the agriculture institutions and implementation over Kisan package.
The meeting was briefed over the National Oil Seed Policy whose objective was to reduce dependence over import of edible oil by provision of quality seed.
Automatic Seed Certification and Track and Trace System were being introduced for the provision of quality seed, it was further added.
The prime minister terming the proposals of experts as very useful, directed his Adviser Ahad Khan Cheema to form two sub-committees to give final shape to budget proposals regarding the agriculture sector.
These committees would be tasked to give concrete shape to innovations in this sector, mechanization, provision of quality seeds, direct provision of subsidy to farmers on fertilizers, solarization of tube wells and policy measures.
The committees, for the purpose of export in agriculture sector, would also ensure the linking of value addition and agriculture production with the global value chains so that the production of farmers could be timely supplied to the international markets.
The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Rana Sanaullah, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Ahsan Iqbal, Engineer Khurram Dastagir, Makhdoom Murtaza Mahmood, PM’s adviser Ahad Khan Cheema, Minister of State Dr Musadiq Malik, Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, PM’s Special Assistants Tariq Bajwa, Jehanzaib Khan, Tariq Pasha, governor State Bank of Pakistan, chairman FBR and other high officials. Besides, different prominent experts and farmers in modern agriculture also attended the meeting.
The prime minister regretted that the previous government had intentionally destroyed the agriculture research institutions which were established by them and directed for the immediate functioning of the Agriculture Policy Institute.
He observed that during the current year, they had ensured the prosperity of farmers by extending the best support price on wheat, cotton and sugarcane.
The prime minister also directed to the establishment of small fruit processing and pulping units in the villages.
“The government will make the country self-sufficient in edible oil by increasing its production. With autarky in edible oil and other food grains, the dependence on import will decrease, besides it will result in saving of precious foreign reserves,” a press release in Urdu language quoted the prime minister as saying.
The government would ensure the provision of timely loans to farmers on easy terms, he further added.