Pakistan & Srilanka-Trade and Investment Opportunities: Improving economic growth through agriculture
Contribution of agriculture towards economic development is considered a paradox around the world since rural populations are fast migrating towards the cities onthe face of sprawling urbanization. However, in Pakistan, more than 60% of population still lives in rural areas and majority of this population is dependent on agriculture for their daily income. This phenomenon puts agriculture at the heart of Pakistan’s economic growth agenda, as well as to ensure food security for the nation. Hence, the development and modernization of this sector has become crucially important.
Pakistan’s agriculture sectorfaces many challenges with lack of technological innovation identified as amajor one. The negative impact of these challenges is not only affecting our socio-economic paradigm but also threatening our environmental ecosystem, such as, depleting water resources and low-quality of seeds and farm inputs impeding crop yield which in turn is reducing the nation’s overall food security.In fact, Pakistan is standing at the opposite end of modern farming and much effort is required to change from this position.
Being one of the fastest growing fertilizer companies in Pakistan, Fatima Fertilizer fully acknowledges that without modernization of Pakistan’s agriculture sector and empowerment of its farmers, the Country’s economy shall never progress. Fatima Fertilizer has taken up the farmer’s cause and remains very active in bridging the gap between policy makers and farmers. Fatima Fertilizer has indulged in many initiatives to realize this mission ofupheaving farmer prosperity. It recently signed an MOU with CMEC (China Machinery Engineering Corporation) under CPEC to introduce precision farming in Pakistan through high tech machinery for farms. Fatima Fertilizer also partnered with CABI (Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International) under the Punjab Govt’s project, ‘Establishment of Model Farms’ to build capacity of our farmers so they are able to export their produce to international markets. Further more, in the research domain it has partnerships with all research institutes in Pakistan and has published research papers on latest crop production technologies for wheat, riceand potato. Fatima Fertilizer is also amember of a joint venture entity with Sapphire and Nishat textile, under the name of SANIFA, to introduce high yield hybrid cotton seed in Pakistan. Further more,it is working with the rice research institute to save 20% water consumption in rice by introducing the latest dry sowing methodology to farmers in Punjab; this saving in water will help the tail end cotton farmers of Sindh who find it difficult to meet their crop’s water requirements.
The concept of sustainable farming is a new concept in modern era, referring to the capacity of agriculture over time to contribute for overall welfare by providing sufficient food and other goods and services in ways that are economically efficient and profitable, socially responsible, while improving environmental quality. It is a concept that can have different implications interms of appropriate technologies whether it is viewed at the farm level, at the agri-food sector level, or in the context ofthe overall domestic or global economy.
Agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and the developed nations of the world, with reference to establishing information and capability sharing alliances, can help nourish and up lift the agriculture sector in Pakistan and at the end will bear fruits for all concerned. Also important is the required synergy between farmers and industry and the role of Government support, which is critically important to transform conventional farming into technology-based digital agriculture. Both the Government and industry need to spearhead this vision and empower the farmers to achieve desired economic growth and prosperity.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021