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May 6, 2020

Alarms raised over declining agriculture GDP

Business

May 6, 2020

KARACHI: Raising concerns over the declining agriculture gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, industry officials on Tuesday urged the authorities to revive the sector to its true potential.

“The performance of agriculture sector has declined … since its devolvement to provinces; numbers are not satisfactory and couldn’t contribute well in our GDP growth ...,” said Ahmad Jawad, former chairman Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Standing Committee on Agriculture, in a statement.

“If we look towards leading economies like India, USA, Brazil, Israel, China etc, agriculture is a federal subject there.”

In this regard a pro-farmer enabling environment was imperative to make Pakistan’s agriculture sector globally competitive for that agriculture should be back to Federal Government.

After the devolution, he said, food and agriculture were predominantly provincial subjects, while food security and exports a federal subject; however, it was difficult to implement food security when food matters were not in your hands.

About 68 percent of the population was engaged in farming directly or indirectly through production, processing and distribution of major agriculture commodities, Jawad said adding that nobody could deny the importance of agriculture in national economy, as it contributed about 21 percent to the national GDP.

Mehmood Nawaz Shah, senior vice president Sindh Abadgar Board, told The News that agriculture had fully devolved, and all functions were now under the control of provinces. “They can fix the prices of commodities, decide about the matters of vegetable and fruit markets and decide about agriculture import and export.”

However, he added the provincial government had failed to respond towards devolvement of agriculture department. “No one knows about the provincial GDP of agriculture. We are commercial farmers and we do not have emotional attachment with any government whether it is provincial or federal,” he said.