Research, funding to help alter Pakistan’s agri landscape

ISLAMABAD: Framing policies to boost the economy without transforming the agriculture sector is of no benefit. Pakistan’s agricultural landscape will change as a result of research, technology, and innovation, enabling farmers to become more knowledgeable and competitive.
, Muhammad Azeem Tariq, an expert at the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), said, “In rural areas, approximately 68% of the population depends on agriculture for food and livelihood. Currently, our economy is fragile. The country needs to get out of this situation to where agriculture is the major contributor to economic growth. Therefore, Pakistan must tailor its economic policies according to the current situation and world order.”
“Pakistan has abundant resources and a fertile soil. A large portion of our population is directly or indirectly involved in agriculture. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and is an important contributor to food security. It accounts for approximately 60% of Pakistan’s foreign exchange income and contributes approximately 22% to the nation’s GDP,” said the NARC expert.
Azeem said several issues, including a lack of research, lack of adequate technology, high input costs, lack of water, reduction in the amount of land for farming, long-hour load shedding, insufficient advising services as well as use of cultivable insecticides, adulterated and expired pesticides, indirect links between farmers and the main market, as well as traditional agricultural methods, have plagued the agriculture sector.
‘’Therefore, enhancing the agricultural output necessitates the implementation of novel strategies. It can play a crucial role in promoting economic growth because of its strong forward and backward links with the secondary (industrial) and tertiary (services) sectors,’’ he continued.
‘’For agricultural productivity, it is necessary that the government strengthen our research organizations and provide them with funds. Private companies should also be involved so that the output could be increased,” Azeem said.
‘’Macro and micro-level structural changes may help revitalize our agriculture sector. Undoubtedly, lack of agricultural research facilities has wide-ranging effects such as poor implementation of long-term objectives, misallocation, and mismanagement of resources with many economic and environmental externalities,’’ he added. “To increase agricultural productivity, the government must create more research institutes or provide funding to those that already exist so that they have the resources to carry out new research,” he said. –INP