Pakistan seeks Saudi, UAE partnership in agritech — Fawad Chaudhry

September 18 - Federal Minister for Science & Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain talking to media persons after attending seminar, The Future Summit. APP
Updated 19 September 2019

Pakistan seeks Saudi, UAE partnership in agritech — Fawad Chaudhry

  • Focusing on precision agriculture, biotech park in partnership with Saudi Arabia and UAE, minister says
  • Agriculture being the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy, contributes to 24% of GDP

KARACHI: Pakistan has invited Saudi Arabia and the UAE to invest as partners in the country’s rapidly growing technology sector, particularly for the utilization of biotechnology in agriculture, or agritech, Fawad Chaudhary, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, told Arab News on Wednesday, on the sidelines of ‘The Future Summit’ being held in the port city of Karachi.
“We want to bring public-private partnership in the manufacturing of batteries, and in precision agriculture... an approach for farm management with the utilization of information technology,” he said, referring to a farming concept based on site-specific crop management.
He added: “In precision agriculture, we have invited Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (as partners).”
Chaudhry said his ministry has developed the concept of a state-of-the-art “biotechnology park.”
“In the biotechnology park, I want Saudi Arabia and UAE to become our partners. We have received interest from UAE while Pakistani investors living in European countries are also coming (forward),” he said.
In Pakistan, farmers continue to use age-old methods of conventional farming, which has hindered growth in its agricultural sector, coupled with water-shortages and the effects of climate change. As the largest sector of the economy, agriculture contributes 24 percent to the country’s GDP according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
In a recent report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, one farmer from the country’s valley regions reported that wheat productivity had declined by almost 50% from 2010-2015 with no signs of improvement.
But as part of efforts to incorporate technology into better farming practices, the science minister said his department was working on the manufacturing and registration of specialized drones to be used in agricultural zones
In July this year, Chaudhry had first announced plans for a modern biotechnology park in partnership with the UAE and Saudi Arabia while speaking to the UAE ambassador, Hamad Obaid Ibrahimi Al-Zaabi, and stressed the need to boost the trust and collaboration between Islamabad and Abu Dhabi. The envoy assured Chaudhry of his country’s full cooperation.
On Monday, Pakistan also announced the launch of 13 mega agricultural projects in collaboration with China.

Evacuation procedures in place for Pakistanis if Lebanon protests escalate

Updated 19 October 2019

Evacuation procedures in place for Pakistanis if Lebanon protests escalate

  • No immediate plan to evacuate Pakistani expats from Lebanon
  • Over 700 working class Pakistani expats reside in Lebanon

Islamabad: Standard operating procedures are in place to evacuate Pakistanis from Lebanon in case the unrest in Lebanon escalates, a spokesperson at Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Arab News on Saturday as anti-government demonstrators in Lebanon directed fiery, violent protests at a political elite they blame for a failing economy.

Angry protesters took to the streets across Lebanon on Thursday, agitated by rising inflation and cumbersome tax reforms. Major roads in Beirut including those leading to and from the airport remain blocked by mobs which routinely set tires ablaze on key routes and highways.

“SOP’s are in place for the evacuation of Pakistanis if matters escalate,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to media. He added the foreign office was monitoring the situation.

“There are between 700-800 Pakistani expats in Lebanon, however they are not being evacuated,” he said. 

“It’s a developing situation, and the ministry will apprise accordingly.”

On Friday, Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri gave his government partners a 72-hour deadline to agree on reforms that could ward off an economic crisis and hinted that he may otherwise resign.