Karachi, April 17, 2018 (PPI-OT): Sindh Minister for Agriculture Suhail Anwar Siyal while addressing a joint press conference with Sindh Minister for Information, Labour, Human Resources, Transport and Mass Transit Syed Nasir Hussain Shah and Sindh Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Muhammad Ali Malkani has announced Sindh Agriculture Policy here today. Suhail Anwar Siyal while addressing said that Sindh is the second largest economy of Pakistan endowed with many characteristics of a high growth region including the excellent conditions for the agriculture sector. It is a coastal province, strategically located between Europe and Far East, and close to Middle East with potential to become one of the largest logistical, trade and business and human resource hub in the South Asia.
The Government of Sindh wants to create an efficient, prosperous and resilient agriculture sector that can provide good incomes and decent employment to those involved in production, processing, transport and storage; and at the same time provide safe, nutritious and cheap food to urban and rural populations in addition to earning foreign exchange for the country by exporting high value agricultural products.
For over last 20 years, the agriculture sector in Sindh, as well as in Pakistan, including livestock and fisheries, has not performed to its potential. Moreover, growth has mainly been the result of increased use of resources and inputs, rather than higher productivity. Low agriculture and livestock yields are also a principal cause of low incomes and high food prices, which make it difficult for the majority of Sindh’s population to afford a nutritious diet.
The present peoples’ democratic Government of Sindh under its able leadership has prioritized agriculture and livestock which results number of new programs and initiatives to promote agricultural growth and rural uplift in the province. The Government, at a Cabinet meeting held on 16 April 2018, approved First Sindh Agriculture Policy with following major goals aimed at:
Raising Agricultural Growth
Measures will be taken to increase the agricultural sector growth to 4-5% per annum which is a necessary condition to raising incomes and reducing poverty and food insecurity; providing decent employment, particularly to the large numbers of youth entering the labour market; and facilitating a greater attention to sustainability.
Future growth in agriculture, livestock and fisheries will come from improving efficiency and productivity. To achieve this, the research and extension systems will be strengthened to make technological innovations in production, for example through improved seeds of major and high value crops and livestock breeds for milk and meat. Research and improvements will also aim at increasing the efficiency along the full value chain, particularly for products such as fresh and processed fruits, vegetables and livestock products for which demand is increasing but where there are large waste and losses.
Steps will also be taken to provide equal and secure access to productive resources, especially by small agriculture, livestock and fisheries producers. The Government will work to create a regulatory framework to encourage the banks and private sector to enhance investments and finance into agriculture; increase the level and efficiency of public expenditure to more efficient and effective programs, and provision of essential public goods.
Reducing Poverty, Food and Nutrition Insecurity
To meet the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty, gender and malnutrition, Sindh has to halve the number of poor and eliminate extreme poverty; reduce by half the malnutrition and ensure access by all people, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round; and end all forms of malnutrition.
Higher overall growth and increased productivity will be the main engines for reducing poverty and malnutrition in rural areas. This will be complemented by Government actions to enhance the productive assets of the rural poor; provide inputs and services to the poor and those living in remote and resource poor areas; and encourage nutrition-sensitive agriculture production and household level consumption.
More Sustainable Natural Resources Use
The key natural resources for agriculture in Sindh are its soil and water. To sustainably manage these, Government will promote better on-farm water management; regulate and control groundwater resources, environmental flows to downstream Kotri and coastal areas, and manage rangelands; enhance effective controls on pollutants, including fertilizer, pesticides and effluents; and promote agro forestry and improvement of grazing areas. The idea of integrated water management will be implemented to face water scarcity and manage the competing water demands across agriculture, municipal and industrial uses.
Creating a Resilient and Climate Smart Agriculture
In coming years, Sindh’s agriculture and its rural population will have to cope with higher rainfall, temperature and river flows, as well as with the increased frequency and greater intensity of natural disaster such as floods, droughts, tsunamis and sea storms.
To help cope with these changes, and to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, the Government will: promote suitable agriculture practices, including new livestock breeds and seeds; upgrade or build suitable infrastructure, particularly at farm level, to deal with higher, but more variable rainfall and consequent floods and droughts; improve dissemination of up-to-date weather information and early warning of disasters; launch agriculture and livestock insurance programs; prepare contingency plans and set aside funds in case of major unforeseen disasters; and introduce improved crop storage and preservation techniques.
The new policy will allow the province to take proper advantage of its resources, the principal ones being good soils for agriculture and grazing; available surface and underground water sources; 350 km of coastline suitable for fishing and aquaculture; a climate that allows production of a wide range of crops and their early harvest; and a hard-working labour force.
In order to achieve the objectives set out above, both public and privately-sourced investments will be critical. Public sector allocations for the agriculture sector, including livestock, fisheries and irrigation, was PKR64 billion in 2017/18 which marks a major increase from past years and reflects the importance the Government of Sindh gives to the development of agriculture.
In the coming years continued efforts will be made to improve the impact and effectiveness of public spending, particularly through improvements in planning, expenditure and human-resources systems. At the same time public investment, accompanied by regulatory and institutional changes, will focus on facilitating and encouraging private investment.
The Government of Sindh is strongly committed to the new Agriculture Policy and to the process of change and reform that it implies. In order to prepare detailed strategies and action plans, oversee implementation and address all emerging issues, an Agriculture Policy Implementation Commission has been set up with the Minister Agriculture, Supply and Prices as chair.
Members include Chairman P and D Board, concerned secretaries of Government departments (Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Forest and Finance), Project Coordinator, Sindh Agricultural Growth Project, farmers’ representatives (President Sindh Chamber of Agriculture, President, Sindh Abadgar Board), and representatives livestock and fisheries producers, private sector and academia. The policy marks the continuation of the importance the people’s government has given to agriculture growth and rural development.
For more information, contact:
Information and Archives Department
Directorate of Press Information
Government of Sindh
95-Sindh Secretariat 4-B, Karachi, Pakistan
Tel: +92-21-99204423, +92-21-99204401