Challenges to Agriculture and Recommendations:

Despite immense potential, the agricultural sector of Pakistan lacks efficiency and global competitiveness and the loss of efficiency is denting the country’s self-sufficiency in production of various farm goods.

Corresponding to the budget for agriculture & horticulture sector, a mainstay of Pakistan’s economy, production of various farm products has been very low if compared with the global benchmark.
Pakistan, once dubbed a ‘great bread basket’, is now struggling due to these factors, and has increasingly been becoming an importer of a large number of agri-commodities.

At the same time, Pakistan’s agricultural sector also faces larger post-harvest losses of 40pc, when compared with the global benchmark and this double blow low-output and high losses, diminishes the income of growers further.

Recommendations to Government:

The government should formulate ‘horticulture export policy’ on the pattern of textile policy in consultation with all stakeholders. Moreover, government should allocate funds for promoting hybrid seed industry in Pakistan under private-public partnership (PPP).

Further recommendations include setting up of different projects under private-public partnerships including cool chain infrastructure for the horticulture sector, food processing and value addition industry, agro-processing industry and accredited testing laboratories at horticulture production hubs to ensure availability of good quality produce for exports.

Government should also identify new export markets and sign protocols and agreements to remove bottlenecks for enhancing exports, besides a loan scheme for rural youths for promoting agriculture services should be introduced.

Funds should be allocated for Crop Insurance Scheme (CIS) for farmers of the areas affected by natural disasters/ calamities, wide-spread diseases and unpredictable weather conditions.