Steps demanded to free agriculture from mafias.

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The chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President of Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance Mian Zahid Hussain, and former provincial minister said on Wednesday that the agricultural sector is very important for the country’s economy. He said necessary measures and legislation are needed to remove it from the control of different types of mafias. 

Mian Zahid Hussain said that important decisions should not be kept secret so that the opinions of experts, farmers, and consumers on the pros and cons can be revealed before their implementation. 

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that agriculture’s share of the country’s GDP is 23%, employment is more than 37%, and seventy per cent of the country’s exports depend on this sector. This sector should not face a stepmotherly attitude from policymakers, as food security and exports are linked. 

The business leader said that loan sharks, profiteers, and hoarders have already damaged the critical agricultural sector, while the illegal import and sale of substandard seeds are also occurring. 

He added that fake pesticides are thriving, fertiliser prices are skyrocketing, and water availability is dwindling. Farmers do not get loans, which traps them in the clutches of loan sharks. Now, some politicians have also started interfering in the agricultural sector to make billions, and sometimes, people and sometimes farmers have to suffer for their greed.

The wealth of influential people increases by billions of rupees due to malpractices that must be stopped. 

Mian Zahid Hussain said that Punjab currently has 23 lakh tonnes of wheat, which has halved the procurement target yet to be started. As a result, many farmers have been forced to sell their produce at low prices. Now, the farmers have been forced to sell wheat using mobile applications, which has worried the illiterate farmers. 

He further said that Pakistan imports billions of dollars worth of agricultural products every year. If this huge amount is used to improve the country’s agriculture, then Pakistan will become a big producer of agricultural products. 

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that if farmers’ problems are not solved and the market remains unstable, many farmers will be attracted to other crops instead of wheat next year, which may cause food security problems. Punjab needs to take measures to instil confidence in farmers, he said.

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