ISLAMABAD, Jan 22 (APP):Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) Chairman Mian Kashif Ashfaq Wednesday said that increasing export of agro-based products is the top priority of government and FIEDMC is taking all necessary steps to uplift the agriculture for prosperity of growers.

He expressed these views while talking to Vice Chancellor University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf here today,” says a press release issued here today.

FIEDMC and UAF are looking for increasing bilateral cooperation in agricultural-based industry and value addition as FAU to provide technical assistance to enhance productivity and capacities in relevant agricultural fields.

Mian Kashif Ashfaq said Pakistan is an agriculture-based economy, where majority of the population directly or indirectly depends on this sector and agriculture sector contributes around 24% to gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for half of the employed labour force,” he said adding that it has been a big source of foreign exchange earnings, but sadly the sector has been neglected, forcing people to migrate from rural to urban areas for employment opportunities.

He said they have given special attention towards agriculture sector and for this purpose; Special Economic Zones Allama Iqbal Industrial City and M-3 Industrial City will house special units on food processing and agricultural appliances to boost agro-based industry in the country. “FIEDMC has allocated 250 acre land in M-3 Industrial City for small and medium enterprises who want to start their business immediately after shifting there,” adding he said this allocated land acquired specially for those local investors who want to set up their industrial unit within the range of 3 to 10 acre land and such type of investors are in large number.

FIEDMC Chairman said agriculture and livestock marketing have been one of the weakest links. Small farmers cannot afford to invest in marketing, therefore, FIEDMC is introducing tools to assist the farmers.

“Most of the agricultural and livestock products like vegetables, fruits and milk are perishable, which require proper storage facilities. Therefore, FIEDMC will provide a set of facilities for improving the shelf life of farm commodities.

On this occasion, Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf stressed the need for adequate investment in agricultural research to help boost the economy of the country.

He said that the varsity was making extraordinary efforts to promote research culture in the country. He was of the opinion that Pakistan direly needed to adopt modern technologies and techniques to boost its agricultural growth and agri based export.

He also assured that UAF will design programmes for FIEDMC to strengthen the scientific, engineering and research and development culture.

He further said UAF will also help business community dealing in agricultural and food sectors to develop resilient and high-value cropping systems, proven technical solutions to combat desertification, and other related technologies that can be applied to the local context.

Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf lauded the efforts of Mian Kashif for promoting of agricultural industry in Pakistan and he said FIEDMC can play vital role in this regard.