Chairman of National Business Group of FPCCI, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said agriculture is the most important sector of the economy which is being ignored for decades.
Food security and employment is linked to this important sector, therefore, it deserves attention and modernisation, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the share of agriculture was 53 percent at the time of partition which has now slipped to 19 percent.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the largest industrial sector of textile as well as important sectors like sugar, beverages, fertilizer, chemical, tractor manufacturing and agricultural tools etc. are lined to agriculture.
Moreover, 53 percent income is generated in the country through trade in agricultural products, it adds 42 percent value to the transport sector, provides 30 percent employment and 39 percent boost to GDP directly and indirectly.
This sector is also behind 34 percent exports and 30 percent private investment while one percent increase in this sector boost overall GDP by 0.4 percent but it has been ignored since decades while mega projects, highways and power generation were preferred.
Agriculture witnessed a lift during 60s, 80s and 90s after which it was overlooked resulting in continued fall since the last five years while the nation is paying the price for the wrong decisions.
The area under cultivation has not been increased since 2013-14, the number of tube wells is stagnant since 2014-15, and application of urea has increased by mere 1.7 percent since 2014.15 while population and demand have jumped substantially.
Agriculture can be developed with the help of corporate farming and the provision of cheap inputs and quality seed, good pesticides, cheap loans etc.