ADMIRABLY, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is making a long-term plan for Pakistan.
However, there is no provision in the five-year plan to improve the country’s agriculture sector.
Our farm production yield is low compared to other nations. We hear every year about bumper crops of cotton, wheat, rice, but our production yield per acre for every crop is one-third of other developed nations.
Farmers in China, India, Malaysia, Russia, the UK, the US, etc, are all using drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, shallow green house and many other new agricultural technologies to improve their crop yield by 300 - 400 pc. Although pesticide, fertiliser and tractors arrived in Pakistan decades ago, agriculture technology has not improved.
Introducing these new technologies requires extensive training of our farmers as these will fetch them higher yield and more income. They will also help reduce the use of water, pesticide and fertiliser for the farm.
But for many new technologies there is also a high initial cost which our poor farmers cannot afford on their own and will hence require extensive government grants and loans.
And with higher yield and higher income, our farmers will have an authentic chance to come out of poverty while helping to reduce food insecurity in the country.
Therefore, increasing our farm yield by 300 per cent within the next five years should be the government target. This will lead to higher exports, higher economic activities and help to take out 65pc of our people involved in agriculture out of poverty.
Shahryar Khan Baseer