During the course of my research work on both volumes of Economics of
Agricultural Industry in Pakistan, I was wonder struck to see the vast potential
which the Pakistani Agriculture has in terms of offer employment opportunities
and being a source of precious foreign exchange. It is with a view to attracting
the attention of the policy makers who are comfortably perched in the
Agricultural establishment with no urgency to tap the potential of this sector;
I decided to write a detailed account of all sectors of agriculture highlighting
their brief history, strengths and weaknesses besides offering solutions. I have
also compared and contrasted the state of Pakistani agriculture with that of
neighbouring countries where necessary only to bring home the need to give
undivided policy attention to this most-neglected sector of our economy.
Following the skyrocketing food prices, a trend likely to stay in the
international market coupled with the prospect of global food shortages, the
countries expected to be hit hard by food crisis have devised strategies to deal
with the looming threat in a proactive manner. One of the major policy
prescriptions explored by these countries is to 'own' fertile lands in the third
world countries like Pakistan under the garb of 'joint agricultural ventures'
and 'corporate farming'. Shorn of verbiage, this policy of 'land-grab' is
pregnant with lethal implications for our state and society if collusion between
the ruling elite and so-called foreign investors is allowed to take its course.
It spells disaster for the less privileged sections of society whose association
with the agriculture sector runs through many generations.
Pakistan does not afford to remain dependent on foreign largesse and aid for
running its economy. The easy solution available with the successive political
and military administrations is to enter into clichéd ‘Structural Adjustment and
Stabilization Programme’ with the International Monetary Fund aimed at creating
breathing space. It is a different matter that the cost of entering into such
programmes has been huge to the detriment of common man. There have been little
realization and willingness in the Pakistani officialdom to undertake
broad-based economic reforms with a view to fixing the fundamentals of economy.
The shoddy economic management under General (r) Pervez Musharraf sums up and
represents the dilemmas and lack of vision of our successive economic managers
who have always chosen to worship at the altar of IMF and World Bank.
I am of the considered opinion that solution to Pakistan's economic problems
lies not outside but inside. Unless we adopt economic self-sufficiency as the
defining theme and central plank of our economic policy-making, we cannot move
forward on the ladder of progress and prosperity. This highlights the importance
of agriculture as a panacea of our economic worries. The economic edifice built
up on the foundation-stone of strong agriculture has the potential to steer us
out of our unchartered waters. This indeed is the purpose of this book.
I take this opportunity to thank Dr Ehsan Ullah for writing a foreword of second
volume of this book. I am also grateful to Mr Amanat Ali Chaudhry and M Farooq
Rana for helping me during the review and printing of this book.
Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri