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Mechanised agriculture: a way forward

May 01, 2013

THIS is apropos of Faisal Bari’s article ‘Why not land reforms?’ (April 26). I am a farmer and a doctor as well.

India observed a significant decline in agricultural productivity after redistributing land to the landless.

This was because of extreme fragmentation of land which made agriculture a low-profit venture. In my opinion, challenges to the agriculture sector in Pakistan like the expensive fertiliser and pesticide, electricity outages, expensive fuel and water shortage are so severe that fragmentation of land would bring a steep decline in agricultural output.

It is critical to mention here that it is by and large the agriculture sector which makes Pakistan relatively stable in terms of inflation and food security irrespective of the global trends.

Furthermore, I also want to highlight this widely acknowledged fact that politics in India still remains as dirty as it has always been.

Therefore, the rhetoric of changing politics by means of land reforms remains a myth. Moreover, there is no coherent theory or standard protocol of land reforms in the world. The world has witnessed nepotism and inequalities during the redistribution of land to the landless.

I further want to focus the point that the US, the breadbasket of the world and the country with the world’s largest agricultural output, did not reach this position through land reforms.

The reason behind its productivity is highly mechanised farming. It uses only 10 per cent of its human resource in agriculture compared to 47 per cent in Pakistan.

If we really intend to change the lives of our rural population, which reflects itself in Pakistan’s politics, we need to mechanise our agriculture and shift this potential rural human resource to other sectors like manufacturing and industry.

This would definitely bring a decline in the feudal influence in Pakistan’s politics, without compromising the growth of agricultural sector.