Friday March 31, 2023

Measures stressed to overcome food crisis

By Our Correspondent
January 20, 2023

LAHORE: There is no natural crisis or scarcity of food grains in the country. It is incompetence of the provincial governments and inappropriate and irresponsible anti-farmer policy which causes food shortages and food inflation. Pakistan needs to follow developed countries’ model for agriculture and economic growth. All political parties need to make a joint national policy.

These views were expressed by the speakers at Jang Economic Session on ‘Doubts of food shortage - how to bring out agriculture sector from crisis’. The panelists were Saluhuddin Ayubi, Hussain Ahmed Sherazi, Salman Rizvi and Abad-ur-Rehman. The session was moderated by Sikindar Lodhi.

Saluhuddin Ayubi said fear for wheat shortage and inflation becomes a reality after floods while food grains scarcity and inflation are disturbing the economic situation in the country. Food inflation affected the public rights. Majority of the population lives in rural areas and food shortages and inflation are increasing there. Pakistan needs long-term decision based on policies. Agriculture is also a business which needs to be taken forward, he said.

Hussain Ahmed Sherazi said that flour shortage becomes a reality while the poor are dying in lines to buy flour. Unequal distribution of food grains is the problem which could not be resolved without overcoming the current political chaos. Every sector is most difficult situation. The landlord has land but is not interested in growing grains and the poor do not have the facilities, so it is necessary to improve the agricultural sector by abolishing the feudalism.

Pakistan is in a dire need of agrarian reforms as

the country could not grow on current economic policies. There is no implementation of the existing policies.

Salman Rizvi said wheat shortage is a national problem. Half of the country land is uncultivable. There is a need to revise wheat procurement policy and impose a ban on its exports and discourage smuggling. Afghans living in Punjab and Sindh are directly buying wheat and smuggling it into Afghanistan which is not in the interest of the country. The politics on wheat and food should be stopped, he said.

Abad-ur-Rehman said food crisis was man-made. No new technology was introduced in agriculture for the last two decades. Pakistan is the 6th largest populated country in the world. It needs serious planning to run it. An agriculture national policy should be made to run the sector. Subsidy on wheat should be targeted. Hoarders store wheat due to price difference between Punjab and Sindh and then manipulate it. Food issues need to be solved on a priority, he said.