“Lack of transport and storage facilities limit agricultural productivity” – Journal

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a seminar on agricultural development urged the federal government to take effective measures to facilitate farmers and encourage investors in the agricultural sector to ensure food security and reduce poverty in the country.

The event was hosted by Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (Seed) in conjunction with the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Provincial Department of Agriculture at a local hotel here on Tuesday.

Panelists said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa offered huge opportunities for the growth and productivity of the agricultural sector, but farmers desperately needed government attention to meet their demands.

Panelists urge government to encourage investors in agriculture sector

The main speakers on this occasion are the provincial secretary of agriculture, Dr Mohammad Israr, the president of the SCCI, Hasnain Khurshid Ahmad, the former president Sherbaz Bilour, the chief economist of KP Business Voice, Ali Khizar, and the Seed Program Team Leader, Dr Umar Mukhtar.

Many experts, heads of the agriculture department, traders, researchers and farmers were present.

They identified the lack of processing facilities and appropriate investments in post-harvest value chain development as the main problems creating obstacles to agricultural development.

Other issues that prevented agricultural productivity from reaching its potential were infrastructure limitations such as inadequate transportation network, lack of storage and warehousing facilities near farmland, and lack of ‘packaging, classification and sorting facilities as well as support for standardization and certification.

They said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had the potential to improve the production of a variety of crops, fruits and vegetables for direct consumption as well as nurture a large number of downstream industries across the country through the development of strong value chains.

Participants pointed out that farm-market linkages were absent, preventing farmers from improving their productivity.

Lack of quality control, post-harvest trained workforce and knowledge gaps hamper the realization of processing potential while limited financial resources and credit constraints worsen the environment.

Hasnain Khurshid said these obstacles were present in most of the agricultural products with growth potential in the KP and required efforts from the private and public sectors for improvements.

Dr Israr said agriculture was the key to socio-economic improvement in the province, as nearly 80 percent of the population depended on the sector and related industries for their income.

Earlier, Dr Omar Mukhtar said that KP’s agricultural products have enormous potential in domestic and export markets, if properly exploited.

Posted in Dawn, December 29, 2021

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