WE have been hearing good and positive news lately from the government regarding bumper crops of wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane in the country. This is undoubtedly a blessing for which we should be grateful to the Almighty and congratulate the government for its efforts to produce self-supporting quantities this year.

Not many countries have been as lucky as we have been. Frost and drought have created havoc in several major grain-producing countries and in the year 2022, severe shortages of many food items are expected.

Coupled with disruptions in the supply chain because of the Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, the global gas crisis has pushed the fertiliser industry into a major crisis.

China, the largest producer of fertiliser, has shut down its exports, and farmers in the United States and India have been in trouble, having to line up for fertiliser.

With the global scenario being what it is, there is every reason for us to jealously guard our grains and temporarily shut down all exports of wheat, rice and sugar with immediate effect. The export of cotton should only be allowed in its value-added form.

All the relevant authorities, including Pakistan Army, must ensure that all borders are completely sealed to prevent the smuggling of food grains and items to India, Afghanistan, Iran or elsewhere. We have to be prepared for the year 2022.

Razak Latif
Karachi

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2021

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