Provincial Study Tour Promotes Stronger Agricultural Technology Enabling Environment
As technology plays a larger role in increasing agricultural productivity, enhancing competitivity and lowering barriers to access, the adoption of affordable, appropriate agricultural technologies has become essential to improve rural incomes and livelihoods. In Pakistan, USAID-funded Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity’s (PATTA) partners closely with Provincial Agriculture Departments to increase farmers’ access to these technologies and support the modernization of farming communities across the country.
As part of this government collaboration, PATTA organized a four-day study tour to Punjab province in early 2021 for government officials from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The tour aimed to facilitate knowledge sharing between the two governments and to showcase the Government of Punjab’s new agricultural initiatives—specifically the region’s agricultural call centers, which were established during COVID-19 as a socially distant way to promote good agricultural practices, improved inputs and technologies and regional extension services to smallholder farmers.
On the tour, KP officials observed a data collection system and a live stream of farmer queries and technical expert responses at a call center for extension services. Punjab officials also briefed attendees on their SMART agriculture initiative, which improves soil and productivity by issuing soil health cards, profiling the soil on farmers’ fields and conducting data recording and traceability analyses. They further shared key best practices including their International Organization for Standardization (ISO): 17025 analytical laboratory certification systems and their ability to improve analyses of soil, water, agrochemicals and fertilizer traceability.
In addition to meeting with government officials in Punjab, attendees visited several of PATTA’s private-sector partners. To demonstrate how these partners manage their agriculture and livestock technology businesses, the group toured agricultural machinery production facilities and a model slaughterhouse and were given an on-site demonstration of high-tech precision agriculture technologies.
The study tour not only strengthened linkages between officials and private sector actors from KP and Punjab, but it also showcased ways to improve KP’s agricultural productivity through the use of modern technologies. The leader of the KP delegation, KP Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Dr. Israr Ahmad Khan, expressed his appreciation for PATTA’s work to organize the visit and emphasized his government’s support for future collaboration with PATTA and its agribusiness partners.
By facilitating linkages and collaboration between provincial governments, PATTA helps modernize the agriculture sector in Pakistan and strengthen the enabling environment for agricultural technology adoption. This improved enabling environment will support PATTA’s work to lift barriers, enable awareness, and promote agricultural technology uptake across the country’s provinces, benefitting 132,506 small farmers by the end of 2021.