LCCI Starts kitchen garden promotion campaign

The Provincial Minister for Revenue and Relief, Haji Mohammad Ishaq, has said that Kitchen Gardening is not simply a concept but it is a way of life that not only ensures financial benefits but also help address environmental concerns. The Provincial Minister was speaking at inauguration of two-day LCCI kitchen garden promotion campaign here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and industry on Friday. LCCI President Mohammad Ali Mian, Senior Vice President Mian Muzaffar Ali, Vice President Shafqat Saeed Piracha and Chairperson LCCI Standing Committee on Kichen Gardening Ms Nilopher Sikandar and former provincial Minister Mumtaz Khan Manias also spoke on the occasion. Haji Mohammad Ishaq said that agriculture sector being backbone of the economy of the country has a huge potential and keeping in view this sector’s importance, the present government is spending all its resources for its promotion and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has taken a very right step at a right time that definitely help supplement government efforts aimed at providing relief to masses. Throwing light of overall agriculture scenario, the Minister said that per acre yield is on the decline because the research work in this particular sector is not benefiting the farmer owing to communication gap. He said that share of Agriculture sector in the GDP has reduced to 20 per cent from 38 per cent which is a matter of major concern for the government.  He said that the government was spending a huge amount for the promotion of mechanized farming in the country. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Mohammad Ali Mian said that Kitchen Garden Promotion Campaign has been launched to overcome the food shortage and to address the issue of prices of daily-use items which are going up like anything. Mohammad Ali Mian said that in advanced world this concept is in vogue since ages but now in Pakistan it has started gaining ground. He said that kitchen gardening could either be a principal component of subsistence farming or a beginning of commercial agriculture or horticulture. The LCCI President said that government would have to take concrete measures for the promotion of agriculture sector as the future is with agro dollar not with the petro dollar. He said that Pakistan despite being an agro-based country and abundant resources is not performing the way it should. Citing the example of Thailand, Mohammad Ali Mian said that Thailand is not a Muslim country but its share in 200 billion dollar export of Hilal meat is $5 billion while Pakistan’s share is negligible so we all should think over it that why non-Muslim countries are taking lead over Muslim countries in Halal Meat export. He said agriculture continues to be the single largest sector, a dominant driving force for growth and the main source of livelihood for 66 percent of the Pakistan’s population. It accounts for 20.9 percent of the GDP and implies 43.4 percent of the total work force.  But the sector is facing two major problems: firstly, our productions per acre are lower than many countries. For instance our per hectare production of wheat is only 2.5 tons compared to 4.5 tons in India and 6.2 tons in Egypt. Our sugarcane production per hectare is 45.1 tons compared to 65.2 tons of India and 90.9 tons of Egypt. Our potatoes production is 17.2 tons per hectare compared to 20 tons of India and 23.8 of Egypt. Mohammad Ali Mian said that secondly, round 40% of our production is lost as post-harvest losses due to lack of preservation.  He said that Pakistan is fifth largest producer of milk in the world but are unfortunately preserving a little amount of this heritage due to lack of the use of bio-technologies and the cool chain systems. The use of biotechnology can not only considerably enhance our productivity but also avoid post-harvest losses.
He said that the genetically improved varieties should be available in the market. Genetically improved varieties of livestock are also being developed by the Livestock & Dairy Development Departments.
In Pakistan the floriculture is not very well developed.  Now we are increasingly trying to use bio-technology techniques in tissue culture and cutting of floriculture. As a result we are now in a position to export these flowers to the developed world. We need to use Genetically Modified Varieties of flowers for value addition and to maximize our income from the Floriculture