Environment & Next Green Revolution

May 18th, 2014 | By | Category: Livelihood, Pakistan

PAKISTAN will have to cater for its population growth to meet the challenges of food security in the light of the serious environmental changes that are coming through. Sind has never had hailstorms and the kinds of rains that it has had. Pakistan may well need and evergreen revolution. The future of agriculture will depend on innovative policies and a growing work force in agriculture. The old obsolete human resources will never be able to cater for what is coming. Time has never been on the side of the developing countries like Pakistan but when it comes to knowledge even that stands depleted. The human resource base does not cater for innovation but is based on plagiarism and copy cat interventions. I said this to a friend of mine who ostensibly was a relative to the Federal minister. He was disgusted that I had not praised the federal minister. Needless to say I lost a friend.

Pakistan time and again has been subjected to the vagaries of food insecurity. Why? Agriculture has not been taken seriously. The policy issues that are thought to be important for Pakistan do not include anything for the rural areas. The wise men of Pakistan think that what cannot be grown in Pakistan can always be imported. That is what Pakistan is doing without realizing that a great disservice is being done to the farmers. Since productivity is not going to grow the farmers will have to be given more of the available barren land so that there will at least be some kind of production. Productivity is not an easy lesson to learn where dogma and doctrinaire are functional in ego oriented policy makers. In any case any shortfall that will occur and that will lead to inflation does not worry them. They are all well heeled. Given their incomes or their rentals they are not a worry to any of them. Farm outputs may not be increasing because of excessive chemical inputs. These inputs have been toxic to the soils and in any case these have not lead to any food security. Despite excessive inputs the productivity has not increased. The reasons for are pretty much obvious but the policy makers are blind to it. Pakistan’s agrarian structure does not accept the influence of the west for its implementation as there are over 60% farmers that are below three acres. In the current scenario it is meaningless to talk of small farmers as less than 12.5 acres. The fragmentation that has come about will be furthered given our Mohammadan law of inheritance.

So what are the options? The west will tell us that land degradation and desertification are serious issues. Yes they are but for the west and not for the east. The wisdom of the east has been shown by China and they have successfully converted the Gobi desert in to agriculture productive areas. Cotton, rice and other horticulture crops are grown over there. So Pakistan can learn from China. We did and we can. But we need eyes that can perceive and cognitive ability that can implement such policies. These are not easy matters. For with every new innovation there is a need for an institutional change or modification. One of Pakistan’s biggest issues is the inability to translate policies in to actionable programs. Admittedly that is a difficult art and the requirement is for a person that understands and can play his abilities with his exponential experience.

China has done it and the reasons are many. Their ability to discipline themselves the population is dedicated to managing their resources well and in keeping with their country requirement. The leadership itself is not only honest but answerable to the polit-bureau. I had been there many times since 1970s and witnessed their commitment to the national cause. They were always a jump ahead of all nations that I had seen. The Chinese do not re-act but pro-act; meaning that they are in the thick of things and want to be ahead of times.

Pakistan’s choice is now to ensure food security and for that they will have to go to marginal and fragile areas. Chagi was indicated as a possible area for furthering food security. Chaggi district is bigger than KPK and there were substantial land and water resources there. The problem was that no one wanted to go there and work. The agriculturists want to work in their back gardens and do not have the will to live up to their jobs. Pakistan’s poverty problems have been excessive. The poverty pockets are not only in the fragile and marginal areas but also now in the Punjab and in the urban slums. What policy makers do not understand is that when the poor driven to the walls and are deprived of everything that makes for sane living they will resort to the kinds of social evils which the government and the law enforcing agencies are trying to eradicate in Karachi. Since the underlying causes due to which we have a deprived and depraved population are not being addressed therefore there is little hope of removing this by force. In an 11 month operation thousands have been arrested and the killing goes on. The blood is still being shed. Hope will only emerge when the root causes are eliminated. All this talk of same page and same table or under one roof are meaningless statements made by the media. These get together do not help. Experience of former East Pakistan is very relevant. Force aggravates the issues and the problems get worse.

How can you have an evergreen revolution that forces the deprived and the depraved to be part of the nation? Well that is done by unselfish leaders. Where are we going to get. All our leaders are weak in the ears and listen to all and sundry without verifying facts. The one hope of PTI delivering has also waned of late. All our political leaders suffer from loyalty factor. They want to be praised rather than be analyzed. So nothing new will ever come out of this kind of a political system. It requires a different set up that is based on population requirements and not jack pot politics in which the perception is that the powerful are only there to fill their pockets.

The perception that is being furthered is critical as perception is more dangerous than reality. The relevance of East Pakistan is before us. That sort of relevance is also coming up in Baluchistan. It may be more difficult to remove perceptions than facts that can be corrected. Power after all is only a trust. Use it wisely and the world is yours.

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