Chairman of Regional Standing Committee on Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Ahmad Jawad has stressed the need for evolving a serious strategy to build water reservoirs on a priority basis to meet the production of the agriculture sector at par.
Ahmad Jawad said that the mismanagement of water will have its biggest impact on Pakistan’s agriculture sector as according to the World Bank (WB) 43 per cent of Pakistan’s employment is in the agriculture sector (WDI 2014).
“This prosperous industry relies on the single largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. While this is an impressive feat, Pakistan also fosters one of the lowest crop yields per unit of water in the world. This is alarming because Pakistan uses a whopping 97 per cent of its water resources on its agriculture industry,” he added.
The FPCCI office-bearer said, “The looming threat of water scarcity is an issue that is rarely talked about in Pakistani politics, and yet it constitutes one of the biggest challenges to Pakistan’s survival. With a projected population of 263 million in the year 2050 (United Nations 2012), Pakistan needs to put serious thought into how it will provide adequate water for agriculture, industry, and human consumption in the face of rapidly dwindling reserves”.
Jawad also mentioned that Pakistan’s water issues are multi-dimensional. “There is no single, all-encompassing problem, but instead multiple, interrelated problems. Therefore, Pakistan needs to completely rethink its entire approach to its water resources. It will take time to implement solutions to these problems, and yet time is in very short supply. It is projected that around 2035, Pakistan will become exceedingly water scarce,” he added.
To meet the food and fibre security of its population, the government’s initiatives towards building dams were appreciated but it needs to be done on a fast pace, the FPCCI office-bearer remarked.
Jawad also said that “if we provide agricultural facilities in non-settled areas, it will not only reduce poverty but also militancy”.