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Rs12bn for agriculture ‘insufficient’, says Senate committee

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research has described the government allocation of Rs12 billion for agriculture as ‘totally insufficient’ as the sector contributes 19 per cent to GDP and employs 38pc of the country’s total labour force.

The committee at its meeting chaired by Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah on Wednesday emphasised the need for a uniform policy for wheat production in Pakistan and stressed the need for stipulating a minimum support price for cotton and measures to motivate growers not to switch to other crops.

The Ministry of National Food Security informed the committee that weak execution and lack of funds were the main issues that have prevented the agricultural sector from attaining its full potential.

The committee was further informed that a system was being put in place to ensure provision of subsidy directly to the farmers. It was asserted that in order to benefit extensively from Pakistan’s agrarian economy it was essential that a departure from traditional agriculture be made to research and knowledge based farming.

The committee also took up the issue of appropriation between Sindh and Punjab.

It recommended that as per the para 7 of the accord, the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) may move the competent authority for discussion on this issue and progress on the matter may be sent to the secretary committee before the next meeting.

It also recommended that all surplus and losses of irrigation water must be equally shared by all provinces as per the Indus Water Accord of 1991.

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