Experts for enhancing investment to tackle food security
ISLAMABAD: Speakers addressing the 31st annual general meeting and conference organised by Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE), they said the demand of food would be increased by 2% annually and water requirements by 50%.
Speaking on the occasion, Representative for International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Ghulam Rusul said huge investment was required to tackle with the growing demand of food in the country.
Ghulam Rusul urged the need for encouraging the private sector investment in agriculture sector besides un-taping the true potential of agriculture sector of Balochistan. Investment in agri-sector witnessed global declining trend, which has also increased the vulnerabilities including malnutrition, access to food commodities and price hike in daily used goods.
He informed that Pakistan was ranked among the 76 in global food security index besides having additional impacts of climate change on water, energy and food security.
Agriculture University of Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad said that the country was facing inefficient agriculture sector with low investment in research and development and higher cost of production.
Dr Iqrar Ahmad said that about 3-4 million cotton bales were destroyed during last year’s flash floods, adding that farmers were unable to sell their rice and sugarcane crop due to in-efficient market mechanism. He called for rationalising the cropping patron besides enhancing productivity, reducing cost by cultivating the less resource consuming crops like oil seeds and pulses.
Vice Chancellor said excessive production of oil seeds and pulses would help to reduce the burden on foreign exchange reserves besides conserving the water and energy. He informed that a food security unit was also established in the university for research and development activities in order to promote the agri-sector of the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Planning Commission on Food Security member Dr Mubbarak Ali said that due to inefficient crop production system the cost of produces were higher.
Dr Mubbarak Ali said main reason behind high cost of production was inefficient use of inputs like fertilisers, pesticides and innovative technology for crop producing. He said government has first time took initiative in its Vision 2025 and set a target to reduce food security from 60 percent to 30 percent and introduce zero hunger programme.
To develop the local agri-sector, he said regulatory framework was also introduced and approved seed amendment bill to produce quality seeds. He said that the government has also set a target to enhance investment in agriculture sector from 0.8% of the GDP to 1% of the GDP and making the research system more responsive.