Consultative workshop on agriculture looks into research in Pakistan, China and world

Islamabad: A consultative workshop on Innovative Financing for Agricultural Research was organised here on Wednesday afternoon to provide an opportunity to look at examples of financial mechanisms for research in Pakistan, China and around the world.

Agricultural Commissioner, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Pakistan Dr Gu Wenliang, among others participated in the workshop.

China has been especially supporting Pakistan’s agriculture growth under the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The workshop was jointly organized by Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Dr Gu Wenliang discussed innovative financial mechanism and China’s vision during the sitting.

Former Executive Director, Australian Rural Research and Development Corporation, Dr. Steve Jefferies, Country Director, International Maize and Improvement Center, Pakistan Dr. Thakur Prasad Tiwari, Representative from United States Department of Agriculture, Jodi A Scheffler, Development Advisor, Agriculture and Climate Change, Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan, Roberto Aparicio Martín expressed their views. Representatives from academia, federal and provincial agriculture departments also shared national experiences.

Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Mr Syed Fakhar Imam attended the workshop as a chief guest. Financing models of Pakistanis agricultural research institutions as well as research institutions from leading agricultural countries such as Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Australian Rural Research and Development Corporations, Brazilian Agriculture Research Corporation, European Union, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and United States Department of Agriculture were looked into in order to identify possible way forward for the research in Pakistan.

The spending on research and development has reduced to -23percent from 1991 to 2012 in Pakistan. The impact can been seen on the per hectare production of major crops like wheat, rice, sugarcane, cotton and maize. Resultantly, Pakistan is losing the competitiveness in the international market for these crops. Import of cotton for textile has increased and import of food items has also increased.

This workshop provided an opportunity to explore more options to pool resources for research and development to improve production and competitiveness.

FAO Representative in Pakistan, Florence Rolle emphasized the importance of investing in agricultural research and extension in order to reduce poverty, malnutrition and hunger.