LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said that measures were being taken to convert agriculture tubewells to solar energy and implement the farmers’ package.

Presiding over a meeting, he said solarisation of tubewells would reduce per acre cost of farmers and dependence on imported fuel, saving precious foreign exchange.

Mr Sharif said the government was taking steps for the progress of agriculture sector and prosperity of farmers, adding that implementation of farmers’ package was its top priority.

He said the farmers’ package included facilities of giving loans to small farmers, timely provision of seeds, encouraging use of modern machinery in agriculture and solarisation of tubewells.

He directed that all organisations of farmers should be included in the consultation process for the implementation of farmers’ package, adding that cooperation of provinces should also be ensured in this respect.

Claims move will help save forex spent on oil imports

The prime minister ordered that a committee of experts should be formed for devising a strategy for increasing the production of edible oil. Besides, he added, a plan should be finalised for introducing a new and climate-resilient seed for increasing cotton production.

Officials of the Power Division informed the meeting that the plan to convert diesel-run tubewells to solar was in its final stages and with that measure the country would save $3.61 billion every year as the use of diesel and imported fuel would have been curtailed.

The prime minister was informed about the details of farmers’ package, cultivation and production of wheat, introduction of new cotton seeds and about the steps taken for increasing the production of edible oil.

The meeting was also told that the government’s measures to facilitate small farmers in getting loans had resulted in provision of loans worth millions of rupees. The participants were apprised that due to the government’s decisions in the current year the edible oil seed was planted on 632,000 hectares of land and the crop area would increase further next year.

The PM was informed that the Ministry of National Food Security was in contact with international companies for introducing new and climate-resilient seeds and a positive development was expected in this regard.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2023

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