Increased R&D investment to boost Pakistan’s agri productivity: Experts

One of the major structural issues with Pakistan’s economy is lack of investment in agricultural research and development (R&D), which is crucial for achieving sustainable self-sufficiency and reducing reliance,” Mr. Ashraf, Senior Scientific Officer (SSO) at the National Agricultural Research Council (NARC), told WealthPK.
“Agriculture makes the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, contributing nearly 22.9% to the GDP and employing about 37.4% of the labour force. However, this sector faces numerous challenges, including outdated farming practices, insufficient infrastructure, and lack of access to quality seeds and fertilizers,” he said.

Pakistan's agricultural productivity has stagnated because of insufficient investment in research and development. Through investment in research, the country can create high-yield crop varieties, upgrade pest control techniques, and enhance soil fertility. This will lead to an increase in production and a decrease in the reliance on imports.

He added, “Investing in modern farming equipment and techniques can significantly increase crop yields and profitability. For example, precision agriculture, which uses technology to optimize crop production, can revolutionize farming. Similarly, investments in irrigation infrastructure can mitigate water scarcity issues that often plague the farmers.”

In an interview with WealthPK, Senior Scientific Officer at the NARC Mr. Nurullah said, “Although agriculture is considered the backbone of the country, it has recently been affected by several issues like inadequate research, insufficient technology, high input expenses, water scarcity, diminished arable land, prolonged power outages, and inadequate advisory services.

“To boost agricultural output, we must strengthen our research institutions, which requires investment. This means allocating funds for research and engaging the private enterprises to maximize yield,” Said Mr. Nurullah.

"Making investments will not just stimulate the economy but also result in increased earnings for farmers, more accessible food for consumers, and more job opportunities in associated sectors like food processing and transportation. In addition, revolutionizing the agricultural industry can have a significant effect on the lives of millions of Pakistanis," he said.

“Farmers are the backbone of our agriculture sector, and empowering them with the right tools and knowledge is key to our success. By investing in their education and providing them with access to modern technologies, we can ensure sustainable growth and development,” he stressed.

According to Nurullah, removing the barriers to investment can guarantee long-term success for the country because a more favourable investment climate is a key predictor of the overall economic performance.

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