TRTA II Team, in the frame of the business environment improvement, proposed a pilot intervention to provide support in developing an advocacy agenda and strategy for the horticulture sector in Pakistan, as the culminating step of the public-private consultative mechanism process. A Technical Working Group (TWG) comprised of horticulture business representatives, research agencies and horticulture associations was created.
The first meeting of the TWG was organized on 1st October, 2015 at PHDEC Lahore. National Expert on business environment improvement TRTA II, M. Mossavir Ahmed, gave a brief introduction of business environment and its functional areas. Furthermore, he explained that the advocacy strategy will be divided into short, medium and long-term priorities in the horticulture sector. TWG will past efforts in lobbying government for horticulture reforms and come up with suggestions on how to go forward with lobbying for issues in the future.
There was a general consensus among the participants that there are many departments related to agriculture in Pakistan with similar mandate which results in duplicity of work. A functional and efficient coordinated body is missing which can prioritize and distribute the work in order to avoid duplicity of work.
Global trends are changing. Customers not only demand fruits and vegetables to be economical and in greater quantity, but also healthy, tasty and safe from any diseases. In Pakistan, domestic situation in this regard is rather bleak. A Marketing Committee under the provincial government has quality standards, but these standards lack technical details and, therefore, demands revision.
Global Good Agricultural Practices are highly effective and can be helpful in increasing the quality as well as quantity of the local produce. However, no incentive has been provided by the government to the growers which may reduce cost, or improve competitiveness, or invite investment in the horticulture sector.
Considering the current situation concerning the adaptation of good practices, enforcing Codes of Practices (COP) would increase the production by more than 80% percent. However, the government is reluctant to enforce the globally accepted agricultural methods and techniques.
Water availability is vital for any crop production, therefore, its unavailability according to the crop requirement adversely effects the production of the crop. For instance, Sargodha has been recognized as a cotton producing region and as cotton doesn’t require water in winters, canals are, therefore, shut down in winters. Resultantly, Kinnow, which needs ample amount of water in the winters, gets severely affected.
As in other fields, research plays a vital role in agriculture as well. However, in Pakistan, the approach of the research agencies related to horticulture is problem based rather than market based. There is an urgent need to prioritize the research work with having more focus on areas related to development and sustainability of the sector.
TRTA II Programme, aims to organize a sectoral round table conference in order to present the advocacy agenda and strategy with active participation from public and private stakeholders.