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ISLAMABAD, Dec 18 (APP):Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Friday called for mobilizing the youth to exploit entrepreneurship opportunities existing in local agriculture and livestock sectors, which was prerequisite to attain the goal of sustainable economic development.

In his message on Farmers Day, he vowed for investing in research, development and technology advancement in rural areas of the country to provide opportunities for youth living there that would help in achieving the self sufficiency in agriculture products and reduce reliance on imported goods.

The minister also asked for focusing on innovations and modernization of agriculture sector in order to enhance agro-base through value addition of agriculture products that have brighter scope for talented young boys and girls.

December 18 is being observed as Farmers Day from 2018 in order to recognize the services of local farmers, he said adding that this vital segment of the society was the back bone of economic development and social prosperity of the country, besides contributing about 19.3 percent in local GDP.

Out of the total 60 percent was comprising on livestock, 40 percent crops, he said adding that five major crops including wheat, rice, cotton, maize and sugarcane were grown over 80 percent of total cultivable area and over remaining 20 percent area fruit,vegetables, oil seeds and fodder were grown to tackle with the domestic requirements.

In order to highlight the importance of the day, the minister called for organizing awareness programs at village level to encouraging the educated youth to adopt agriculture sector as carrier and play their role in economic development of the country.

Commenting on the day, Member Plant Sciences in National Agriculture Center Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali said that national youth could be involved in agro-industry through introducing of different innovations for value addition of agriculture products and production of high value crops.

The technological advancement and high yielding seeds were vital to enhance farm income and making agri-sector an attractive destination for national youth, he said adding that over 100 students both male and female were trained in National Institute of Genomics and Advance Bio-Technology (NIGAB).

They were trained on tissue culture in order to achieve higher yields of bananas, onions and other crops for not only achieving the self sufficiency but to produce exportable surplus.