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LAHORE: Various farmers’ organizations have termed the year 2021 as nothing new despite having good yield of different crops because high yield could not ensure good financial return to the grower.

‘Agriculture cannot be made a business of profit for the growers unless we have a long term solid seed or fertilizer policy, introduction of latest technology and ensure minimum support price in some of the crops,’ said Farmers Bureau of Pakistan (FBP) President Dr Zafar Hayyat while talking to Business Recorder here on Saturday.

Dr Zafar said that rice or corn had good production during the ongoing year just because area under cultivation increased while cotton witnessed some good price. However, he said that rice and corn growers could not have good price of their crop. ‘We must not consider the price being received by the industrialist or stockiest. Prices should be higher at the time of harvesting adding to the prosperity of its grower,’ he added.

Agriculture Republic Co-Founder Aamer Hayat Bhandara said overall performance of the sector was satisfactory as production in 2021. It grew by 2.77 percent against the target of 2.8 percent. Rice made a good contribution in the national economy and now the wheat cultivation is underway in the Rabi season and the government with the consultation of the provincial government had fixed the wheat production target of 28.89 million tons against last year production target of 27.5 million tons.

He further said despite of the good production year crop farmers had to face some severe problems in context of the input supply from expensive DAP to hoarding of urea and the fluctuating yet comparatively higher prices of diesel. He said there was a possibility to face the productivity loss of the Rabi crops due to the disrupted supply chains of inputs particularly the DAP and the urea. Increased prices of the electricity and inputs as well as late and less support price of wheat not only challenged the crop decision making of farmer but also the farm operations and utilization of the manpower in rural labour, he added.

Pakistan has a potential to meet not only its own requirement but also to serve as the regional leader to export different commodities around the globe but the world is moving towards digital and smart farming and Pakistan has still not been able to cope its challenge of poor mechanization across the country.

Now there is a chance to design policies for upcoming years to digitize the sector by connecting the Pakistani villages to the world with the power of connectivity leading the sector to the most advanced, mechanized and artificially intelligent sector.

“Year 2022 should be declared as the year of Digital Agriculture for Pakistan, leave all the sectors aside and invest in this single sector and its allied sectors. This single sector with its sub-sectors i.e., dairy, livestock, fishers etc can generate more than 100 million jobs for Pakistan in a very short span of time,” Aamer concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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