LAHORE: Roughly a quarter of the Earth’s land area 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 more recently Brazil, China and India, humanity has also become adept at raising yields through the use of inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides and organic manure.
This was said by Pakistan High Tech Hybrid Seeds Association (PHHSA) President Shahzad Ali Malik while talking to a delegation of progressive farmers led by Momin Ali here on Saturday.
He said that agriculture plays a key role in the economy of developing countries and is the main source of food, income and employment for the rural population. The participation of the agricultural population in the total population is 67%, while it represents 39.4% of the GDP and 43% of the total export consists of agricultural products.
He said: “Much of sub-Saharan Africa and large parts of Asia – according to estimates compiled by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) – have almost no highly productive land. However, improvements in agriculture and land use are fundamental to achieving food security, poverty reduction and overall sustainable development.” He said agriculture in the United States is becoming increasingly trade-oriented and trade-sensitive. Agricultural trade issues are now much more complex compared to earlier days. He said that the United States is the largest exporter of agricultural products.
Shahzad Ali Malik said that agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan’s national economy, which he added must now be strengthened on modern scientific lines to achieve food autarky by using the latest means of crop technology. He said that all arable land would be brought under the plow and the use of hi-tech hybrid seeds must be made mandatory by demanding a complete ban on uncertified seeds across the country.
He said the government must encourage the private sector to help develop new varieties of high-tech hybrid seeds for cotton, sugarcane and other crops. He said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan in the private sector, the Agricultural Research and Service Corps has successfully evolved a high-tech hybrid rice with the cooperation of a Chinese company.
He said now is the high time to focus on improving the agricultural sector during the year-long conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has disrupted the global supply chain and also badly hit the fragile economies of developing countries, including Pakistan. Concluding, he said that Pakistan is blessed with many natural resources and deposits which must be fully utilized through good governance along with wisdom based wisdom in larger national interests.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023