Our Special Correspondent
LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Management and Professional Development (MPD) has called upon the research institutes in the public sector to put in more efforts for improving the rice production in the province, which is lagging behind as compared to many other countries.
He was speaking at a seminar titled ‘Khushal Kissan’ organized by the Pakistan Basmati Heritage Foundation (PBHF) and convened by Galaxy Rice (Pvt) at Kabir Wala District Khanewal.
More than 1000 rice farmers attended the event aimed at improving Basmati rice production by providing technical and marketing support to ensure sustainable rice production and resource efficiency in Pakistan. Key members of PBHF like Shoaib Zahid Malik, Sheikh Adnan Aslam, Dr Muhammad Athar, Dr Javed Arshad and Raja Arsallan participated in seminar. Imran Sheikh National Coordinator PBHF moderated the event.
The Minister took farmers in to confidence about the initiatives being taken by the Government for rice sector. He said that a huge sum of Rs 6327 million rupees would be spent on promoting mechanization in this sector in Punjab for increasing the per acre productivity. He also appreciated the PBHF platform and its efforts for the revival of basmati rice.
Shahid Hussain Tarar Convener PBHF shared the vision of Pakistan Basmati Heritage Foundation (PBHF) regarding promotion of basmati rice. He said that our country is lagging behind not only in yield of basmati rice but our rising cost of production from other rice producing countries is a major challenge. Dr. Muhammad Arshad Chairman of Hi Tec Group Briefing role of private sector in Uplifting of Agriculture sector.
Dr. Anjum Ali Buttar DG Agri. (Extension) Punjab threw light on ongoing extension projects in the province while DG Pest Warning and Quality Control Zafar Yab Haider Naqvi shared the strategies for controlling pests and responsible use of pesticides for increasing rice exports from Pakistan.
Mr. Safdar Hussain Mekhari Chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan explained the road map for doubling rice export of Pakistan. He shared the expectations of PBHF from Basmati growers and discussed the challenges in export of basmati rice.
Dr. Muhammad Sabir Director RRI KSK shared about introduction of the new basmati rice varieties with high yield and disease resistance and conveyed message to the rice farmers to adopt advance rice transplanting technique like mechanical transplanting and use specialized rice harvesters for minimizing harvest losses and avoiding smog.
Shuaizab Gardezi, a progressive farmer of Kabirwala shared his farm experiences and highlighted the farmers’ prospective. He requested PBHF for the development of basmati rice cluster in Kabirwala. Dr. Asif Ali Khan Vice Chancellor MNS University Multan elaborated the role of Academia in transforming agriculture sector.
Leading input supplier companies and manufacturers including Chinese firms and Agri Machinery Research Institute (AMRI) established their stalls for the awareness and education and got great attention and interest from rice farmers.