KARACHI: The agriculture sector has become much more necessary ever because the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. It does not best be sure meals safety, but also stays the most important source of employment in Pakistan.
However, the government has carried out very little to make it sustainable despite its increasing significance within the wake of the pandemic, and has introduced billions of rupees price of packages to offer protection to industries most effective.
“The government has allocated Rs280 billion to procure wheat and at the same time announced relief packages worth billions to protect industries. There is, however, no package for the agriculture sector as the government earmarks funds for wheat procurement every year,” said Sindh Abadgar Board Vice President Syed Mahmood Nawaz Shah
“What are the unique incentives announced by the government for the agriculture sector during these difficult times. There is almost nothing,” he remarked.
The govt must pay special attention to the sphere as it can lend a hand attract export income within the medium to long run as major export sectors, including the biggest textile industry, are receiving order postponement calls from international consumers.
The share of agriculture stands at around 20% in the gross home product (GDP) of Pakistan. It provides direct employment to around 42% of the full workforce of 55-60 million.
Farmers and their produce, especially the perishable vegetables and end result, had been badly impacted since the virus outbreak in the country early last month. Farmers are selling wheat at lower than the minimal give a boost to value of Rs1,400 in step with 40 kg.
The executive has but to begin the reputable procurement force while the staple crop is ready for harvest in Sindh.
“On an immediate basis, the government needs to stabilise prices of commodities at fairly higher levels against a steep fall recorded in recent days and weeks,” he mentioned.
“In the medium to long run, it needs to build and strengthen the storage and supply chain infrastructure to turn agriculture into a sustainable sector for the sake of food security in the country and export to global markets,” he stated.
The world can abandon the acquisition of non-essential items and services and products however it can’t are living without meals. Pakistan has a chance to play its role on this regard.
“Agriculture remains the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. It is high time that attention is paid to addressing the grave issues like streamlining cotton production and increase in wheat output, which are potential export commodities,” he mentioned.
Lack of storages was one of the many reasons that ended in the increase in tomato costs to Rs200-300 in line with kg within the fresh past.
“Disruption to the already poorly managed food supply chain has caused a massive reduction in commodities’ prices. This has directly hurt poor farmers and their little income,” he mentioned.
“The situation may worsen if supply chain management does not improve over the next 8-10 days. Farmers are selling commodities, including the staple crop of wheat, below cost,” he stated.
What the government should instantly do was to ensure food security and protect employment within the sector “by stabilising prices at rational (upside) levels,” he mentioned.
The prices of tomato, chili, turnip (shalgam) and cabbage (gobi) have decreased via as much as 50-60% at farm degree in the recent days. “Farmers are selling tomatoes at Rs40-50/ per 12kg sack compared to Rs100-200, depending upon quality, before the virus outbreak in the country. Similarly, they are selling chili at Rs1,200-1,700 per 60kg bag compared to Rs5,000-7,000 earlier.”
According to the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) report 2019, Shah mentioned, there is available garage capability for not up to one million ton (or 10%) for vegetable and culmination towards their estimated manufacturing stand at round 15 million ton consistent with year. “We need to increase the storage to 40-60% to ensure food security,” he added.
The in step with acre agriculture output has remained probably the most lowest on this planet. The government wishes to mend it through offering high quality seeds, fertiliser and pests at fair prices and on the proper time. Besides, it needs to undertake drip irrigation and different the way to easiest utilise available water, as 80% off the water goes into agriculture whilst almost 50% of that goes into wastage due to the water mismanagement.