Ensure food security

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DURING a meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan was informed by Minister for National Food Security that the country is on the course to achieve higher production of wheat, rice, sugarcane and maize compared to the previous year besides achieving record export target of mango and citrus fruit.

This indeed is an encouraging trend and made possible only due to increase in the support price of major crops.

When the farmers get due price of their produce, they will grow it on more land and use more inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides in order to get better crop. But it is also fact that our agri productivity is very low when compared with other countries.

According to a report framed by Pakistan Business Forum a few years ago, our agricultural productivity ranges between 29 percent and 52 percent far lower than the world’s best averages for major commodities.

Agricultural commodities, particularly cotton, provide critical input for Pakistan’s major manufacturing industries. However, lower harvests translate into low industrial production and higher cost.

It is unfortunate that nothing was done by our successive governments to find as to why the Indian Punjab productivity ratio is much higher than ours regardless of the same landscape.

With the right kind of interventions, research especially on new seed varieties and support to the farmers, we can also increase our productivity to such levels that not only meet our domestic requirements but also earn foreign exchange through exports.

Given the rapid increase in population, time has come to pay special attention to transform our agriculture sector on modern lines in order to ensure our food security.

Otherwise growing reliance on import of food items will only multiply our economic woes. With the cooperation of our Chinese friends, we must promote research in this particular sector with focus on getting higher yields from less land.

Secondly, maximum incentives should be extended to the farmers under Kissan Card in order to bring prosperity in their lives. For a prosperous Pakistan, we have to make our farmers prosperous.

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