OUR STAFF REPORTER LAHORE Minister Agriculture Punjab Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh has said that provincial government was pursuing the sustainable and consistent growth of agriculture sector, and a number of measures have been taken in this regard. Addressing the International Agriculture, Livestock, Industry and Food (ALIF) Conference organised by Farmers Associates Pakistan (FAP) in connection with World Food Day, he said that in order to improve the overall situation of agriculture sector, ample funds have been provided to the research-related institutions. Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan was the guest of honour at the inaugural session of the conference. Vice-Chairman FAP Hussain Jahanian Gardezi and President Tariq Bucha were also present. The minister said during the last three years production of important crops like wheat and rice has substantially increased; wheat production has reached to 19 million tons, moreover, 0.9 million ton wheat has also been exported. He further said that Punjab Seed Council and Punjab Agriculture Research Board were engaged in the demand-driven research to increase production and protection of crops, and in order to increase the pace of agricultural research, Punjab Agriculture Research Board has been provided Rs1 billion. He said the under Green Tractor Schemes, 200,000 tractors have been provided to the farmers on subsidized rates. He said provision of agricultural inputs was the responsibility of the federal government but due to its apathy, the price of Urea fertilizer has reached to Rs.2000/- per bag. He further said Ministry of Industries should take notice of rise in Urea prices and effective measures should be taken to control it. Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan said that agriculture was backbone of national economy and it has a prominent place in the world. 'Pakistan is third in rice, livestock, dates and citrus production while at 5th place in cotton and milk production. He said we also have best canal system in the world. He said that the Punjab government has allocated ample budget for agriculture, livestock, industry and food sector so as people related to these sectors could take advantage of it and increase yield/production by using latest and scientific techniques. Earlier, Minister Agriculture and Speaker Punjab Assembly inaugurated the FAP-ALIF Expo and visited various stalls set up by the agro-based companies. Speaking on this occasion, they observed that such events were the need of hour which could play a vital role in the growth of agriculture sector. Technical session was addressed among others by the DHL Fertiliser CEO Rasheed Lone, Monsanto Pakistan Country Lead Aamir Mahmood Mirza and representative of Pakistan Crop Protection Association (PCPA) Saad Akbar.