Agriculture is the most important sector of any country especially in developing countries like Pakistan and India. In Pakistan about 50% of employed labour force is directly or indirectly associated with it and it contributes about 25% of GDP of Pakistan and brings a huge amount of foreign exchange in the country.
This is the most important but most neglected sector of Pakistan, fresh example was seen on 10th February 2016; when a discussion on Agriculture was scheduled to be held in Punjab Assembly Session but unfortunately only 20MPAs were there to attend the debate. Speaker had no other option than to postpone the discussion. The discussion was called on opposition request but only 20MPAs were present in a session, same happened again in the scheduled discussion on irrigation. This shows the interest of our legislators and policy makers in agriculture.
Though Pakistan is getting urbanized day by day but we should not forget that it is an agriculture economy as around 70% of its Population lives in rural areas where agriculture activities take place. Pakistan has one of the largest irrigation system which was very efficient in the 1960s but now it require proper maintenance and fair distribution of irrigation water to small, medium and big farmers.
In Pakistan Agriculture has been suffering from serious problems since independence biggest one is related with improper pricing policies by government due to which farmers came on road to record protest when they don’t get good price for their crops and get the gift of physical torture in return of their hard work and protest for their basic rights.
Another interesting thing is Pakistan is spending only 0.33% of agricultural GDP on Agricultural Research which is very much depressing and discouraging for people associated with agricultural research, especially young researchers.
Delayed and improper sowing methods, improper distribution of irrigation water, sowing of non certified seeds, improper harvesting, improper post harvest management of crops specially of fruits and vegetables, which are perishable in nature about 40% is lost due to improper post harvest management, mills mafias and improper supply chain management of crops are issues which require serious attention of our legislators on urgent basis. Steps to resolve these issues should be taken otherwise this sector will compel to spend a big amount of foreign exchange for the import of agricultural commodities to fulfill food requirement of the country.
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- 1947-58 the neglected agriculture sector