January 15, 2020 (MLN): The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted the first-ever ‘Modernizing Agriculture through Innovative Technologies Conference 2020’ in Islamabad today. The event showcased the transformational impact of the U.S.-Pakistan partnership to advance agricultural commercialization in Pakistan through strategic partnerships with 30 dynamic agricultural technologies businesses.
The conference is part of USAID’s four-year Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity (PATTA). This initiative enables the private sector to give Pakistani farmers access to innovative agricultural products and management practices, which improve productivity and enhance competitiveness.
One of the important highlights of the conference was the unveiling of PATTA’s “Agri-Tech Hub” – a suite of pioneering agricultural technologies and tools being promoted by the project and its agribusiness partners. Key agriculture sector stakeholders also held a panel discussion on the potential of private sector agri-tech investments to transform Pakistani agriculture, create jobs, encourage adoption of agricultural innovations, reduce costs, and solve problems for farmers and growers.
Joint Secretary, Ministry for National Food Security and Research Dr. Muhammad Khurshid praised USAID for empowering farmers to boost their incomes and to improve food security. He also applauded the project’s partners for joining hands with the United States to bring vitality to Pakistan’s agriculture sector, and extend advancements in agri-tech to rural farmers in remote districts where awareness of such technologies has been limited.
USAID/Pakistan’s Acting Mission Director Clay W. Epperson reiterated the importance of the private sector’s role in uplifting agriculture.
“The future of agricultural development in Pakistan is enterprise-driven,” said Mr. Epperson. “Deepening collaboration with private enterprises will forge mutually beneficial ventures and tackle challenges. Working together, we can embrace modernity in the agriculture sector with trailblazing products and services, and good agricultural management practices. Greater impact cannot be achieved alone.”
PATTA improves access to new technologies and boosts economic productivity by reducing post-harvest losses and increasing food production with new agricultural technologies. USAID also supports private sector agribusinesses by building their capacity through a broad-based technical assistance package, which includes skills enhancement opportunities to significantly increase sales and expand business networks, ultimately benefiting local farmers.