LAHORE: Pakistan is hard pressed for an integrated food security policy, covering all segments, essential for increasing agricultural production, ranging from the mechanization of farms, the availability of modern seeds and crop varieties resistant to climate, and research and development, an agricultural industry official said.
“My tractor industry has already started developing efficient tractors and implements to increase yields per area and crop productivity,” said Malik Ehtisham, CEO of Al-Ghazi Tractors Ltd (AGTL) in an interview with The News.
“The situation is not always ideal. Businesses must work in all situations so that our business continues its struggle, even though our refunds of over Rs 4.5 billion are stuck with the FBR (Federal Board of Revenue).”
He said the country had no food security policy.
“Pakistan is going through a great transformation. We are now a net importer of wheat. Improved arable land, more mechanization and technology could increase productivity. We need a dedicated food safety policy, which not only protects the tractor industry but also the seeds. and the fertilizer sectors and agricultural commodity supply chain mechanism.
Ehtisham said food security policy should focus on how to increase crop yields.
“Farmers are a community and the government should treat them as a community. Yield could not increase with a high-end Rs 10 million tractor alone, but rather with an integrated food security policy.”
Ehtisham said Pakistan should be an exporter of agricultural products rather than a net importer.
“Pakistan has four seasons needed for agriculture and it can produce anything. Climate change has changed the global weather pattern and now the European breadbasket is highly stressed because of it. Crop yield patterns are different around the world. The Middle East has a high consumption pattern of agricultural products compared to production.”
He said the tractor sector should be under car policy but under food safety policy.
“Like car policy will come in three years, but food safety policy shouldn’t wait that long and tractors should be part of the policy.”
Ehtisham believed that businesses around the world were facing and coping with challenges and that the situation in Pakistan was no different.
“We didn’t make a big deal out of closing the plant despite a liquidity crunch due to repayments of Rs 4.5 billion stuck with the FBR. We don’t want to panic the market. Instead, we work hard with banks and dealers to give installment tractor purchase plans. Despite all the stress, the company delivers the tractors in three to four days after full payment,” he added.
Additionally, he said, Al-Ghazi had begun a multi-billion rupee investment in technology, research and development and product improvement to meet global standards. Global experts are now part of the company to improve overall product quality and launch the latest technology in tractors, the AGTL CEO added.
“We also worked on energy efficiency, durability and performance. We have also extended our warranty period to 18 months, which no one offers in the industry,” he added.
Ehtisham said that more than 90% of AGTL tractor parts are produced in Pakistan and that is a great achievement.
“Of all OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) we are one of the biggest contributors and we are proud of that. However, some parts such as fuel injection pumps etc. are not available in Pakistan due to technology and the company is working aggressively to locate these parts.The company keeps its imports to an extremely minimal level.
Ehtisham mentioned that the company has always supported all government initiatives and is committed to playing its part in creating favorable export opportunities, adding that the tractor industry is not so strong in exports. . “However, AGTL’s technology partners have paved the way for tractor exports by providing export access to 3 countries in Africa, Sri Lanka and a few others. The company has already started delegating people export-oriented experience.”
AGTL aims to continue this plan in these foreign countries by carrying out studies and starting exports of Pakistan-based technologies that are compatible with farmers and soil conditions. AGTL will launch its export campaign to countries in East Africa and Central Asia as well as Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. These countries have enormous potential and AGTL also aims to expand its export activities to these countries. »
Ultimately, Ehtisham urged the government to announce incentives for the industry.