KARACHI: Society for Environmental Actions, Re- Construction and Humanitarian (SEARCH) Pakistan, Action Aid Pakistan, SHPC, We-Journalist, Bhandar Sangat, HANDS, SPO, Arts Foundation, AMRDO, IFF, IRADO, SCF, ISC, SDS, CIDP, NDS, ARD, AWARE, HRCP, experts from SAU Tando Jam and Sindh Agriculture Department have jointly established the People’s Network on Food & Agriculture (PNFA).
The network is aimed at advocating for introducing sustainable agriculture policy for Sindh, providing people right to food and bringing agrarian reforms, says SEARCH Pakistan chief Waheed Jamali in a statement on Sunday.
“PNFA was founded on two shared, integrated, and equal priorities. These are to support, build, develop, and engage the grassroots of sustainable agriculture for the health and vitality of the sustainable agriculture movement; and to research, develop, and advocate provincial and federal policies relating to farm, food, and environmental issues, appropriations, and implementation to support and advance sustainable agriculture,” Jamali said.
He said that there was need to introduce sustainable agriculture policy for Sindh and ensure its implementation through the Sindh government. “Sindh is running without any agriculture policy which is great loss to the farmers and growers.
“Due to no agriculture policy in Sindh, the sale of spurious fertilizer and pesticides is on the rise while un-certified seeds are being sold to farmers, which are very harmful to the agriculture sector and farmers”, Jamali said.
He stressed the need to stop sale of spurious fertilizer and pesticides, and urged farmers community to use certified seeds and avoid massive use of fertilizer destroying agriculture lands of Sindh.
He said agriculture is the mainstay of the Pakistan economy, which contributes 21.4 percent of GDP, employs 45 percent of the country’s labour force and contributes to the growth of other sectors of the economy.
Jamali said: “The healthy expansion in agriculture stimulates domestic demand for industrial goods and other services and supplying raw material to agro-based industry notably cotton textile industry which is the largest subsector of manufacturing sector. The government under paradigm of the new growth strategy envisioned to enhance growth in agriculture sector by facilitating agriculture productivity sustainable environment, increasing competitiveness in agriculture marketing and trade by providing friendly climate for more investment in the sector.”
He said overall agriculture development strategy revolves to foster private sector-led development with public sector providing enabling environment through policy interventions and play capacity building role to improve agriculture related practices. Poverty and food security issues are closely linked to land. Some 20.9 million hectares of land (26% of the country) is cultivated, of which 76% is irrigated by a vast network of canals, dams and barrages of Indus River System.
He said that it was irony that 50.8 % of rural households in the country were landless while the poverty amongst rural landless people was high. Several organizations are working for brining agrarian reforms but work in this regard is still not effective, hence, there is dire need to work with concrete measures to ensure stainable agriculture policy for Sindh, he added.
“This policy will help provide small loans to farmers, ensure provision of sustainable subsidies and provide knowledge about use of result-oriented agriculture inputs. It will also ensure larger crop productions, food security, incentives to farmers besides stimulating economic progress of Sindh,” Jamali concluded.
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