Call to stabilise agriculture sector

KARACHI: United International Group Chairman Mian Shahid on Sunday said agriculture is the most important sector of the economy and needs to be stabilised.

Agriculture sector absorbs over 45 percent of labour while its share in GDP is 25 percent but it is prone to shocks due to its dependence on weather, he said in a statement. Shahid said last year’s floods hit 2.5 million people of which two hundred fifty thousand were farmers, who lost their standing crops on one million acres. He said that growth rate of agricultural sector stands at 2.9 percent, which is insufficient for which one reason is lack of commercialisation. Shahid said that agriculture sector needs insurance, loans and affordable inputs to stand on the feet. He said that Pakistan is getting deficient by the passage of every day, which is a great threat to all sectors including agriculture.

The government should take steps to ensure water security and tackle climate change issues otherwise situation will go out of control. He said that Pakistan depends heavily on annual glacier melts and monsoon rains. Water from these sources flows down the rivers and out to the sea. En route, there are seepages into the ground, which is now receding. Pakistan has the largest irrigation system in the world. However, owing to the poor state of infrastructure, about two-thirds is lost due to poor transmission and seepage. This means that about 68 million acre feet water can be saved if the canal system is adequately repaired and maintained.

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