High time to re­view agri­cul­tural poli­cies, says LCCI

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL - Staff Reporter

The La­hore Cham­ber of Com­merce & In­dus­try has called to re­view agri­cul­ture poli­cies say­ing that se­ri­ous food se­cu­rity could take place in near fu­ture be­cause of ris­ing graph of pop­u­la­tion. If steps are not taken on war foot­ing, food se­cu­rity would shat­ter the eco­nomic struc­ture as coun­try would be com­pelled to spend bil­lions dol­lars on im­ports to feed its huge pop­u­la­tion.

"If we stayed where we are to­day in terms of cropped area and yield per hectare, we will have 30% less food avail­able per capita in next two decades."In a state­ment is­sued here, the LCCI Pres­i­dent Sheikh Muham­mad Ar­shad, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent Al­mas Hy­der and Vice Pres­i­dent Nasir Saeed said that though Pak­istan's al­most 43% la­bor force is de­pen­dent upon agri­cul­ture, the yield gap in the four ma­jor crops of Pak­istan is three times from the best pro­duc­ers in the world such as China and Egypt.

They said that low yield has con­trib­uted to the poverty in ru­ral ar­eas be­sides forc­ing coun­try to im­port agri­cul­ture pro­duces to feed its pop­u­la­tion. They said that the fact should be an eye opener that China pro­duces two times more cot­ton and wheat per hectare and Egypt pro­duces around three times more rice and sug­ar­cane per hectare as com­pared to Pak­istan."

Fac­tors that are rec­om­mended to im­prove the yield are through large scale in­tro­duc­tion of hy­brid seeds and mech­a­nized farm­ing, high ef­fi­cient ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems such as drip ir­ri­ga­tion and re­duc­tion in wastage of crop through in­tro­duc­tion of pri­vately owned stor­age fa­cil­i­ties and cold stor­age fa­cil­i­ties", the LCCI of­fice-bear­ers added.

They said that 21st cen­tury be­longs to Biotech­nol­ogy and Pak­istan has tremen­dous po­ten­tial to emerge as Biotech­nol­ogy leader but to achieve the goal pri­vate sec­tor, sci­en­tists, re­searchers and govern­ment would have to work hand in hand.

They said that Pak­istan's agri­cul­ture sec­tor was los­ing heav­ily due to in­suf­fi­cient uti- liza­tion of biotech­nol­ogy as the magic progress of agri­cul­ture sec­tor is only due to Ge­net­i­cally Mod­i­fied crops. He said that agri­cul­ture sec­tor in Pak­istan has a huge po­ten­tial.

It con­tin­ues to be the sin­gle largest and dom­i­nant driv­ing force for growth as well as the main source of liveli­hood for 66 per­cent of Pak­istan's pop­u­la­tion. But it has al­ways faced two ma­jor prob­lems: first, pro­duc­tions per acre are lower than many coun­tries. Se­condly, around 40% of pro­duc­tion is wasted in the form of post-har­vest losses due to in­suf­fi­cient uti­liza­tion of biotech­nol­ogy.

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