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Agricultural sector needs attention

Agricultural sector needs attention

The nation was expecting a sharp increase in the Pakistan’s exports after the European Union granted GSP Plus Status to the country. Instead, it has been recorded a drastic downfall of 14.4 percent in exports during the current fiscal year. The exports of Bangladesh have increased by 8 percent during the same period. However, the economists still believe that Pakistan has the potential to increase its exports if it concentrates on the agricultural sector and increases per acre yield by shifting to hybrid seeds and modern technology.The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council is now introducing hybrid maize seeds in the agriculture sector in a bit to get quality yield. This will not only cater to the needs of the nutritious food for the countrymen, but will also help export the excess yields. For the purpose, the Pakistani institutions will have to collaborate with agricultural organizations of the developed countries to get skill and technology.

At the moment, the country’s farmers need to know modern production practices for the major crops, including wheat, maize, rice, livestock, fruits and vegetables. Pakistan is a major producer of rice, pulse, citrus fruit and milk in the world, but the people associated with agriculture sector mostly depend on the traditional methods. The country needs the varieties of maize which could resist drought and heat stresses with enhanced nutritional quality. The crops should also have the quality to resist insect attacks. However, benefits of technology could not be availed unless a corporate culture is introduced in the agriculture sector. Modern factories can be established in rural areas to process food and beverage not only to fulfill the food demands of the country, but also for exports. The cotton and textile sector has been battered by unfavourable circumstances and incessant energy crisis. The lack of incentives for the investors and harsh and complex tax system adds insult to injury.

The government officials often blame the economic slowdown in the United States, the European Union and the Middle East, which are the major export markets of the country, for declining trends in exports. But exports from China, India and Bangladesh have increased many fold during the slowdown period. It means some home factors are more responsible for decline in exports than the foreign factors. And the most pressing issue confronting the country’s industry is shortage of electricity. Electricity is also expensive in the country as compare to the countries in the region and which are competitors in the international market. If the government wants to improve exports, it will have to encourage investors to take interest in the agriculture sector, which has huge business potentials.