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Pakistan, India lawmakers meet in Dubai, share experiences

Pakistan, India lawmakers meet in Dubai, share experiences

LAHORE: Strained relations notwithstanding, lawmakers and agriculture and livestock experts from India and Pakistan met in Dubai on Sunday for the fourth round of a dialogue on sharing experiences.

The dialogue was facilitated by PILDAT, a think tank, and included Senator Mohsin Leghari, who chaired the dialogue, MPAs Mehmoodur Rashid and Jahanzaib Khan Khichi (of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf), Qazi Adnan Fareed and Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan (of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz), Vickas Hassan Mokal (of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid), Dr Amanullah and Dr Masood Rabbani of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, and agriculturist Hamid Malhi from Pakistan.

The participants from India included former Indian minister Mani Shan­kar Aiyar, Haryana Legis­lative Assembly Speaker Kanwar Pal and deputy speaker Santosh Yadav (of the Bharatiya Janata Party), Haryana MLAs Lalit Nagar (Congress), Parminder Singh Dhull (Lok Dal), CNN IBN editor Jyoti Kamal, Indian Express assistant editor Man Aman Singh Chhina, and Dr M.J. Khan of the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture.

A message received here on Monday said the dialogue had focused on sharing experiences on effective agriculture and livestock practices and policies. The participants had stressed the need for greater interaction between the two countries and felt that there was a need to share experiences in order to reform policies and practices in the two countries facing similar issues.

In the first session, the experts highlighted the need to approach agricultural policies and practices holistically to benefit consumers and farmers while achieving food security. Profitability to the farmer must be an equal, if not the key, consideration of reforms.

They urged legislators from both countries to play a positive role through policy input and oversight mechanisms available to them.

The participants believed that water scarcity was a far graver threat to the two countries than either of them realised. They stressed the need for urgent policy and legislative focus on effective water conservation strategies.

Participants in the second session focused on livestock development and highlighted, not just the need to learn from each other’s good practices, but also the need to interact frequently to avoid practices that could harm either country.

They believed that the two countries required active collaboration in areas, including vaccine research, exchange of data on disease monitoring and surveillance, experiences on breed development, animal welfare issues and opportunities in value addition for domestic as well as international markets.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2016

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