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The National Assembly has been summoned to meet on Friday, the 5th June, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. in the Parliament House, Islamabad|

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Youth Led Innovative Agri Startups are Promising Engines of Rural & Agricultural Development: Speaker National Assembly
Wednesday, 4th March, 2020

Islamabad, the March 04th:  The Speaker National Assembly Mr. Asad Qaiser stated that Youth led innovative and market disruptive agricultural startups offered a promising pathway to transform conventional Pakistan’s agricultural sector into globally aligned competitive agriculture. He expressed these views in a meeting with the founders of various agricultural startups who briefed a panel of the National Assembly on path-breaking innovative agricultural businesses. The Speaker urged the government to facilitate and scale up the quality agricultural startups as they were engines of rural and agricultural development. He also urged the need to create an enabling environment for private sector to lead the diffusion and transfer of agricultural technology, and raising Pakistan’s agro-productivity and export competitiveness. 

The founders of various agri startups who attended the meeting were winners of recently held competition on innovations in agriculture, food security and nutrition. The agri startups were supported by TiE Islamabad chapter headed by Ms Sara Hashwani. The members of the National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products highly appreciated the innovations brought about by agri startups and stressed that given the rapid expansion of Pakistan’s population and immense stress on Pakistan’s natural resources, high-tech driven sustainable agriculture and food security system offered immense potential to meet Pakistan’s food security.

MNA Syed Fakhar Imam stated that 7 decades of bad governance and relegation of agriculture to secondary priorities has inhibited Pakistan’s progress in realizing full agricultural potential. He appreciated the Speaker National Assembly for taking pains to build a political momentum for uplifting Pakistan’s agro-economy. He stated that youth’s engagement in agriculture supported by artificial intelligence, e-commerce portal, data mining and other ICT solutions were areas of potential breakthroughs.

Dr Fehmida Mirza, the Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination urged the members of the National Assembly Special Committee on Agricultural Products and founders of agri startups to pay specific attention to the problems of smallholder farmers and women who continue to be constrained by significant barriers including fragmented landholdings, lack of access to credit, information and technology and exploited by middlemen. She stated that tech-driven solutions were the key to relieve and lift the small farmers. 

The Minister for National Food Security and Research Mr. Khusro Bakhtiar endorsed the observations of the members and underlined the need to examine the rules regulating agri-startups’ access to credit. He urged the startups to collaborate with governments on the themes included in the Prime Minister’s Agriculture Emergency Program.