The recent food crisis has drawn our attention to the lack of coherent agricultural policy in Pakistan. It is unfortunate that despite being blessed with fertile land, hard working people and all four seasons conducive for cultivation, the country faced acute wheat shortage sparking off violent responses in a few places. For an agrarian economy like Pakistan’s, shifting the focus back on agriculture through greater realization of its potential in meeting preconditions for economic development remains a major challenge. Kuznets’ classic analysis about the role of agriculture applies truly to the Pakistani landscape.
Firstly, increased attention through formulation of policy framework would result in providing surplus labour to industry and other sectors of the economy. Secondly, it can be instrumental in supplying food to the non-agricultural labour force and agricultural raw materials for the industry. At a time when there is all the more need to locate sources for increasing our exports, the export of agricultural raw material can come in handy. Thirdly, it can provide savings and capital resources for the development of industry and other economic sectors. Fourthly, it can earn precious foreign exchange needed for industrialization, infrastructural and other investment projects. Fifthly, it can provide a market and demand for the goods and services produced by the non-agricultural sectors.
It is in this background that Hussain Mohi-ud-Din Qadri’s book entitled Economics of Agricultural Industry in Pakistan (Vol. 1) forms an excellent contribution. The chief quality of the book is that it undertakes industry-wise analysis of the various branches of agriculture by identifying problems and making suggestions to overcome the problems in addition to the statement of potential contribution a particular industry could make. His main contention that is discernible throughout the book revolves around the idea of making agriculture the linchpin of our economic development.
Another prominent aspect of the work is that the author has employed scientific approach characterized by collection of data, analysis of data and reaching the conclusions in an objective way. He has also beautifully used graphs and exhibits to highlight the salient points in a pithy style.
I am sure that this book would be of equal interest not only for general readers, students of discipline but also for academicians and policy makers.
(Dr Rashid Ahmad)
Professor Department of Crop Physiology
University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
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