Neglecting agriculture.

WE were taught in schools and were told by our elders as well as by society at large that Pakistan is an agrarian country which utilises its fertile land to produce a variety of crops and provides employment to a large number of people.

Having grown up listening to such attributes, I wonder if Pakistan is really an agri-based country. On paper, it might be, but it is hard to rationalise the undeniable fact that we keep facing situations every now and then where we have to import grains and even vegetables. We have recently imported sugar, palm oil, cotton and even wheat and rice. There have also been imports of tomatoes and onions. Are these the indicators of an agri-based economy?

A country with fertile fields has been converted into a massive concrete jungle, with residential colonies and factories standing where farmers used to have their crops, but decided to sell the land because their survival was at stake.

The reason behind such abysmal performance of this key sector is not necessarily what we keep hearing every now and then. No, lack of awareness among farmers regarding modern techniques is not the actual cause. Lack of logistics and marketing facilities, poor irrigation system, expensive seeds, quality and availability of fertilisers and pesticides, shortage of farming implements, and heavy duties on farming machinery are behind the poor performance of the agriculture sector.


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