The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Survey Supply Coordinator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, John Crowe, is visiting Islamabad to conduct a four-day training in plant pest surveillance for officials from the Department of Plant Protection as well as experts in this field from throughout Pakistan. The training is part of the USDA’s support for the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to expand trade in agricultural commodities.
Speaking about the importance of a surveillance program, Mr. Crowe said, “Surveillance and monitoring systems are critical to supporting agricultural trade. Without the information from pest surveys, the trade in fresh fruits and vegetables would be subject to additional restrictions in international markets.” The goals of the training are to increase the technical capacity of Pakistan’s plant health regulatory officials and to foster collaboration between USDA and Pakistan’s plant health officials. This training is part of an ongoing effort to expand the knowledge of Pakistan’s plant health regulatory and scientific officials.
Dr. Jack Mortenson, the USDA representative in Islamabad who oversees the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, remarked, “The Government of Pakistan has made important strides in recent years to increase the value and quality of exported agricultural commodities. USDA is pleased to be able to support Pakistan’s Department of Plant Protection’s efforts to expand their staff and strengthen their skills.”
Agriculture is Pakistan’s second largest sector, accounting for over 21 percent of GDP. It remains by far the largest employer, with 46 percent of the labor force working in the sector. For the nearly 62 percent of the Pakistani population in rural areas, agriculture is a vital part of daily life. USDA supports Pakistani agriculture by assisting in the development of agricultural productivity, furthering economic objectives, and working to meet food security needs. This project has also received funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).