Stagnant agri sector threatening food security


Agricultural productivity of the country remained stagnant for the last decade, raising a question mark over food security amid the ever-increasing population. This was stated by University of Agriculture, Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan while talking a US delegation comprising David Orden, Senior Research Fellow, Pakistan Strategy Support Program (PSSP) and Dr Knigsley Bash, chief of party for PSSP on Wednesday at New Senate Hall. The vice chancellor said due to lack of value chain, marketing and traditional ways of farming were the main hurdle to the increment in productivity. He said strong policymaking is required to feed the growing population. He also urged agricultural scientists to put their all out efforts in a bid to increase production.
He was of the view the agricultural land is decreasing because of industrialisation and housing societies. Presenting the statistical date, he said in 1972, agriculture land was 0.29ha per capita; in 1981 it was 0.24 ha per capita and in 2020 it would reduce to 0.11, showing a grim picture of the situation.
He said it is the need of the hour to adopt precision agriculture. He said it is observed that same fertiliser quantity required for a big tree was being given to a small tree as its (small tree) demand is much less than the quantity of the fertiliser compared to a big tree, which becomes responsible for the wastage of fertiliser.
Dr Kingsley said that the goal of PSSP phase1 is to contribute to pro-poor economic growth and enhanced food security. He said main areas of research for his organisation are water management and irrigation macroeconomics, markets, trade, poverty reduction and social safety nets.
He said that they were working on growth framework including increased productivity, quality governance, vibrant and competitive markets, quality of life and energetic youth. Dr David said PSSP, which is funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), seeks to create a more favourable environment for investment and enterprise growth, particularly in the agricultural sector. It is being implemented through close collaboration between IFPRI, Innovative Development Strategies (Pvt) Ltd. (IDS), and other collaborators, under the guidance of a high-level National Advisory Committee. He urged UAF scientists to put their research proposal and get the funding for the decent work that would bring prosperity in the country.


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