Fo­cus­ing the agri­cul­ture

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

Edus­try CONOMY of ev­ery state de­pends on three sec­tors i.e agri­cul­ture, in

and com­merce. These three are in­ter­re­lated with each other as progress or ret­rogress of one sec­tor ef­fects the other two. Our be­ing an agrar­ian econ­omy, the agri­cul­ture gains are of much im­por­tance than any other sec­tor as it not only feeds the peo­ple but also pro­vides raw ma­te­rial for in­dus­try and is a base for for­eign trade.

About sixty to seventy per­cent of our pop­u­la­tion is di­rectly or in­di­rectly linked with the agri­cul­ture sec­tor yet it is most de­plorable that suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments did not go beyond mere lip ser­vice for the devel­op­ment of this vi­tal sec­tor of the econ­omy. If we look across our bor­der, the agri­cul­ture sec­tor in the In­dian Pun­jab is com­pletely mech­a­nised and is highly sub­sidised. Agri in­puts such as seeds and fer­tilis­ers are pro­vided to farm­ers at very low rates, which helped In­dia sig­nif­i­cantly en­hance its agri yield. Our land in Pun­jab was also once known for its fer­til­ity but with the pas­sage of time this char­ac­ter­is­tic eroded due to shift­ing of fo­cus to­wards in­dus­try. More­over un­planned land grab­bing by in­flu­en­tial land mafias every­where in the coun­try also brought havoc to agri­cul­ture and en­vi­ron­ment. To en­sure self-suf­fi­ciency in food grains, it is nec­es­sary that fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments give se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion to en­hanced pro­duc­tiv­ity in agri sec­tor to help re­duce poverty and stim­u­late growth. Bet­ter in­cen­tives to our hard work­ing farm­ers such as pro­vi­sion of sub­sidised seeds and de­creas­ing the in­put cost will en­sure bet­ter food se­cu­rity. We are glad that Pun­jab Chief Min­is­ter Shah­baz Sharif while real­is­ing the im­por­tance of agri­cul­ture sec­tor has an­nounced a pack­age of Rs 100b for farm­ers. Be­ing a doer, we are sure that he will not only im­ple­ment the pack­age in let­ter and in spirit but also take other req­ui­site steps to fully re­vive this ne­glected sec­tor.

THE Ray­mond Davis af­fair (re­mem­ber?), with all its ram­i­fi­ca­tions, is well on its way to be­com­ing the stuff of leg­end. So much had been writ­ten – and spo­ken – on the sub­ject that it re­quired all one’s will power to keep one’s mouth shut. One can hardly re­sist the temp­ta­tion, though, to men­tion that this af­fair had a lot to do with the age-old coarse art of tread­ing on toes. Who is tread­ing on whose toes and with what re­sults only time will tell. For the mo­ment though it would be ex­pe­di­ent to take time out, look back, and de­vote one’s un­di­vided at­ten­tion to the ‘coarse art’ in ques­tion.

There was a time (pre-pre nine/ eleven?) when the high and mighty of this blessed land took de­light in this pas­time. This was par­tic­u­larly true of those who de­lighted in dab­bling in the art of ‘diplo­macy’ or what­ever it was known as in those days of some­what loose habits. Of course those good old times are no more. One lives and learns. There are sev­eral lit­tle lessons that come one’s way, if only one pays a bit of at­ten­tion.

One won­ders if the reader has no­ticed that any sane in­di­vid­ual spends half of his/her life in ei­ther avoid­ing tread­ing on other per­sons’ toes or, al­ter­na­tively, in sav­ing his/ her own toes from be­ing trod on.

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