PFVA Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed said this in a statement issued on Monday, adding PFVA has been given a month to compile and submit recommendations during a meeting of the special committee of the National Assembly on agriculture products.
These recommendations would then be reviewed by the committee during its next session and the concerned ministries would be issued necessary directives to ensure resolution of the issues from that day onwards. The meeting was attended by Waheed Ahmed, Malik Muhammad Ahsan Tiwana and representatives of various ministries and departments.
The committee was briefed by Ahmed about the issues highlighted in the Horticulture Vision 2030, a roadmap developed by the PFVA through an extensive consultation with all the stakeholders.
Ahmed apprised the committee that the agriculture sector is confronted with numerous serious challenges including climate change, lack of research and development, low production due to use of primitive harvesting methods, pre and post harvest losses, low quality seeds, non-availability of new varieties, inefficient supply chain and high freight cost.
The objective of the Horticulture Vision 2030 is to enhance yield per acre and improve quality of the agricultural products by adopting modern methods of harvesting so that besides enhancing export of fruits and vegetables, it can further strengthen agriculture economy and ensure food security of Pakistan.
Ahmed assured the committee that if the recommendations to resolve issues of the sector highlighted in the HV-2030 are implemented in letter and spirit, the export of fruits and vegetables can be enhanced to US$2 billion in three years and US$ 6 billion in 10 years.
Due to the deadly global pandemic coronavirus, the cost of sea freight has multiplied many folds imposing a serious barrier in enhancement of exports, however the chances to avail the opportunity of TIR (international transit trade by road) by Pakistan are bright and by using this facility, Pakistan can export agricultural products with minimum cost and time to important international markets but to achieve that, the sector needs trailers and reefer containers, Ahmed explained.
It is the need of the hour that the latest techniques of harvesting fruits and vegetables and export business be included in the current curriculum of agriculture for development of the horticulture sector, he proposed.
The members of the committee unanimously agreed that to enhance agricultural exports, it is imperative to expeditiously resolve structural, operational and policy–related issues on priority basis.
The committee urged that for streamlining the agriculture sector on modern lines, well-coordinated efforts among the research-based institutions, concerned ministries of the government and private sector can produce wonderful results in uplift of this promising sector.