Sustainable Rice Production for Boosting Rice Export of Pakistan; an online Webinar Organized by Pakistan Basmati Heritage Foundation (PBHF):
Major stakeholder from public & private sector participated in webinar. Chief Guest was Honorable Minister Fakhar Imam for MNFSR shared initiatives of Govt. for rice farming & industry to stabilize country’s economy after keenly listening the insights of speakers including farmers. He emphasized on private sector to come forward for providing quality inputs & promoting mechanization through service providers’ model. We need to focus on both in human resources, capital & quality of equipment, he added. Yield is our biggest challenge and we need to enhance yield per unit area to monitor , evaluate, examine & access how our research institutions are working at national, provincial, district & field level, he updated. We want to build our inherent seed system & technological advancements through digitally integrated mechanized farming. Efforts are being made to ensure quality seed supply especially of hybrid through Chinese collaboration like Green Super Rice (GSR). In the end he underlined the importance of organic farming and its trend in global markets. He assured for capacity building of seed regulating bodies (FSC&RD) and Plant Breeder Rights registry for strengthening of seed sector. Dr. Wyn Ellis Executive Director Sustainable Rice Platform (SRP) shared the impact and adoption rate of SRP standard to drive scale (WAPRO & GEF). He further briefed that by 2023 about 1 million small holders will adopt climate smart sustainable agricultural practices. Dr. Abid Qaiyum Sulehri Executive Director Sustainable Development Institute highlighted the working of stakeholders in silos & Crop per Drop. He focused on agro-climatic zoning, allocation of Special Economic Zone for Agri. in CPEC & digitization. Dr. M. Azeem Khan Chairman PARC shared that although the yield of rice increased 30% in last 40 years but still yield gap is more than 50 % between potential and actual. He underlined the productivity enhancement project under the PM Emergency Scheme worth PKR 15.8 B. Shahid Tarer Convener Pakistan Basmati Heritage Foundation (PBHF) & Director Galaxy Rice shared about the goal of PBHF is to promote sustainable rice production and preserve Basmati Heritage through bringing major stakeholders. He explained about “Why SRP standard is ideal for Pakistan” and said that greater collaboration with Govt. is needed. Former Chairman PARC Dr. Yousaf Zafar emphasized on strengthening the indigenous R&D of rice and better utilization of Export Development Fund (EDF). We need to strengthen indigenous R&D of rice (Basmati, non-aromatic long grain, non-basmati) for fundamental and primary contributor for progress, he added. Need to focus on producing more food including rice per unit land, water and agrochemicals in the challenging scenario of scarcity of above with added climate change & multiple risk factors, he emphasized. Dr. Anjum Ali Buttar DG Agri. Extension & Adaptive Research shared about the project “National Program for Enhancing Profitability through Increasing Productivity of Rice” in 15 rice districts of Punjab. He further highlighted the subsidies on fertilizers, rice transplanters, certified seed and rice specialized harvesters in addition of interest free loans Mr. Shahjahan Malik Chairman REAP appealed the Govt. for including rice export sector among zero rated export sectors & official backing to facilitate rice exporters for achieving target of 5 billion dollars by 2025. He appreciated and owned the PBHF activities for connecting farmers with industry, research, academia & development sector. Former Chairman PARC. Distinguish Prof. & Former Vice Chancellor UAF Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan elaborate the role of academia in developing and strengthening rice landscape. While moderating the webinar convened by UNE & IRRI. Dr. Abul Fazal Ali Khan a rice farmers highlighted the role of progressive farmer in bringing changes at farm level. Similarly other participants including Adnan Aslam Director PBHF, Dr. Fazilda Nabeel LUMS, Dr. Anila Afzal UAAR, Dr. Ch. Muhammad RafiqDirector RRI KSK also highlighted the role & activities of their organizations. At the end Mr. Imran Sheikh National Coordinator PBHF summarized key points of webinar and thanks all participants for their valuable inputs. Dr. Khalid Mehmood; Co-Founder UPSIGN & Innovation Lead Rothamsted Research UK facilitate the webinar & took questions.