A declining economy and growing food insecurity in the country, Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik has called for Green Revolution since one of the best solutions would be heightened research and investments in the agricultural sector to boost yields.
He also demanded the government to grant interest free agricultural loans on soft terms and conditions to farmers at their doorsteps besides especial relief in water and power consumption.
Iftikhar Ali Malik, who is also Chairman United Business Group and veteran trade leader, has made this observation in context with the 70th Independence Day during his meeting with a delegation of progressive farmers headed by Muzaffar Ali Sial here at his residence on Friday.
He asked farmers to adopt scientific methods to enhance food grain production and reduce imports by using one-fifth of their farming land to cultivate lentils.
Underlining the greater readiness to take the bold steps needed to build a prosperous future of Pakistan he has given the call for “Green Revolution”, in the country “which implies productivity improvement in perpetuity without ecological and social harm.
He said our farmers are still lagging behind in terms of availability of good quality seeds, adequate water, power, availability of proper price and market for their produce. “We need to deal with not only the way the world produces food but the way it is distributed, sold and consumed, and we need a green revolution that can boost yields by working with rather than against nature,” he added.
He noted that over half of the food produced today is lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human-managed food chain. “Unless we prepare a balanced and a comprehensive integrated plan, we will not be able to change the lives of farmers,” he added. Stressing the urgent need for use of scientific methods for farming to increase productivity, Iftikhar said it was high time that the country goes for green revolution.
He said the import bill of oil, machinery and food rose 21 per cent year-on-year in the first half year of 2016-17 despite drop in global prices.
He said Pakistan can save over $1.2 billion annually by encouraging the domestic edible oil sector. He was of the view that proper farming, production, processing and marketing of oilseeds can not only reduce dependence on imports but also help earn foreign exchange as Pakistan is located in the food deficient region.
Pitching for ‘per drop, more crop’, he stressed the need for research in the field of agriculture to determine the health of soil and its needs in terms of seeds, water quantity, amount of fertilization etc.
He also emphasised on the need to focus on enhancing food grain production by adopting scientific methods. “Research is important in the agriculture sector. And this cannot happen only in one place. We have to see how can we make our agriculture more scientific and increase productivity and solutions are there for these issues,” he added.
He further stated that to achieve the goal of food security by ending hunger and to promote sustainable agriculture, it is important that in the field of social protection as well as the scientific measures needed for achieving food and nutrition security, we should move from the green to an ‘evergreen revolution’ approach. He said that Guard Rice and Research Division headed by former President Lahore Chamber Shahzad Ali Malik in collaboration with Chinese agricultural scientists is engaged in evolving a new one the best another variety of hybrid rice for bumper crops.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said agriculture, nutrition and health should be brought together in terms of design and delivery systems relating to public health and agriculture production. “Anticipatory research for climate change adaptation and mitigation, participatory research for integrating farmers’ wisdom with modern technology and translational research to fill the gap between knowledge and its application are all important for global food security,” he concluded.