So Called Agriculture Country In Food Crisis. WHY?
By Zaib Altaf
Pakistan has rich and vast natural resource base, covering various ecological and climatic zones. About 27 percent of Pakistan’s total land area is under cultivation.
Agriculture accounts 21 percent of GDP and employs 41 percent of labor force.
Agriculture is a vital sector of Pakistan’s economy. The Agriculture sector directly supports the three-quarters of country’s population, employs half the labor force, and contributes a large share of foreign exchange earnings.
The irrigation system in Pakistan is considered to be the world largest irrigation system. In spite of all these available resources we are still facing food shortage in Pakistan.
Food is a basic requirement of human being and without it people unable to survive. In all over the world, problem of food shortage is increases day by day. Different factors are involved in food shortage. The agriculture GDP growth rate in Pakistan was only 1.5 percent in 2007, significantly lower than the population growth rate (Pakistan National Income Statistics 2008).
The 1989-90 to 2004-05 average growth rate was 2.3 percent (Pakistan National Income Statistics 2007).On the other hand it is estimated that average GDP growth rates in fast growing middle-income countries average 4-6 countries.
“According to Pakistan Economic Survey 2005-2006; GDP of Cotton is 10 percent and of Rice is 6 percent. One of the basic reasons of food crises in Pakistan is soaring prices due to gap in demand and supply of edibles. Due to water unavailability mainly our Rabi crops suffered.”
Oxfam’s latest survey showed that Pakistan amongst the 21 nation facing food crises due to increasing prices of food commodities. So the problem is that Pakistan despite being an agriculture country still faces food crises…….
Different surveys reported that being an agricultural country we are facing shortage of food. It might be occurs due to following reasons: rising energy prices, due to increased in cost of production and foreign exchange holding by major food importing countries. Lack of modern agricultural technology also became a reason of today’s food crisis in our country.
Predictable weather also played a main role in increasing food prices. Sometimes sudden uncontrolled conditions e.g. drought, water shortage, unfavorable weather conditions, flood e.t.c. could be a reason in reduction in crop yield which leads to shortage of food. It is estimated that price of wheat has been increased from 15 rupees per Kg in Jan 2007 to 24-25 Kg in Jan 2008.
In order to bring down the prices of food items so that an ordinary person get relieve, we should have to take some steps like banning exports to all food items including vegetables, pulses, fruits as well as eliminating all taxes particularly the import duty and sales tax on food items. Reduction in petroleum prices will lead to reduction in transportation cost as well as inflation.
It is believed that Agriculture scientists will have to introduce modern technologies for getting high yield at low price which helps the government to cope with the persistent crises of food shortage in Pakistan.
The crises of food shortage will be minimized by efficient management of available resources e.g. usage of hybrid seeds, use of better water management, increased role of government for ensuring effective safety and support mechanisms.
According to 2005 Food and Agriculture Organization of UN and AOSTAT, Pakistan is one of the world’s largest producers and suppliers of the crops included: Cotton, Rice, Wheat, Sugarcane e.t.c.
So, in order to protect our country from food crises we should take long term measures to attain the self sufficiency in the production of food crops. Being an agriculturist it’s our duty to solve the problem of food shortage in our country by use of latest agricultural techniques. Pakistan Agriculture. Source Diplomatic Circle.
Published: Zarai Media Team