Neglected agriculture sector


Apart from the hostility of nature itself (in the wake of climate change), the other factors inflicting pain on the agriculture sector stem from government apathy. A report by the National Defence University (NDU) on agriculture sheds light on the major livelihood providing sector of the country, which is reeling from shortage of capital for mechanisation, lack of knowledge and implementation of modern farming techniques, poor provision of formal credit and marketability at harvest. These problems hit hard common farmers with small land holdings, and not the big, corporate farmers.
The mechanisation of the farming sector has brought about a visible change in yield per acre while minimizing the cost of inputs. In our part of the world, however, the only industrialisation of farms has been provision of tractors. Even tractor sales have dropped in the recent year, which points to the fact that farmers’ power of purchase has dwindled. Farmers keep relying on old, outdated techniques as no government or non-government organisations has reached them with credible, tested and approved methods. Only seed and pesticide companies reach their doorsteps for marketing their products. There has been no check and balance on the markets of inputs as well. Recently, farmers of maize in Lodhran and Sahiwal protested against a seed company which, according to them, supplied such hybrid seeds which failed to germinate, thus wasting their hard earned money on the crop. According to the report, as many as 850 seed suppliers follow no ethics and have flooded the market with tainted seeds only by changing the brand names, leading to seed pollution. The report recommended public-private research partnership for hybrid and genetically modified crops and preserving indigenous seed.