ISLAMABAD, Sep 29 (APP):Minister for National Food Security and Research, Syed Fakhar Imam Tuesday said around 430,000 tons of imported wheat had arrived and rest would also reach Pakistan soon to meet shortfall of the commodity.

He informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research and said this year the country was short of 1.5 MT of wheat target and in order to meet the shortfall, the government allowed private entities to import wheat.
The meeting of the committee was held here at Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) under the Chairmanship of Rao Muhammad Ajmal.

The committee was briefed about the current wheat and cotton position in the country.
Fakhar Imam said the major factor for the low output of crops was the outdated seed technology.

The minister informed the committee that climate change had done damage to the agriculture production this year.

He said Punjab and Sindh were the most affected provinces by recent rains which was also a reason that the targets of some crops’ output could not be achieved.

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The committee directed that the ministry should ensure the availability of quality hybrid seeds of cotton in the markets to enhance its per acre yield.

The committee further directed that the ministry should announce the support price of wheat before the end of the current month to encourage its growers and to avoid unnecessary delays in sowing of cotton.

Fakhar Imam said the federal government was in constant contact with the provinces to fix the minimum support price of wheat for the upcoming season.

Meanwhile the committee unanimously recommended that “The Chamber of Agriculture Bill, 2019” (Private Member Bill) should be passed.

The meeting deemed that agriculture sector was the backbone of the country but unfortunately the successive governments failed to pay due attention to it consequently the condition of growers deteriorated over the period of time due to mismanagement and lack of coordination of the federal and provincial governments.

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The committee urged upon the need for introduction of substantial measures for promotion of agriculture sector so that growers could get proper reward of their hardship.

The committee expressed its concern that growers could not be benefited by the announced subsidy of present government for fertilizers and directed that Ministry may take stringent measures to bring its benefits to small growers.

With respect to cotton production, Fakhar Imam informed that major problems for not meeting up the cotton production targets were seed quality and white fly attacks.

He informed that the government had started the subsidy on white fly pesticides.
“The experts of our ministry are continuously working on it and we are also trying to ensure transparency in this regard”, he added.