PR No.254 Islamabad: January 27, 2017.

Pakistan’s economy has registered a significant growth in the last three years. Turning around the economy and overcoming the acute energy shortage were amongst the important accomplishments of the government of the Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif,this was stated by  Ambassador of Pakistan to USA, Jalil Abbas Jillani while speaking at a Seminar/launching ceremony of the book titled “Agriculture and Rural Economy in Pakistan”, coauthored by Dr Sohail J Malik, Dr David Speilman, Dr Paul Dorosh and Dr Nuzhat Ahmed, here in Washington DC today, says a press release received here today from Washington DC.

The Ambassador also stated that though Pakistan’s agriculture sector had been underperforming in the last few years , the government was fully aware of the fact that agriculture sector was a vital component of Pakistan’s economy as it had absorbed the largest labor force (around 42.3%) in the country and also provided the necessary raw materials to various industries thus contributed in poverty alleviation and  by bringing a meaning full transformation in agriculture especially the rural economy, we could realize the dream of turning around Pakistan’s economic fortunes on sustainable basis.

While commenting upon the book the Ambassador opined that the authors had rightly pointed out the challenges of the rural economy, rural development, land productivity, negative impacts of climate change as well as urbanization and ancillary matters. The Ambassador appreciated that the book had touched upon irrigation and water management in the Indus Basin which was a vital current issue that Pakistan was dealing these days both in Washington and Islamabad.

While appreciating the recommendation of the book that the Indus-River basin system was in need of major investment in water storage and distribution system, the Ambassador said that until and unless we were able to substantially increase the present storage capacity, Pakistan would remain vulnerable to water aggression threats. Mindful of the future situation, the present government had accorded a high priority to the construction of large hydro electric projects particularly the Diamer-Bhasha Dam. Once completed, this would have the largest water reservoir in the country with 7.4 MAF capacity and will also generate around 4500 MW of electricity. In addition to constructing new Hydro Power Projects, investing in wind and solar energy projects under the ambitious China Pakistan Energy Corridor would help Pakistan to diversify its energy mix, the Ambassador added.

The Ambassador also endorsed the view of authors that there was an urgent need for a new approach to improving the agricultural sector in Pakistan and that the government’s ambitious and comprehensive strategy Vision 2015 could go a long way in reintroducing agriculture and food security into the National Policy Dialogue. “With this government’s vision and commitment, it is very much possible to bring Pakistan to a state with high-levels of agricultural growth and real progress that can substantially contribute in reducing poverty and bringing prosperity to the rural communities.” The ambassador concluded.