Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig (Medal of Imtiaz/Order of Merit):
In the 1960s, there was an agricultural revolution in the world, due to which there was a great increase in agricultural production at the global level, and especially developing countries revolutionized the agricultural sector through modern technology, the benefits of which also benefited Pakistan, and the country had a record agricultural production.
Produced. Allah Ta’ala has given us fertile land, four seasons and hardworking farmers. Pakistan, which is an agricultural country with the largest canal and irrigation system in the world, became an exporter of wheat, cotton, rice and other agricultural commodities in the world in addition to being self-sufficient in agricultural commodities.
We were ranked 4th in the world in cotton production, 5th in mango, 6th in onion, 8th in wheat, 10th in rice, 18th in potato and 20th in maize production, but due to the poor policies of the successive governments, Fake seeds and medicines, lack of focus on research and development (R&D), global warming i.e. untimely rains due to climate change, damage to agriculture due to floods due to melting of glaciers due to temperature rise, wrong decisions in crop selection, cotton.
The cultivation of sugarcane on the lands and the construction of housing societies on the agricultural lands have badly destroyed our strength in the agricultural sector, which is mainly due to the research of new seeds and not adopting the modern requirements of the world in agriculture. while other countries in the region have surpassed us in production per acre by using new seeds and technology.
The share of agriculture sector in the country’s economy has reduced to barely 23% and we have become a “trading state”. By neglecting the agriculture sector, which is the backbone of the country’s economy, today Pakistan is forced to import billions of dollars instead of being self-sufficient in agricultural commodities. Last year, Pakistan imported only wheat worth one billion dollars. Apart from this, edible oil worth 4.5 billion dollars and tea worth 600 million dollars have been imported annually.
Cotton production in the country has come down from 12 million bales to barely 5 million bales last year which has badly affected our textile industry. We do not have dollars to import cotton and we cannot import cotton from the Wagah border due to the ban on India-Pakistan trade due to which there has been a clear decrease in textile exports.
I have been emphasizing on the revival of agriculture sector in my previous columns and I am happy that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Army Chief General Asim Munir recently announced the “Green Pakistan” (GPI) project, which in the next 5 years An investment of 40 to 50 billion dollars is expected in Pakistan, while 4 million people will get employment opportunities and the country’s economy will improve in the next 2 years.
According to the Prime Minister, the Gulf countries are ready to invest in the Green Pakistan project. Federal ministers, provincial chief ministers, chief secretaries, agricultural experts, ambassadors of various countries and foreign investors participated in the Green Pakistan launch event.
The Prime Minister described the Green Pakistan project, which can rightly be called the agricultural revolution, as the vision of Army Chief General Asim Munir, while General Asim Munir called it an important step in the fields of agriculture and livestock to make Pakistan green.
Millions of acres of barren land will be brought under cultivation by providing modern farming methods and facilities to the farmers, which will not only meet the food needs of Pakistan but also export the surplus wheat and in this regard Army Chief General Asim recently Munir inaugurated the first “Model Agricultural Farm” in Khanewal under Green Pakistan project, which is using modern technology and satellite system.
A few years ago, the delegation of FPCCI’s Pak-UAE Business Council, which I was representing, met Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade of the UAE, in the UAE. My delegation included leading exporters of agricultural commodities and rice.
Sheikha Lubna expressed her interest in providing food security to the Gulf countries of Pakistan and suggested that due to its agricultural capabilities, Pakistan can supply us with agricultural commodities and animal fodder on a regular basis, for which the Gulf countries Ready to take agricultural land in Pakistan.
I presented their proposal to the then Federal Minister of Commerce, but due to some technical problems hindering the export of agricultural products, we could not reach an agreement with the Gulf countries, but now the Gulf countries are very interested in the Green Pakistan project and they are investing. Apart from making millions of acres of land cultivable, there are also buyers of crops produced from it.
It is our good fortune that the government has announced an important policy to bring green revolution in the country and export agricultural commodities to the Gulf countries under the Green Pakistan project, on which our political and military leadership is united.
Pakistan Army Chief General Asim Munir is determined to make Pakistan “Green Pakistan” once again. I am confident that Army Chief General Asim Munir can make the country an agro-industrial Pakistan under the Special Investment Council (SIFC) and Green Pakistan (GPI) created by the Prime Minister, which was the dream of the father of the nation.