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Research vital for agri development   
 
Pakistan is far behind in water storage capacity than India as its capacity is just 8-10pc that is 25pc less than the water storage capacity of India. “After the establishment of Diamer-Basha, Akhori and Kalabagh dams, the water storage capacity of Pakistan will increase to 23pc”, Rao Irshad Ali Khan Chairman Irsa said.

He stated this on the occasion of Roundtable Discussion on ‘Agriculture and Water in Pakistan’. The Planning Commission of Pakistan in collaboration with UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank organized this ‘Roundtable Discussion’. Speakers at the seminar stressed the need for adopting the innovative methodologies and research to increase crop productivity.
 

 


It was discussed at the occasion that Pakistan has serious water shortage threats and it has very low water storage capacity of 150 cubic meters per person. The figures were quoted from a World Bank report “Better Management of Indus Basin Waters”.

As per the report it was stated that large dams were the need of the time, as they were not only supposed to serve agricultural needs of the country but they also could add significant energy in the national grid. Tarbela ‘s power benefits account for 60% of the overall economic benefits from the dam and the power benefits would be an even higher proportion of total benefits from either Kalabagh or Basha.

Rachid Benmessaoud, Country Director for Pakistan, World Bank said that the contribution of agriculture in GDP growth is more than 24 percent. The need is to bring in large investment programs for the development of agriculture sector.
 

 

Dr Muhammad Jameel Khan, advisor on agriculture planning of Planning Commission of Pakistan giving his presentation on “Agriculture Growth and Productivity Enhancement” said that it needs new development approach in Pakistan. The government should encourage private sector as an engine of agriculture growth and agriculture market should be open for private sector, while the government should only monitor proper functioning of the markets, he added.

Comparing the labour productivity in the agriculture sector of Asia, he said that in Pakistan it has registered a growth rate of 0.2 percent from 2000-07, while during the same period in India it was 2.2 percent, in China 6.4 percent and in Bangladesh 1.4 percent.

The government has to develop viable plan for enhancing agriculture labour productivity through training workshops, community organization and Ngos, Dr Jameel argued.

He also said that the number of tractors being used in the Pakistani agriculture sector, were very low and they were just 0.9 horsepower per cropped hector against the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s recommendation of 1.4 horsepower.

In Pakistan public sector investment in agriculture research as percentage of the sector GDP is 0.3 percent, which is far below as compared to 2.4 percent of the developed countries and 0.53 percent for developing countries.

Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), Dr Muhammad Afzal speaking on the occasion said that agriculture sector in Pakistan over the years has registered phenomenal growth, but still it was not as per international standards.
 

Courtesy: The NATION
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