Pace of agri development in country is slow


Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW), said on Friday that the nation’s agricultural growth is progressing slowly and needs improvement.
He said the lack of water would impact the Kharif harvest, hitting many crops, including the most important cotton crop. Protecting agriculture and farming communities from the effects of climate change is very important; therefore, he demanded it should be given due importance.
In a statement issued here today, Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the population growth is very fast while the overall economic development including the agricultural growth rate is disappointing.
He said that climate change must be handled correctly, as it affects agricultural production and millions of farmers. He remarked that the country has been facing drought for the last several years due to a lack of rain and mismanagement, which has affected production.
Cotton is the most important crop among the affected crops, and it employs millions of farmers and workers in textile mills. During the Kharif harvest, the water shortage has been estimated to be 30 to 35%, which must affect the crops and farmers’ income.
There will be less water for crops; even the big landowners will steal water, leaving nothing for the small farmers. Dr Murtaza Mughal said that the Kharif crops include sugarcane, rice, cotton, bajra, jowar, maize, sesamum, turmeric, chilies, groundnut, soybean, safflower, and sunflower, and a reduction in output will hit farmers and trigger inflation.
The cotton production will be reduced, and cotton will have to be imported, wasting valuable foreign exchange. Through good water management practices, production can be increased despite water shortage.