ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) President Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday demanded greater focus on agriculture as 80 percent exports of the country were linked to agriculture.
Development of agriculture sector is linked to prosperity of farmers, which should not be put on the back burner, he said, adding that 69 percent of cultivable land is located in Punjab where 80 percent cotton, 63 percent sugar cane, surplus wheat and rice and other products are produced.
Therefore this province should get extra attention. He said that the agricultural production is not satisfactory despite Rs 341 billion farmers’ package announced by the prime minister in November last year, adding that the exports of rice, cotton and textiles continue to fall while production of yarn and cloth is unsatisfactory calling for attention of the authorities.
He said that dwindling agriculture, low commodity prices and collapse of cotton crop has resulted in reduced demand of tractors by 47 percent, which is alarming. Hussain said that the price of a 50kg bag of urea is Rs 200 more in the country as compared to international market, which should be balanced lest it discourages farmers and hits production.
Agricultural development is also linked to reduced input prices, quality seed and pesticides, and loans for which we lack a transparent and effective system putting growers on the mercy of loan sharks, he added.
The PBIF president said quality of life of planters should be improved with intervention to boost share of agriculture in GDP, which is hovering around 22 percent, so that food security situation can be improved. He lauded Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for announcing steps to boost agricultural sector.
Source: Daily Times