14 February 2024

Agriculture Roundtable

The Here and Now of Agritech in Pakistan


On January 27, 2024, NIC Faisalabad, in collaboration with Future Fest 2024, hosted a dynamic roundtable discussion titled “The Here and Now of Agritech in Pakistan.” Moderated by Zeeshan bin Shahid, Project Director of NIC Faisalabad, and Fouad Riaz Bajwa, Co-Founder of Digital Dera and Agriculture Republic, the session provided a crucial platform to explore the contemporary landscape of Agritech in Pakistan. Over 20 participants, representing key stakeholders in the agricultural technology ecosystem, including farmers, agricultural technology companies/startups, government representatives, research institutes, and investors, convened to address the pivotal role of Agritech in the country’s economy and explore innovative solutions to challenges obstructing its adoption.


The discussion focused on strategies to encourage the adoption of agricultural technology among farmers in Pakistan. Participants highlighted various challenges and proposed solutions to facilitate technology adoption and improve agricultural practices. The summary reflects diverse perspectives and insights, highlighting key themes such as internet connectivity, technology adoption, implementation hurdles, the role of stakeholders in driving change, the importance of seed quality, farmer engagement, and localized solutions.

Connectivity Challenges:

A prominent issue highlighted throughout the discussion was the limited connectivity in rural areas. Despite the prevalence of mobile phones, internet access remains a significant barrier for farmers. The need for offline solutions to ensure accessibility was emphasized as a crucial first step in addressing this challenge.

Technology Adoption:

While there is willingness among farmers to embrace technology, there are inherent barriers to adoption. The transition from traditional farming practices to tech-based solutions requires time and trust-building efforts. Change agents and community leaders play a vital role in facilitating this transition by establishing bonds of trust and providing necessary guidance.

Implementation Hurdle:

Effective implementation of technological solutions hinges on trust between stakeholders, including farmers, government agencies, and private sector entities. Transparency, accountability, and tailored training programs are essential to overcome resistance and ensure the successful integration of technology into farming practices.

Policy and Collaboration:

The importance of policy support and collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors was underscored as critical for driving innovation and sustainability in agriculture. Partnerships with international governments and private sector organizations can provide valuable resources and expertise to address complex challenges.

Incentives and Partnerships:

The discussion underscored the need for incentivizing farmers and forming partnerships with technology companies to subsidize access to agricultural technologies. These initiatives aim to mitigate affordability issues and encourage experimentation with new technologies.

Role of Demonstrations and Change Leaders:

Participants emphasized the effectiveness of farmer-to-farmer demonstrations in driving technology adoption. Change leaders within farming communities play a pivotal role in promoting best practices and motivating others to embrace innovative technologies.

Cluster Management and Collaborative Approach:

Adopting a cluster management approach was advocated, focusing on specific regions to serve as role models for technology adoption. Collaboration among stakeholders, including corporates, startups, and tech companies, was highlighted as essential for scaling solutions effectively.

Seed Localization and Agricultural Industrialization:

Participants emphasized the importance of starting agriculture with the fundamentals – the seed, the land, the soil, and the farmer. Agricultural industrialization must prioritize better communication with farmers, providing them with comprehensive information on weather, climate change, seed resilience, crop nutrition, and post-harvest handling to mitigate losses.

Challenges in Seed Localization and Machinery:

Concerns were raised regarding Pakistan’s heavy reliance on imported seeds, particularly in crops like potatoes, which negatively impacts competitiveness in the international market. The discussion highlighted the need to localize seeds and farm machinery to enhance productivity and reduce production costs.

Role of Farmer Cooperatives:

Participants highlighted the role of farmer cooperatives and corporate farming models in empowering smallholder farmers and improving their access to markets and resources. Examples from other countries, such as India and the Philippines, showcased the benefits of cooperatives in adopting advanced technologies and reducing input costs.

Government Support and Digital Infrastructure:

Suggestions were made for the government to play a proactive role in creating supportive structures for agriculture, including digitizing land records, establishing geo-agri-zones, and providing extension services tailored to different regions’ needs.


In conclusion, participants underscored the importance of policy support, structural reforms, grassroots empowerment, collaboration, and partnership to drive agritech initiatives forward in Pakistan. Recommendations included incentivizing research and development of locally adapted seeds and machinery, digitalization of land records, establishment of geo-agri-zones, and inclusive multi-stakeholder approaches to problem-solving and innovation.

The discussion also highlighted the need for government support, regulatory frameworks, and community engagement to facilitate agricultural development. Overall, the roundtable underscored the significance of collaborative efforts and innovative solutions in advancing agritech education and fostering a conducive ecosystem for agricultural growth in Pakistan.


The session featured a stellar panel of experts, including:

  • Shehryar Hydri, Founding Partner of Deosai Ventures
  • Shahrukh Khan, National Coordinator at Helvetas Swiss
  • Kaiyan Yousaf, Regional Partnership Manager Asia and MENA at Viamo
  • Syed Mohammad Mahd, Chief of Staff at National Foods Limited
  • Taqi Haider, Investment Analyst at Accelerate Prosperity
  • Saniya Ali Wattoo, Research Associate Sustainable Agriculture & Livestock Division at Rizq
  • M Azeem Shaz, Senior Executive Engineer at FFC, T & E Division
  • Midrar ul Haq, Executive Coord (R&D) at FFC
  • Fatima Zaka, Founder of The Farmette
  • Ali Sufiyan, Commercial Global Director at FarmDar
  • Muzzafar Manghi, Founder of Farmdar
  • Muhammad Bukhari, Co-Founder of Farmdar
  • Shahezad Zia, Business Lead at Farmdar
  • Qazi Saddam Naseer, Regional Business Coordinator at SMEDA
  • Raheel Mahtab, Senior Manager Procurement & Agri Development at Fauji Fresh n Freeze Limited
  • Faizan Siddiqui, Manager Marketing Digital & Value Chain at Syngenta Seeds
  • Tabbish Mahmood, Head of Digital & Services at Syngenta Seeds
  • Ghasharib Shoukat, Founder of Zarai Mandi
  • Khunsa Khawar, Head of Training & Development and Founder of Farming Development Academy.

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