Agriculture lands being
drastically reduced in Pakistan
By Shah Faisal Afridi
is an emergent need to reorganize the agriculture sector of
the country, and bring about the revolution in production of
The agriculture lands are
being drastically reduced in the country and Food-related
social unrest is putting burdens on already weak or
borderline governance systems in Pakistan.
Which is experiencing
persistent food insecurity.
If the country faces
recurrent food crises in the future, this situation could
How much patience will the
people of Pakistan be prepared to continue to show?
The world’s financial experts have placed Pakistan on a
list of 36 countries that face a serious food crisis. Like
rest of the world Pakistan is also facing food crisis that
has two sides; one is unavailability of edibles and second
is soaring prices due to gap in demand and supply of
A recent analysis of the
causes and consequences of Pakistan’s food insecurity points
out that food security has been under constant threat since
2008, when world food prices reached their highest levels
and Pakistan’s food inflation registered as high as 34%.
World Food Programme (WFP)
data from 2008 concluded that 77 million Pakistanis – nearly
half the country’s population – were going hungry.
Pakistan is an agriculture
economy where more than seventy percent of the population is
directly or indirectly depending on agriculture.
This vital sector has been
contributing more than 24pc to our GDP. In spite of its
vital significance the economy is facing challenges of food
Analysts observed that food
crisis in Pakistan come hand in hand with an energy crisis
and uncertain political environment along with the extremist
It is expected that food and
energy shortages could become worse in Future.
More problem appears to those
economies that are not agriculture based and Pakistan is a
wheat and rice producing country and shouldn’t have had to
face an acute shortage. A very important question arises
here how did it get to this stage?
The impact of floods on
economy and agriculture has been devastating in Pakistan.
The UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that, more
than 20 million people had been displaced by the flood and
some estimates the damage to crops, housing, other
buildings, roads, and irriga-tion infrastructure now reached
Huge numbers of people still
suffer from lack of shelter, hunger and disease, and winter
is approaching, when in many parts of the country
temperatures can fall below zero centi-grade.
Therefore “individual hunger
in Pakistan needs to be seen as a national security threat,
not just charity work. Whatever the improvements in
Pakistan’s food security responses, they will be meaningless
without addressing the underlying structural causes of poor
governance, skewed resource allocations and severe
inequality including the highly unequal distribution of land
The skyrocketing prices are
jeopardizing the purchasing power of financially crumbling
The price of food items such
as vegetables, chicken and meat has increased by more than
20 percent just in one month, which has further made the
half of the population of country food insecure. It is
stated that 50 percent of the population is talking less
calories recognized for average human need.
The situation of food
shortage in Pakistan calls for a multi-sectoral strategy to
address this serious issue. It is also important to note
that Ministry of Finance alone cannot provide a solution to
the worsening problem.
Pakistan needs cohesive
strategy including the focus on revising the import parity;
pricing formula and revised structure of taxes levied on
petroleum products, further demand and supply management in
energy sector, agriculture, and communication.
It is also suggested that the
Planning Commission of Pakistan should take lead in
formulating proposals in this regard.
Agriculture scientists will
have to introduce modern technologies for high yield at low
price to enable the government to cope with the persistent
crisis of food shortage.
We can observe examples of
various countries like Brazil, India, China and Philippines
which became self sufficient in the food production by the
adaptation of the biotech crops and Eco Friendly Cultivation
China has achieved great
success in increasing crop yield, China, accounting for only
10 percent of arable land, produces food for 20 percent of
the world’s population and it ranks first in worldwide farm
“It is because they have
devised different techniques to increase the yield of crops
just by making use of nature, and such farming model is
termed as, “ECO-FARMING”.
Ecological Farming ensures
healthy farming and healthy food for today and tomorrow, by
protecting soil, water and climate, and does not contaminate
the environment with chemical inputs.
The current model of
destructive, polluting agriculture relies on expensive
non-renewable and artificial resources (fossil fuels,
pesticides and agrochemicals) that damage the basic natural
resources needed for food production.
pollutes nature with synthetic fertilizers and toxic
chemicals that strip the soil of its fertility harm
biodiversity and destroy nature’s capacity to keep pests and
disease under control.
Chinese scientists and
farmers in Yunnan during 1998 and 1999, demonstrated the
benefits of biodiversity in fighting rice blast, the major
disease of rice, caused by a fungus, by growing a simple
mixture of rice varieties across thousands of farms in
Fungicidal sprays were no
longer applied by the end of the two-year program.
A recent analysis showed that
globally, ecological farming can produce, on average, about
30 percent more food per hectare than conventional
Pakistan’s per hectare rice
yield is 3.1 ton whereas China is the largest producer of
rice with per hectare yield of 6.5 ton, similarly Pakistan
produces pulses per year with per hectare yield of 0.6 ton
and China produces 1.2 ton per hectare which is twice that
production is 52.4 ton per hectare whereas China obtains a
yield of 65.7 ton per hectare.
Some of the interesting
techniques implied by China under the cultivation model of
“ECO-FARMING” are Rice Duck Farming; in which ducks are
raised on rice paddies and feed on pests and weeds, which
means the farmer doesn’t have to use earth and
water-ravaging chemical pesticides and herbicides on their
Duck droppings are also an
excellent, natural fertilizer for rice plants. Similarly,
growing two or more crops in proximity helps reduce disease
outbreaks. The technique is particularly effective at
reducing loss from rice blast disease, a destructive fungus
that causes damage on panicles and leaves, killing them
before rice grains form.
Therefore Chinese cultivation
pattern is the best model to be implemented, on the land of
Pakistan in order to cope with the upcoming expected food
Defining the strategy to
ensure food security, Government should allocate land to
locals in association with Chinese to obtain farm
productivity on the same pattern as Chinese are doing.
Corporate farming trend should be introduced to compensate
rising inflation and high input prices through which
agricultural productivity can be increased, he added.
Cooperative society model could be introduced Under
specialized technical support with Chinese collaboration
through national productivity organization in Pakistan where
people can join hands, pool their resources-invest and
deduct all expenses to share fortune.
Chinese Model of Eco- Farming ensures healthy farming and
healthy food for today and tomorrow, by protecting soil,
water and climate, promotes biodiversity, and does not
contaminate the environment with chemical inputs or genetic