The draft of Agriculture and Food Security Policy made by Ministry of National Food Security and Research Pakistan needs to be amended for supporting vulnerable segment of society like small farmers, landless peasants and poor people, particularly women.
The draft, if approved, will not ensure any significant benefit to these vulnerable people passing life in miserable conditions in Pakistan.
The country will not make real progress if poverty is not alleviated and small farmers, laborers and poor are not given incentives because of the fact that supporting corporate sector only will create wide gap between power of people and rich class. History shows that supporting rich classes has always brought poverty and hunger in the world.
The policy contains a clause that the government resolves to achieve value added growth in the agriculture sector for both domestic and export markets. This shows that there is a clear priority towards commercialization of agriculture and privatization of land, which will be harmful for poor segment of the society. It is also a bid to boot corporate farming which is causing loss to poor farmers and laborers.
The corporate agriculture farming policies introduced by former President Pervez Musharraf must also be abolished.
There is also need to promote enhanced flow of credit to the agriculture sector without compromising financial stability. The interest-free small loans should be given to poor farmers so that they could grow cops and earn livelihood for their families. This will also boost economic progress of the country and lead it towards prosperity.
Experiences show that agricultural growth is usually not correlated with reduction of poverty. The draft does not focus on those who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition, while focus has only been laid on increasing food production. It is fact that only poor farmers and laborers work in agriculture field and contribute a lot of share to the economy. Hence there is need to alleviate poverty.
The Policy fails to incorporate farmer community leaders views in the draft which is condemnable act. The questions and choices put up in this survey are already biased.
There is a need to accept the choices given by FAO, containing the old paradigm of increasing yields and upgrading technology to ensure food security for all.
This approach does not reflect much of a human rights perspective. For example, the issue of land grabbing, and sustainable agriculture is not tackled. So in order to contribute in a meaningful way, to include the human rights approach, the already shared questionnaire is not useful. It is not at all clear how this could be achieved by applying what was mentioned before.
Big seed corporations like an American multinational company Monsanto are dominating the world and it is a problem that supply of improved seeds for major crops has grown rapidly particularly after adoption of the national seed policy in 1994.
Most seeds are provided by the private sector with a number of crops, such as maize, oilseeds and vegetable, relying heavily on imports. This problem needs to be tackled.