By Tahira Irfa
The development and prosperity of any country depends highly on agriculture as it is considered to be the spinal cord of economy. Pakistan is an agricultural country, 70% of whose population comprises villages. The majority of people living in the rural areas are linked to agriculture sector, due to their daily labor, agricultural production is increasing and the domestic economy is moving towards development. It contributes 24% in national production, whereas the population of rural areas mainly depends on it. Pakistan is counted in developing nations whose economic growth is dependent mainly on agriculture which is 60% of the national exports. Allah has blessed Pakistan with the best resources as it’s land is fertile in particular the land of Punjab is exemplary. Like other fields, agriculture sector is very important in domestic development. 45% of the urban areas of Punjab province and 65% of the rural population are employed with agriculture. This sector is providing food and daily needs for the country’s population. Due to these reasons, agricultural development is the primary focus in government’s priorities.
Undoubtedly, Punjab government is vigilant to provide relief to farmers and Kisan package is practical demonstration of it which shows that government is taking concrete measures for the development of agriculture sector and the prosperity of the farmers. Government has been spending Rs. 50 crores for the implementation of the Khadim-e-Punjab Kisan Package and subsidy is being given to the farmers under this Package. Discounted rates on the bills of tube wells are being arranged with a mammoth amount of 14 Arab Rupees and interest free loans worth of 14.5 billion rupees are allocated for installation of solar Tube wells. The farmers are acknowledging the rights of small farmers by paying relief funds. The government has started revolutionary projects like road construction and clean drinking water for road development and prosperity. Under the Punjab Rural Road Program, thousands of kilometers of rural roads have been constructed across Punjab which has played an important role in modernizing traditional rural life. Due to the construction of rural roads, rural economy has improved and there is also a good impact on the agriculture sector. This program has also provided farmers with their agricultural commodity markets. In addition to the policies of Chief Minister Punjab, the annual growth in the production of wheat, cotton, sin, rice, fruits and vegetables, is being found in the province. Punjab province is producing 76% wheat, cotton 71%, rice, 56 percent fold 65%, maize 78 percent, mango 78%, canoe 82%, palm 34%. It is in line with the needs of the country, which is getting self-sufficient in agriculture. Under E-Credit scheme, the government will pay 75,000 smartphones to the small farmers at the first stage and accessible information will be made for recovering and maintenance of crops, insecticide, weather effects and increase in production. Punjab’s economy depends mostly on agriculture that is why the provincial government is ready to take steps to increase the local production and ensure the farmers’ satisfaction. While talking specifically about Rawalpindi division, Agriculture Task Force Committee has been setup under which frequent meetings are organized. In order to streamline agriculture sector at scientific lines to enhance our production, special initiatives are being taken which are aimed to increase per acre production and ensure availability of fertilizers at specified amount and price. Furthermore farmers training is one of its key component under which 958 sessions have been arranged at village level and 14803 farmers have been trained also 9848 literature has been distributed. DAP subsidy scheme is another chain of it under which holders of DAP scratch card will get subsidy of 150 Rs per bag. 12685 farmers have been registered for Kisan Card and 603 under E-Credit schemes in Rawalpindi District so far who can benefit from these subsidy schemes. Telenor Mobile Van will be provided in Tehsil Gujar Khan under CAPP Project which will provide Android Phones to the farmers and impart training. Officials are agriculture department are directed to guide the people interested in Kitchen gardening also seeds packets at subsidized rates should be provided to promote this trend at domestic level.
In contrast with the countries cherishing economic growth in the region, we can say that if Pakistan wants to join the row of developed countries, then the steps for the rapid development of the agricultural sector are inevitable so that our country can grow in the field of agriculture. And with all the initiatives of Punjab government taken yet and many still in pipeline we can surely hope for a better future.