by Shafqat Ali
FAISALABAD, Oct. 14 (Gwadar Pro) - Pakistani Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said on Wednesday afternoon that China was teaching Pakistan how to get more agriculture production from fewer lands.
Addressing a webinar organized by University of Faisalabad on “Reforming Agriculture Education and Research”, Syed Fakhar Imam maintained that the problems of research include low and unpredictable research budgets, shortages of well-trained scientific and technical staff and lack of clearly defined research priorities.
“The recommendations made include increased funding for research by international and national research centres, improving the relevance and responsiveness of research to clients, and making the institutional base for agricultural research more pluralistic. We are learning from China,” he remarked.
Imam said that for sustainable growth in agriculture, it was imperative to provide an environment conducive for farm investment and to have a continuous stream of new technologies, techniques and innovations which will require adequate investment in research and development activities.
“Regular monitoring of developments and analysis of emerging issues will need development of indigenous institutional capacity to provide policy guidelines. A pragmatic approach based on ground realities rather than a dogmatic one is the need of the hour.” Furthermore, he continued that Strategy for the future must effectively address the followings.
He emphasized that allowing the market to operate and policy reforms that support the ongoing structural adjustment should be given top priority. “To address the crisis in irrigation market-determined incentives must be allowed to determine resource allocation within the irrigation system. Reform in extension should include establishing closer links with research institutions and reducing the number of front-line extension workers and replacing them with fewer, better trained workers who are more responsive to the needs of farming systems. China is sharing technology and expertise with us,” he stated.
Imam stressed that full-fledged land reform was difficult to enact and can be considered only after a comprehensive study of costs and benefits. “Some important measures can be implemented immediately. However, the foremost is providing security of tenure to many farmers, especially tenants-at-will, thereby improving responsiveness to incentives and creating better incentives for long-term investments,” he observed.
This article originally appeared on Gwadar Pro.