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LAHORE: Roughly one-quarter of the Earth’s terrestrial surface is now under cultivation with more land converted to crop production in the 30 years after 1950 than in the previous 150 years. While in many regions - including Europe, North America, Australia and recently Brazil, China and India humanity has also become skilful at raising yields through using inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and organic manures.

Chairman of Pakistan Hi-Tech Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA) Shahzad Ali Malik said this while talking to a delegation of progressive farmers led by Momin Ali here on Saturday.

He said agriculture plays a crucial role in the economy of developing countries and is the main source of food, income and employment for the rural population. The share of the agricultural population in the total populace is 67% while it accounts for 39.4% of the GDP and 43% of all exports consist of agricultural goods.

He said, “In much of sub-Saharan Africa and large parts of Asia - according to estimates compiled by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) - almost no highly productive land is left. However, improvements in agriculture and land use are fundamental to achieving food security, poverty alleviation and overall sustainable development.” He said Agriculture in the United States is becoming increasingly trade-oriented and trade-sensitive. Agricultural trade issues are seen to be much more complex now compared to earlier days. He said the United States was the largest agricultural exporter.

Shahzad Ali Malik said agriculture is the backbone of the national economy of Pakistan which he added now must be strengthened on modern scientific lines for achieving food autarky by using the latest means of technology for bumper crops. He said entire arable land be brought under plough and the use of hi-tech hybrid seeds must be made mandatory by claiming a complete ban on non-certified seeds across the country.

He said the government must encourage the private sector to help evolve new varieties of hi-tech hybrid seeds for cotton, sugar cane and other crops. He said Guard Agricultural Research and service Division first time in Pakistan’s history in the private sector successfully evolved hi-tech hybrid rice with the collaboration of a Chinese company.

He said now it’s high time to focus on the promotion of the agriculture sector in the wake year-long Russia-Ukraine conflict which disrupted the global supply chain and also badly hit the fragile economies of developing countries including Pakistan. Concluding he said Pakistan is blessed with plenty of natural resources and deposits which must be fully exploited through good governance coupled with wisdom-based prudent decisions in the larger national interests.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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