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KARACHI: Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan and President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum Mian Zahid Hussain has said a new wheat crisis has begun to emerge which must be addressed immediately.

Government should immediately spring into action because if left unmanaged, this crisis can result in some serious issues, he said, adding that experts are expressing fear of a lower than expected wheat crop and such a shortfall cannot be ignored. He said that the issue if left unaddressed it will result in unrest and chaos in the country.

He said that wheat has been cultivated on about 80% of agricultural land in Pakistan since the 1970s but demand could not be met while the annual wheat crisis has become a permanent problem.

The area under cultivation is being now reduced while the cost of fertilizer, seeds, diesel and other items, and poor quality of many inputs is creating problems.

He said that hoarders and smugglers of wheat have also become a threat to food security, besides the increasing population coupled with low productivity.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that our land is very fertile, we have the best canal system in the world and the area under cultivation is the fourth largest in the world, but our per acre yield of wheat is 15 percent less than neighbouring India and 20 percent less than the world average.

Steps should be taken to increase per acre yield so that the nation can get rid of the problem of insufficient staple food, he said, adding that the whole world is taking steps to increase the production of wheat, rice and other essential crops but per acre production in Pakistan has not increased, significantly.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that in order to ensure food security it is necessary to increase wheat production by at least 3% per acre per annum; otherwise, the challenge of food security will become a serious problem and precious foreign exchange will have to be spent on importing wheat.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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