USDA trainings aim to boost agri sector

AFP/File
AFP/File

ISLAMABAD(dawn): The United States Department of Agri­culture (USDA) will be imparting trainings to enhance the technical capacity of Pakistan’s plant health regulatory officials.

The move aims to ensure that Pakistan’s trade in fresh fruits and vegetables is not subjected to additional restrictions in the international market.

The USDA has sent to Islamabad its National Survey Supply Coordinator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, John Crowe to conduct a series of training in pest surveillance for officials from the Department of Plant Protection and related fields.

The training is part of the USDA’s support for the government’s efforts to expand trade in agricultural commodities, a US Embassy press release said.

USDA Representative in Islamabad, Dr Jack Mortenson, who oversees the animal and plant health inspection service, said that Pakistan’s government has made important strides in recent years to increase the value and quality of agri commodities.

Speaking about the importance of a surveillance programme, Mr Crowe said that surveillance and monitoring systems are critical to supporting agricultural trade.

According to statistics released by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, fruits and vegetables contributes 11 per cent to the total value addition in agriculture sector. The current national horticulture exports are over $400 million.

Pakistan has hot and dry climate with around 20m hectares under field crops, orchards, grooves and plantations. Insect pests, diseases and weeds are the major constraint causing, on an average, losses of around 20m annually.

Agriculture Sector, Agriculture, Agriculture in Pakistan, USDA

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