Agriculture Policy Implementation Dialogue : Deliberations and Discussions

February 1, 2010

Dialogue Report

Raheem ul Haque


Since independence, there has been a number of reports on agriculture but a comprehensive agriculture policy document has never been formulated. In 1961 and then 1988, an Agriculture Commission had been setup but a formalized policy was not forthcoming. In October 2007, the Pakistan Government announced a 5 year Agriculture Policy (2009-2014) though without a comprehensive document. More recently, agriculture has again come into the limelight both in domestic as well as international circles. In January 2010, the Punjab Government said that it would like Punjab to be a bread basket while the Chief Minister setup an advisory council to evolve a policy, adopt it at the provincial level and give recommendations to the federal government. Recognizing the salience of agriculture for the region, a tri-country secretariat (Pakistan-Afghanistan-US) has been established in Islamabad focusing on Trade Corridors, Food Security through Research and Water Management. US Aid and USDA are working together to build a support program for Pakistan Agriculture. More importantly, the Kerry Lugar Bill offers a great opportunity for financial and technical support in agriculture; however, one needs to be cautious and imaginative that this opportunity is not wasted. There was a consensus among participants that no amount of money or foreign help can resolve agricultural issues of Pakistan if domestic stakeholders don’t collectively put the house in order.