The economic crisis in Pakistan is increasing despite being an agricultural country and self-sufficient in wheat.

Though different agriculture commodities such as wheat, cotton, pulses, sugar, edible oil, spices, dried fruits, milk, tea and other are imported from abroad, therefore, for the development of the country, the quality of agricultural production has to be brought in line with the global requirements.

Addressing the ceremony of distribution and training of pulses seeds and agricultural inputs to local farmers in joint collaboration of Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) and Australian Center for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR), Dr. Fateh Marri, Vice Chancellor said that Developed countries are constantly engaged in research to dealing with food security, climate change issue, increase yields per acre and to save people from starvation.

“While we are an agricultural country, we are forced to import agricultural and food items from abroad,” he said,

Adding that the country’s trade deficit was 31.1 billion in FY2021 and imports were 56.505 billion, if we improve our agricultural production and produce according to world standards and do more research in this regard, we can reduce the import bill of many products including wheat, cotton, sugar, tomatoes, milk, pulses, spices, tea.

Dr Marri said food imports during the last fiscal year were 6.13 billion, including 1.9 billion on edible oil and 2.05 billion on other food products. He said that according to the data released by the Pakistan Statistics Department, the import of pulses alone has increased by 1.23 million tones. He suggested that governments should invest in it and encourages research for agricultural development.

Prof. Dr. Qamaruddin Chachar, Dean, Faculty of Crop Production, said that the Sindh Agriculture University would provide technical assistance to farmers in pulses cultivation.

Dr. Aijaz Ahmed Soomro, Sindh Focal Person of Pulses Project in Pakistan and Chairman of Agronomy Department, said that pulses are in demand in the country and abroad, including gram, pea and lentil, in the past there was different pulses crops, but sugarcane, banana, wheat and other crops have now taken its place, due to which the demand for pulses in the country is not being met, the project would help farmers to cultivate pulses on their farms.

Dr Mahmooda Buriro and others also spoke on the occasion. Dr. Aijaz Ali Khooharo, Dr. Neaimatullah Leghari, Dr. Jan Muhammad Marri, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, Dr. Aijaz Soomro, Dr. Qamaruddin Jogi, Dr. Shaukat Ibrahim Abro, Director Finance Anil Kumar, Registrar Ghulam Mohiyuddin Qureshi, along with a large number of university teachers, Farmers and students attended.

In last the Vice Chancellor distributed seeds, medicines and other essential items among the farmers while the farmers of different areas including Khesana Mori were also given training on cultivation and maintenance of pulses.

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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