Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that the government expected investment worth billions of dollars in the next four to five years in the agriculture sector in Pakistan.
He expressed these remarks during a seminar on agriculture and food security held in Islamabad. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir attended the seminar as the guest of honour.
The premier highlighted the importance of agriculture for the economy of Pakistan and the landmark steps being undertaken by the government to exploit its full potential in agriculture and other domains under the ambit of the recently launched Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).
PM Shehbaz said that Green Pakistan Initiative would be the second green revolution, paving the way for prosperity and progress in the country.
He stated that under this programme, the government anticipated an average investment of 30 to 50 billion dollars in Pakistan over the next three to four years. “Our efforts are focused to enhance productivity and transform barren land into fertile ground which will significantly bolster our revenues."
He revealed that during a recently held meeting, the envoys of many Gulf countries expressed their interest in investing in Pakistan.
“Pakistan cannot take further loans. I, COAS or the finance minister cannot reveal how we managed to acquire loan to try and avert a default. Thankfully, due to our teamwork, SLA happened and after two days, IMF’s board meeting is also scheduled. But this is not enough and it is just the beginning of a long journey of untiring efforts and we need a vision for it,” he added.
He lamented that many research centres had been established in Pakistan but many of them became unproductive after the 1960s.
The premier said that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were bleeding Rs600 billion from Pakistan’s scarce resources. “We have all the resources and all seasons… still we have been unable to become a prosperous country,” he regretted.
“We are importing $4.5 billion worth of palm oil. We’re a developing country we cannot spend such a huge amount on palm oil,” he added.
Shehbaz said that there was a time Pakistan used to produce more cotton than our neighbouring country but today we’re lacking behind in cotton, wheat and other agricultural products.
He said that Pakistan produces great Basmati rice but now it has many competitors. “In a year or two, our agri-based economy will be revived. We will not have to seek further loans but investors will come by themselves,” he said.
The army chief also addressed the participants and assured the people of Pakistan and the government of the army’s full support for all the initiatives being initiated under the ambit of SIFC including the Green Pakistan Initiative.
The seminar was attended by federal ministers, chief ministers of Punjab and Sindh provinces, chief secretaries, agricultural experts and farmers from all the provinces.
Foreign dignitaries and potential investors and experts from the UK, Italy, Spain, China, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye and various other countries also attended the seminar.
Sequel to the inauguration of Land Information Management System - Centre of Excellence (LIMS - COE), Green Pakistan initiative is being undertaken to enhance the food security of Pakistan, increase exports and reduce the agriculture-related imports, thereby, contributing towards the national economy.
Agriculture experts and farmers highly appreciated the government's landmark initiative and the Pakistan Army's special focus on revolutionising the agriculture sector by promoting modern contemporary technology, collaboration of public and private sectors and trickling down dividends to the local farmers to alleviate poverty.
The participants hailed the conduct of the seminar and its attendance by experts, government representatives and potential investors as a success and the first step towards bringing positive change in the agriculture and livestock sectors.
The attendees especially lauded the Pakistan Army's efforts in boosting the national economy by focusing on this critical sector.