Shigemochi Hirashima, Professor Emeritus, Meji-Gakuin University, Japan, who is also an advisor for JICA, was delivering a lecture on ‘Agricultural Growth and Social Stability in the Development of Pakistan’, at Sindh Agriculture University (SAU), Tandojam, on Friday.
The lecture was arranged to strengthen collaboration between JICA and SAU for the development of agriculture and livestock sectors. JICA is working on the development of these two main sectors in Sindh province and Professor Hirashima has his own understanding of the subject, as he has visited wide areas to monitor projects and provide technical guidance to the farmers in various areas.
According to him, poverty line is estimated on the basis of the minimum calories required for the daily consumption level. The most crucial missing aspect of the ongoing ‘poverty reduction strategy (PRS), is the recognition that the hedge against risk and uncertainty is more needed for the lower income households. He claims to have come to Pakistan fist time more than 50 years ago and since then he has been visiting the country to see the projects and conduct research.
Covering wider areas in his lecture, Professor Hirashima said disparity in terms of asset holding was more conspicuous than that of consumption and income. However, land, the most desirable asset has become almost impossible through land market transaction. Livestock and tree crops should be considered to be the most effective and accessible form of asset for the PRS, he added.
He said land reforms initiative was a political process to change the status of land title-deed, which reflected the socio-political character of the introducer. But, he said, market-friendly land reform was unrealistic to expect, because land value had historically been growing much faster than that of rent.
He said that two groups of farm household, including landlord: those who prefer enhancement of labour productivity, and those whose labour productivity was improved only through land productivity enhancement. The former tried to maximise productivity and efficiency by taking advantage of the scale of economy, while the latter tried to adopt diversified cropping pattern with labour intensive technologies so as to minimise risk, he added.
He said Pakistan had more potential for agriculture growth as compared to neighbouring India and in case of Pakistan, Sindh province had more potential as compared to Punjab. However, he said there were problems and gaps, which needed to be filled to increase productivity for prosperity of the province.
In his lecture, Professor Hirashima covered wider areas related to poverty, food security, irrigation system, agricultural technologies and the scale neutrality, land productivity, regional disparity and social integrity, conventional approach and role of agriculture development, population, growth and employment.
About livestock, the JICA adviser said the status of cattle farming was different. For instance, he said there was no space for new born calf in cattle farms. The reason was that calf needed at least three years to come up for productivity and cattle farmers might not afford to give it space. Like this, slaughter houses needed calf, hence it was up to farmers and government to protect these assets and give space to new born animals.
SAU VC Dr Mujeebuddin Sehrai said that the government had made a considerable investment on scholars, sending them for getting higher education abroad, but ironically many of them could not return back to benefit the country. He said it was more loss the government was facing and this should be taken as crucial issue.
The VC said Pakistan was bestowed with rich natural resources. “Everything is here but it is reality that we cannot materialise these resources for development of the country,” he added. He urged upon the youth to come forward and play their role in the development of the country.
Earlier, Professor Ismail Kumbher, who organised the lecture, briefed about the importance of knowledge sharing and said this exercise could play an important role in educating fresh graduates of the university.
Sharing his observations, Dr Abdullah Areejo said there were more livestock holders, keeping herds of camel, sheep, and goats in coastal, mountainous and other areas of Sindh, but their children were dying of malnutrition and other curable diseases. “We should make these people realise that they are rich with possessing assets in the shape of animals and should take steps to save their children and women,” he added.
News source: Business Recorder