ISLAMABAD: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Standing Committee on Horticulture & Agriculture Produce on Monday expressed serious concern over the move by Capital Development Authority (CDA) to transform the agricultural research land of National Agricultural Research Council (NARC) into a housing society which was given to them in 1980s.
Country needs effective research centers not housing schemes as Pakistan agriculture contributed 24% to the GDP, said Standing Committee Chairman, Ahmad Jawad in a statement. He termed CDA’s proposal as economic suicide. He stated that the only question that needs attention is whether agriculture needs to survive in Pakistan or not. If yes, then research only guarantees survival and development of agriculture.
He highlighted that it is just because of research contributions by this organization despite the shrinkage of agricultural land in past few decades, the country never witnessed food shortage. “To relocate the NARC premises would give irreparable loss for the agriculture sector of Pakistan and we gone back again from where we started”; Jawad said. However, this move clearly shows that urban interests are more important than the development of the agricultural sector.
Similarly it was also impossible to shift NARC to some other place as the shifting of gene bank and mother block of fruit orchards is impossible. Even the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has been established on 500 hectares of land, but none of the political regimes ever thought to shift the body somewhere else and build a housing colony on its land.
“We may acknowledged the contribution made by the NARC and PARC in research and agriculture like development of disease resistant high yielding wheat varieties, development of farm machines, introduction of European honey bees for enhanced honey production, diagnosis and management of banana bunchy top virus, diagnosis of cotton leave curl virus, introduction of canola type mustard varieties, introduction of strawberry as new crop, bioremediation of sewage water, eradication of Rhinder Pest disease and management of the foot and mouth disease.
It’s high time that government must take measures to increase agriculture production and infrastructure. In this regard, FPCCI requested the Prime Minister to intervene and stop conversion of the NARC premises into the residential sector and give directions to CDA for issuance of new lease agreement with the PARC on the existing premises.