LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has underlined the need for adopting modern technologies in the agriculture sector in an effort to avoid post-harvest losses and enhance crop production.
In a statement issued on Thursday, LCCI President Abdul Basit, Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa and Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan stressed that Pakistan had extensive fertile land, but its agriculture sector was suffering because of various factors.
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“There is a dire need to add to the crop area as we cannot afford to stay where we are today in terms of crop area and per hectare yield because we are already running well short of per capita food availability,” they said.
Though almost 43% of Pakistan’s labour force depends on agriculture, the yield gap in four major crops is three times compared to best producers in the world such as China and Egypt.
The low yield has contributed to poverty in rural areas besides forcing the country to import agriculture produce to feed its population.
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The LCCI office-bearers said this should be an eye-opener that China produced two times more cotton and wheat per hectare and Egypt produced around three times more rice and sugarcane per hectare compared to Pakistan.
Factors that are recommended to improve the yield include large-scale introduction of hybrid seeds and mechanised farming, highly efficient irrigation systems such as drip irrigation and reduction in crop wastage through privately owned storage facilities and cold storage facilities.
They emphasised that Pakistan had a tremendous potential to emerge as biotechnology leader, but to achieve the goal, private sector, scientists, researchers and the government would have to work hand in hand.
They were of the view that Pakistan’s agriculture sector was losing heavily because of insufficient utilisation of biotechnology as magic progress of the sector could only be due to Genetically Modified (GM) crops.
The agriculture sector has always faced two major problems - production per acre is lower than many countries and around 40% of production is wasted post-harvest.
They suggested that federal and provincial governments should give special attention to promoting research and quality crops as green revolution was only possible through genetic engineering.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2017.
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