PA Passes KP Agricultural Research Institutes Reforms Bill, 2022 – Pakistan

PESHAWAR: The Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province has passed the KP Agricultural Research Institutes Reform Bill, 2022, aimed at modernizing and granting financial autonomy to these institutes and improving their performance, efficiency and effectiveness in delivering services and harnessing the potential of the agricultural research sector in the province.

The law will be extended to the whole province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at the Agricultural Research Institute, Tanab Peshawar and the Agricultural Research Institute, Mingora Swat and will come into effect immediately.

The provincial government, after the enactment of the law, would reorganize the institutes already established and listed in the schedule and be known as KP Center of Excellence.

The government may, if it deems it appropriate, declare any other existing agricultural research institute, meeting the prescribed criteria, a center of excellence, by amending the schedule and would apply the provisions of this law to this centre. In addition, the Government may from time to time establish new Centers of Excellence by amending the Schedule and apply the provisions of the Act to them. Each Center would be a legal entity with perpetual succession and common seal having the power to acquire, hold and alienate movable and immovable property and being able to institute legal proceedings in its name.

The Center of Excellence established under this Act would be responsible for goal-oriented agricultural research, generation of knowledge and dissemination of their findings for the development of the agricultural sector in the province; develop evaluate, breed and introduce new and improved varieties with greater income potential, higher yields, better quality and resistance to disease, insect pests and tolerance to stressful conditions.

It would acquire, maintain and preserve the germplasm; develop appropriate crop improvement systems and production technologies that are cost effective, improve farm incomes, promote environmental sustainability, preserve the natural resource base and improve soil fertility status in different agro-ecological zones of the region province.

It would develop hygienic, efficient and economical propagation techniques of scion and rootstock varieties and provide certified propagules, scion and mother plants to the private sector for further multiplication as certified fruit plant seedlings; produce various classes of seed varieties and hybrids, for further multiplication by public sector organizations and private seed companies and cultivation by growers.

The Center of Excellence would also conduct adaptive research trials on farmers’ fields for technology transfer and to determine various constraints affecting yield potential and with an emphasis on sustainability and minimal interference with the environment.

It would also study the biology of important diseases, insect pests and weeds, develop cost-effective control measures with emphasis on integrated management of diseases, pests and weeds; developing technology for storage, preservation and processing of produce to reduce post-harvest losses, utilizing waste and increasing product range and evaluating new crop growers to make different products.

The center would determine the biochemical composition and perform quality tests on crops and their products; publish the results of agricultural research and produce technical publications based on the research carried out; to provide advisory services to agricultural extension personnel, development projects, farmers’ associations, private entrepreneurs, agribusinesses and the agro-industry, including the production and distribution of extension materials and of advice.

The center would also be mandated to organize workshops, seminars, symposiums, trainings, refresher courses, field days for staff from research, extension, development projects, farmers and students. in agricultural science for technology transfer. It would also conduct contract research for government, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and cooperatives: creating viable links with national and international agricultural research institutions and organizations for knowledge sharing and coordinated research efforts.

The center would also enter into a contractual agreement with other agricultural research organizations and private sectors involved in agriculture for specific partnerships; and perform such other functions relating to agricultural research as may be assigned to it from time to time by the government or ministry.

A 12-member Board of Directors would be formed to administer and manage the affairs of the Centre. Seven board members would be chosen from the private sector and five from the public sector.

Members of the public sector would include representatives of Agriculture, Planning and Development, Finance and Settlement Departments below the rank of an Additional Secretary and Director General (DG) Agricultural Research, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Members from the private sector include eminent technical and professional figures in their respective fields with at least twenty years of relevant experience and significant aptitude for the improvement of agribusinesses would be appointed and notified by the government on the recommendation of the research council and appointment.

Private sector representatives may include people from the agricultural profession, agriculture, the seed industry, agricultural service providers, agribusinesses, civil society representatives, renowned philanthropists and services such as as legal, finance, economics and management.

The President would be elected by the members of the private sector by vote among themselves, who would chair the meetings of the Council. In case of absence, the president may appoint a member of the council as acting president or if he has not done so, the private members present elect an acting president for this meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

Lana T. Arthur