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
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