Agriculture is the mainstay of our economy. Over the years the Punjab economy has been considerably diversified but the agriculture sector is still the largest sector of the economy and the driving force for growth and development. It provides employment to 45% of the people in the province and over 65% in rural areas. It also provides food, shelter and livelihood to the people and raw material to the industry. The farming community also contributes to growth by providing market for industrial products. This sector is therefore being given top priority by the Punjab Government.
The Chief Minister’s vision for the agriculture sector is to transform it into a science based sector that can not only meet food security challenges but also compete in the domestic and international market.
To achieve this vision institutional reform, market reform, water management and technology change are the four major driving forces. The following strategic interventions are being adopted through the Annual Development Program by the Agriculture Department to achieve these targets.
- Cotton in Thal
- Mechanized rice transplantation
- Lease of land to agriculture graduates
- House cum garden plots
- Rehabilitation of Water logged and Saline Soils (Biosaline-II)
- Through a competitive grant system, 38 projects costing Rs.802.280 million are being funded (Wheat 9, Cotton 3, Rice 5, Sugarcane 3, Fruits & Vegetable 8, others 10)
- Fruit and vegetable development project
- Establishment of rice research station, B/Nagar
Water Resource Management/Improvement in water productivity
- Development of a high efficiency irrigation system
- Development of Command Area of GTC
Improved Services delivery and data bases
- Establishment of provincial reference fertilizer lab
- Digitized profile of agriculture land
- Maintenance Management System for Bulldozers
Development of Alternate/Renewable Farm Energy Sources
- Biogas technology
- Study on solar irrigation pumps
Capacity building of the Human resources
The development budget for the agriculture sector has consistently been increased by the provincial government during the last couple of years. Provision of Rs 3.4 billion is being made for the years 2011-2012. As a result of constant support by the provincial government, the sector has achieved encouraging targets. The Provincial Agriculture Department is presently executing 19 on going development schemes and 9 new schemes will be taken up during the year 2011 -2012. In addition to above the Department is working on following intitatives
- Star Farm Consulting Company (SFC) started its business in China in 2007. The key features are:
-Training and capacity building of the suppliers/processors and logistics regarding IFS
-Training and capacity building of farm bases regarding GlobalGAP
- Six Pakistani agronomists received six-month training from SFC in China to later work as master trainers in their program for Pakistan.
- SFC officially launched its office on April 01, 2011 in Pakistan.
- SFC training mainly focuses on quality assurance system,international standard traceability system & quality management system
- SFC has audit system focuses on GlobalGAP, IFS &GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice).
- SFC’s strategy aims at increase in productivity up to 3 times and reduction in post harvest losses up to 30%
- Government of the Punjab is facilitating this system by creation of funds to incentivize farm bases, picking of KIBOR for IFS certification, development of marketing infrastructure, establishment of Centre of Excellence for training and capacity building and create a regulatory body
Kitchen Gardening Programme
- Mainly focuses on provision of fresh, cheap and hygienic vegetables through distribution of Vegetable Seed Kits & Nursery Plants to the clients group in urban and peri urban areas of the province.
- Under this scheme, 30,400 Seed Kits of vegetables i.e. Okra, Bitter Guard, Bottle Guard, Vegetable Marrow, Sponge Guard, Tinda Guard, Long Mellon & Cucumber were prepared & distributed to Vegetable Growers and 59,556 Nursery Plants of Tomato, Brinjal, Chilies, Mint, Coriander & Salad were also distributed in the urban areas.
- About 1,70,000 seed packets for the forthcoming Rabi/Winter Vegetables i.e. Spinach, Carrot, Turnip (Golden & Purple), Radish, Fellnnu Greek, Coriander, SarsoonGobhi, Tomato & Salad (Lettuce) will be distributed for this purpose.
- The experts of the Agriculture Department will impart training free of cost whereas seed packets will be provided on subsidized rates.
- A comprehensive campaign for creatintg awareness about its benefits and production technology have been planned for the print and electronic media.
Revamping of Agriculture Marketing System is the main focus of reform of the present regime. The following strategy has been adapted in this regard:
- Reform Agriculture Marketing Legislation through introducing Agriculture Marketing Bill, 2011
- Establishment of Agriculture Marketing Information System (AMIS) to create awareness about what is happening across the border.
- Allow private sector to establish agriculture produce markets to attract investment in this sector
- Encourage establishment of cool chain and modern storage facilities.
- Steps taken to introduce the concept of commodity future markets in agriculture
Punjab Seed Act, 2011 for vibrant seed industry
Punjab government has submitted Draft Seed Bill to the provincial cabinet for its consideration with the main aim to transform the existing seed industry into a vibrant seed industry by replacing:
- Old and inefficient public sector certification system with new private sector driven truth-in-label system
- Recognition of new developments such as GMO’s in agriculture field in the existing system
- Regulating the seed multiplication & distribution system by establishing a warm body at provincial level