Report will help farmers in enhancing crop yeild, profits: Minister
Punjab Food Outlook Report launched
By K A Mian
LAHORE: The Punjab Food Outlook report will be helpful for the farmers to make decisions as which crop to grow in order to get yield maximum profits.
It would also add great value to department’s analytical decision making and the research and it will also be of great value to farmers which inform them of the trends in various crops.
This was stated by Minister for Agriculture Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial while addressing the launching ceremony of Punjab Food Outlook report here on Wednesday.
He said Agriculture has been playing a pivotal role in the development of Pakistan since the green revolution of 1960s.
He stated that the agriculture has been the backbone of our economy and a major contributor to prosperity not only for Punjab but also all of Pakistan. “The current government is actively working towards the benefit of the farmers and helping them to increase their agricultural output by providing them an opportunities that will assist them in getting maximum production,” minister emphasized.
The report provides an overview of the key agricultural commodities, with comprehensive assessments and forecasts for three Rabi crops, wheat, gram and potatoes, covering 85% of the acreage in the winter season and it can be very helpful for the government to devise farmer-friendly policies. The minister thanked on behalf of the Punjab Agriculture Department and special thanked the International Food Policy Research Institute–Pakistan (IFPRI), Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO) for their tireless efforts in putting together such an important report. Langrial appreciated the work of Agriculture Delivery Unit (ADU), International Food & Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) that they have collectively done to develop this extremely useful report. On this occasion, Prof Stephen Davies, Country Representative, presented salient features of the report in detail and also appreciated Punjab government’s efforts for agriculture. He also briefed about some ongoing projects about agriculture. The minister agriculture requested to Prof Stephen Davies for publishing the report in Urdu.Report describes the situation of different food crops and products within specific geographical boundaries. The report shows trends, fluctuations in production, cropped area and yield, and predicts production and prices, thereby allowing farmers and other stakeholders and decision makers to make better and more informed decisions.
It reveals that when done well, a food outlook analysis is useful for preventive actions to anticipate upcoming shocks or take advantage of new or growing opportunities.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) produces the Global Food Outlook to assess the situation of major food crops, livestock products (meat, milk), fish and fishery products, and markets in the world and provide policy information.
It mainly describes the different world market situations and assessments, major policy developments in agriculture, and food price trends and predictions. It also helps decision makers set benchmarks by assessing the opportunities and risks in the international market. It further reveals that the current assignment between IFPRI, FAO and PAD is to produce Punjab Food Outlook (PFO) for Rabi 2018-19. It was also heighted that Pakistan is facing challenges to ensure access to safe, healthy and nutritious food for its growing population. Besides, over-exploitation and unsustainable use of natural resources and challenges of climate change adaptation further escalate the problems. The report explored that Punjab produces the largest proportion of food products for the country and is therefore considered the food basket of Pakistan. For instance, up to 76.6% of the country’s overall wheat output is produced in the province.
The report stated that Punjab also accounts for 96% and 79.4% of country’s total potato and gram production. Likewise, the share of Punjab in the country’s production is largest for major Kharif crops–64.0, 64.1, 51.5 and 83.3% of the country’s overall cotton, sugar cane, rice and maize are produced in Punjab respectively. “One of the main objectives of the PFO is to make timely and evidence-based decisions to overcome gaps between food production and consumption growth, and to increase access of the growing population to affordable foods, while at the same time raising the profitability of the farming community,” . The report of Punjab Food Outlook would analyze the wheat, potato and gram outlook in Punjab for Rabi 2018-19, as these are planted jointly in October-November. We have adopted a two-pronged approach to forecast area, yield and production for Punjab districts and agro-ecological zones. These comprise of a) a commodity balance sheet approach and b) Econometric forecasting methodology to predict the area and yields for the upcoming 2018-19 Rabi season. The report was published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with technical inputs from the International Food Policy Research Institute – Islamabad, Pakistan (IFPRI).
Special Secretary Agriculture (Marketing) Punjab Ehsan Bhutta, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute–Pakistan (IFPRI) and Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Ms Mina Dowlatchahi, Program Leader, International Food Policy Research Institute–Pakistan (IFPRI) Mr Abdul Wajid Rana also spoke the occasion.