Tuesday, January 25, 2022
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Agricultural Infrastructure of Pakistan

Why this field is neglected in Pakistan despite being an agriculturally based economy, why we import food items… basic food items, wheat, rice, milk, pulses, vegetables are getting expensive every day? Common man is suffering.

Pakistan is a third world country and underdeveloped economy, we are not able to come out of our economic crisis since our independence. Our fragile democratic system is unable to deliver and transform Pakistan into a sustainable economy that is on a double-digit growth trajectory. Whereas other developed nations of the world who were on the progressive course have successfully achieved economic prosperity in less than two decades. They have improved the quality of life of their public and are on a path of continually improving the standard of living of every citizen living in their country.

This was not achieved in a day, week or a month but it took decades of hard work, collective wisdom, and sincere effort by the people in power who did not came in power to increase their personal wealth but did sincere effort to develop and empower all of the state institutions with zero nepotism or favoritism and by creating a transparent merit system.

All the economic goals were achieved by virtue of building and empowerment of the state institutions to work in coherence with all industrial and private sectors to create synergy and for inclusive economic growth.
The key factor that helped countries achieve sustainable economic growth was by creating and accumulating wealth from all available resources present within the country and then converting them to acquire new technological resources that were needed to attain sustainable economic growth.

Unfortunately, as Pakistan lacks any long-term vision given to them by any of the political leadership so far, every political party just tries to bend the negative curve by lending money from the IMF and further adding billions of dollars to our foreign debt. A substantial amount of loans also goes down the drain to pay off IMF due installments with added interest.

This instant influx of loans creates a short-term impact to our economy and yet we fail to address the root cause of our crisis.

The shortage of all basic food items, wheat, rice, milk, pulses and vegetables within Pakistan is due to inconsistent policy given to the agriculture sector without a proper infrastructure in place, lack of deeper analysis of all supply and demand factors, inaccurate data gathering and with no safety margin added against the domestic demand to avoid any unanticipated food shortages.

Once we are able to meet the local demand only then we must consider exporting any food items otherwise any shortfall for domestic demand will be met by importing all food items needed at a higher price point to meet our domestic demand.

The wrong policy given to the agriculture sector and failure to stop the exports and smuggling at the right time is a key factor for price hike and shortages created for all those items that we produce inside Pakistan.
Pakistan is an agriculture-based economy as we are geographically located in a region where we have a suitable climate, thousands of acres of fertile land in all four provinces we have water irrigation system starting from north KPK and passing through Punjab and entering the province of Sindh to conjoin river Indus, and a vast spread canal system. This is a key factor that makes Pakistan an agriculture-based economy as Pakistan’s textile export contributes 8.5% to the country’s total GDP growth. Pakistan is among the eighth largest exporter of textile products in Asia. It is the fourth largest producer and third largest consumer of cotton. Textile sector is the backbone of Pakistan′s economy. It is the single largest sector, which contributes sixty percent to Pakistan′s total exports. It comprises 45% of the total manufacturing sector and provides employment to 48% of the total labor force of the Pakistan industrial sector.

By introducing cost optimization initiatives and by increasing per hectare production capacity of cotton crop we can be more competitive in the international market. Pakistan is ranked 3rd in the world for yarn production and it’s because of this abundance of raw material we have a great advantage that we can benefit from having direct impact on cost and operational lead time.

The sitting government must see and implement a long-term strategy to implement their vision across all industrial sectors. We are having a massive rural man force that can help co-create wealth for themselves and for the country as well.

This opportunity must be demoralized and all economic packages must be given to drive growth and bring in investment into the agriculture sector. Special economic zones should be created with incentives for investors, tax exemptions and rebates for creating a larger assortment and product range for the international market. It will help create value for the agriculture industry. Investment opportunities in hydro power projects will also be benefiting the agriculture industry and other industrial sectors as well.

Cattle farming is also part of the agriculture industry and can also contribute towards creating new dairy products that we can export to other parts of the world. We have a large rural population which are mostly unskilled and can work in farms and can take care of livestock to become productive and at the same time can earn a decent livelihood for their children.

In order to make Pakistan a country that is full of natural resources and suitable climate with a large workforce and all available resources we need to have a vision based on a 10-to-20-year time frame with consistent reforms and focus to grow this sector. We also must introduce integrated public and government partnership programs to meet all sorts of long-term objectives set by the government.

The problem lies when we are not able to convert our vision into reality as we need a sincere leadership that is empowered and can deliver based on their expertise in the specific area and also have strategic thinking to take that vision forward while achieving all operational goals on the ground.

The dilemma is that no government is able to devise a mechanism to bring in the private sector to be part of this journey. The private sector will only think short term and will only be interested in areas and projects where they can maximize profit for each rupee spent and they do not want to take risk for any long-term investment due to countries political unrest, lack of vision and trust deficit among all the stakeholders.

We must keep this in mind that people sitting in public office, ministries must not be from industrial background or agriculture sector as it creates a conflict of interest among their own wealth creation and countries’ accumulated wealth and spending needed to grow all sectors integrated together as part of one vision.
A typical Pakistani politician comes from an industrialist background or happens to be a landlord what we call jaghirdar. The close connection with a politician or a political party is like an investment made subject to return during a specific time period. The objective of becoming part of political system is to serve his personal interest and deserve the public interest. To achieve all the desired goals a typical corrupt politician indulges into tax evasion, non-declaration of financial and other assets, hoarding malpractices, and even the basic food items are not made available to the public to create artificial price hikes.

As the demand increases for basic food items like wheat, sugar, rice, potato, onion, tomato etc. The hoarders create artificial shortages, resulting in food scarcity and a desire to import basic food items at a higher price. It’s a result of government’s mismanagement, wrong planning, lack of accurate data collection and absence of real-time decision making by the responsible government department. As a consequence, to meet the market demand after price goes out of control, the hoarders take advantage of it and maximize their profits during that period.

The corrupt incompetent politicians will never be interested to stop this vicious circle as they are integral part of this corrupt system and they are elected representative of the people and custodian of public office. All the countries assets and resources are misused by the people who are sitting in the government and use politics to do damage to their own people and country and yet we are proud to be a citizen of a Muslim state and independent country it’s a shame for us all of us but it’s true.

Category: Business

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