| GEO Business|
| Planning Commission committed for agri progress|
| Updated at: 1648 PST, Thursday, September 03, 2009|
ISLAMABAD: Chairman Planning Commission of Pakistan, Sardar Aseff Ahmed Ali said on Wednesday that the Commission was committed to helping fast track development of agriculture sector on modern lines.
He was speaking at a workshop on Innovative Development Strategies organized by Pakistan Agriculture Research Council with support from the World Bank and Food and Agriculture Organization here.
Secretary Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Zia-ur-Rehman was also present on the occasion.
He stressed the need for conducting research to put the agriculture on the progressive path, saying that the government would provide all out support and incentives for conducting agriculture research to enhance productivity and export of agriculture produce.
He said that the government, in the federal budget for 2009-10 had allocated a huge amount for the development of agriculture sector.
He said that the agriculture sector has been neglected since long and that is why people move towards urban areas and industrialization instead of investing in agriculture.
He lamented that despite being among top countries producing agriculture yields, Pakistan's agriculture exports were very low.
He said that levying tax on agriculture sector was totally provincial subject and said that the federal government should let the provinces collect these revenues.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman PARC Zafar Altaf said that Pakistan was lagging behind in agriculture productivity, saying that Chinese farmers have been producing much more yield from per acre land than farmers in Pakistan.
He stressed the need for formulating longstanding policies, with particular focus on research to ensure sustainable development of agriculture sector.
Earlier, in her detailed presentation on "The Terms of Trade (ToTs) for Pakistan's Agriculture and Agriculture Income Tax," Safiya Aftab, an agriculture expert stressed the need for working on a fair pricing structure for agriculture products.
She highlighted the issues of agriculture tax and said that some serious research was needed on imposition of an agriculture income tax while saying that although agriculture tax would enhance government’s revenues but it would not have poverty inducing effects.
Another expert, Idreed Khawaja said that Public Private Partnership (PPP) has not delivered due to inadequate research prior to launching the project, heavily weighted by public sector considerations and ineffective planning.
Khalid Riaz, another expert from private sector gave a detailed briefing on "An Analysis of Pakistan's Revealed Comparative Advantage in Agriculture Products."