Protest of PTI lawmakers over ignoring agriculture should be noticed,Apathy, lack of investment shaking foundations of agri sector
Karachi (Pakistan Point News - 24th April, 2021) Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Thursday said challenged and unconcern for the most important agriculture sector is on the increase.
Protest of PTI lawmakers over meagre allocation of Rs 12 billion for agriculture sector should act as a wakeup call as funds earmarked for the purpose is an insult to the agriculture and farming communities, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said the country is spending forty percent of its export proceeds in import of agriculture products and it will have to spend more if indifference continued.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that agriculture plays a central role in economic development, food security, employment, poverty reduction, industrial production and exports but it has been put on the back burner.
Pakistan cannot afford to ignore a sector having 19.
2 percent share in the GDP, 38.5 percent in employment once called the backbone of the economy.
This sector is suffering from apathy, low investment, climate change, water shortages, lack of affordable loans, substandard seed, and pesticides, modernization, wastage of produce, migration and lack of research and development which according to the Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, has made Pakistan a net food importer and urgent steps are required to improve the situation, he observed.
The business leader said that decisions for this sector are always contrary to the ground realities as the interest of the farmer is always overlooked resulting in wastage of funds.
A major chunk of the subsidy goes in the pockets of landlords, middlemen, investors, fertilizer sector while the planter is left high and dry, he said, adding that time has come to reverse the situation by offering incentives to the private sector.
The interest of farmer should be at the heart of every federal and provincial policy otherwise the share of agriculture in GDP will continue to shrink creating serious problems, he warned.