KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Regional Standing Committee Chairman Ahmad Jawad has said despite passage of 18th amendment of the constitution, provinces have failed to introduce new agriculture, environment and food security policies, which was a matter of great lethargy and slackness.
He said the provinces direly needed to introduce sustainable agriculture policy so as to ensure food security and quality seeds of wheat, rice, cotton and vegetables, and if steps were not taken on war footing, food security would shatter the economic structure, as the country would be compelled to spend billions of dollars on imports to feed its huge population.
“If we stayed where we are today in terms of cropped area and yield per hectare, we will have 30% less food available per capita in next two decades,” he added.
However, he said food security could be achieved by addressing the problems of pests, rural poverty, degraded fertile, depleted ground water along with tackling the issue of eroded biodiversity, adding that in order to banish the rural poverty, we need to revisit our priorities, which could be done with major chunk of investment in field of research and technologies to benefit the small landholders.
“We must emulate the Bangladesh example for achieving a significant success in food security, which was acknowledged by the World Bank,” he maintained. “We could fight poverty by facilitating the farmers and subsequent success in achieving lower food prices.”
Jawad also said that genetically modified crops have contributed to sustainable development in several significant ways, as these crops have an important role to play in lessening the environmental impact and improving the sustainability of food production. Insect-resistant rice, for example, has the potential to benefit about 1 billion people.
The FPCCI official urged the government to patronise scientists working for technology promotion and its upgradation in the country. He said that it was very unfortunate that the country did not have any framework for transfer of technology. He lamented that there are 400 research institutions in the country but their performance is not up to the mark.
Similarly, he said, the government may activate the approved establishment of National Food Safety Regulatory Authority, so that clear policy line may be rendered towards stakeholders, adding that the government must make a commitment to sustainable agriculture, pledging to produce more, conserve more and improve farmers lives in the vision 2025 of planning commission.
Source: Daily Times