Agriculture research

SPEAKING at an agriculture research and extension event under the auspices of Basmati Rice Heritage Foundation, Federal Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam urged the private sector to extend their cooperation to the government for the provision of high yield variety of seeds and other inputs to farmers at affordable price. He emphasised utilisation of human resource, capital and quality equipment for boosting productivity of agriculture sector, ignoring the bare fact that climate change impact now poses bigger threat to the yield of standing crops. The minister spoke, briefly, in general terms on the factor responsible for low productivity of agriculture sector, which he described being the major challenge.
On the contrary, Director Rice Platform Eyn Ellis was more specific in his presentation on the challenges of agriculture in Pakistan by highlighting quality and cost of agriculture inputs and cropping pattern to be adopted in view of Climate Change, on the global index of which the country has now been placed at the 5th spot of most vulnerable natons. Mr. Ellis iterated the methods, how one million small-scale farmers will adopt climate smart practices across, the globe by year 2023. It was a sort of wake up call to the government to put in place a plan, buttressed by short term strategies, for breeding high yield and climate change resistant seeds by streamlining and upgrading research activities in public and private sectors, in addition to imparting informal education to farmers enabling them to optimally use contemporary technologies.
On the one hand, the world in changing into a global food basket to ensure food security by accommodating novel agricultural practices like altering cropping pattern and breeding crop varieties fit to withstand environmental fluctuations. On the other hand, Pakistan has stayed with its old rusted and traditional agricultural methods. No leader, except Geneal Ayub Khan has ever attempted to address the issue of food security by implementing long term agricultural policies that could designate Pakistan an agricultural country in its true spirit. President Ayub Khan was the only leader, who opened the gates for “Green Revolution” in 1960s. Unfortunately, after him, the feudal and mercantile elite that ruled Pakistan were either disinterested, or rather deliberately ignored the need for serious research and innovation in the field of agriculture because they were pro-cartelism in food commodities.