China has developed itself as a major farm producer even though it accounts for 10 percent of cultivable land world-wide it accommodates 20 percent of world food demand while comparing per hectare yields of Pakistan and China, Pakistan’s per hectare rice yield is 3.1 tons whereas China is the largest producer of rice with per hectare yield of 6.5 tons, similarly Pakistan produces pulses per year with per hectare yield of 0.6 ton and China produces 1.2 tons per hectare, which is twice above of Pakistan. Pakistan’s sugar cane production is 52.4 tons per hectare whereas China obtains a yield of 65.7 tons per hectare. Therefore, Chinese cultivation device is the best model to be enforced on the land of Pakistan in order to grapple with the upcoming expected food crises.
Pakistan’s yield per acre of gram has dropped by 50 percent from 5 maunds per acre to 2.5 maunds per acre, according to Agri-Forum Pakistan data. Pakistan is much behind to the regional as well as global yields per acreage in nearly all crops including wheat, rice, sugarcane and pulses. The Agri-Forum report added that while Pakistan is one of the ten major producers of wheat in the world, around 24 million tons, with 24.5 to 25 million tons of total output yet our per acre yield is only 2.6 tons per hectare while India’s yield is 2.8 tons and China’s 4.7 tons per hectare. The highest wheat yield is in the United Kingdom at 7.7 tons per hectare.
Pakistan’s sugarcane yield per hectare is 52.4 tons in comparison to India’s 66.1 tons, which is the regional leader followed by China’s 65.7 tons per hectare and Bangladesh’s 43.8 tons per hectare. Brazil is the world leader at 79.2 tons per hectare. In coarse grains, Pakistan’s yield is 2.2 tons per hectare, India’s is lower at 1.2 tons per hectare and Italy has the highest yield at 7.6 tons per hectare. Pakistan’s yield for pulses is 0.6 tons per hectare, India’s per hectare yield is 0.7 tons, Bangladesh’s 0.9 tons per hectare and the highest yield in pulses is in the UK at 3.9 tons per hectare.
Pakistan, however, has the highest per acre yield of 21.6 tons per hectare in roots and tuber production, India’s yield is 20.6 tons per hectare, China’s 17.8 tons and Bangladesh 17.7 tons.
The high price of food items such as vegetables, chicken and meat further made the half of the population of country food insecure. About 50 percent of the population is taking fewer calories recognized for average human need. The current crisis would deteriorate if the government fails to come up with enlightened policy and decisions.
Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) stressed the need to increase agricultural yield through ‘eco-farming’ with the objective of diverting a food crisis. It recommended to the farmers to adopt the Chinese cultivation model which concentrate on hybrid seeds, better water management, an increased government role for ensuring effective safety and back mechanisms particularly constructing food grain reservoirs as well as public-private partnership to overcome the food crisis.
The President of PCJCCI stated eco-farming has facilitated the Chinese government to guaranteed food safety, health benefits, and export opportunities and as per analysts the adoption of organics has assisted in slowing down the movement of rural labor to cities. He also stated for the other environment-friendly techniques in-use in China: for example, increasing rice yields through duck farming in which ducks are raised on rice paddies and fed on pests and weeds and in addition the farmer has no need to use fertilizers as duck droppings are an excellent fertilizer.
There are number of studies on farm models pushed by numerous researchers and submitted to provincial governments for execution, however, the yield disproportion between the rich and poor farmers remains and government interruption in terms of support price has simply increased the output of one crop at the cost of another.
The government should allot land to locals in alliance with Chinese to obtain farm productivity on the same pattern as Chinese are doing. Corporate farming trend should be introduced to compensate rising inflation and high input prices through which agricultural productivity can be accelerated. Co-operative society model could be introduced under specialized technical support with Chinese cooperation through national productivity organization in Pakistan where people can join hands and pool in their resources-invest and deduct all expenses to share fortune. Chinese model of eco-farming ensures good farming and healthy food. It protects soil, water and climate and promotes biodiversity. It does not contaminate the environment with chemical inputs or genetic engineering.
The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations) report highlighted the reasons for the low yield in Pakistan in comparison to regional and global countries. Water shortage, absence of high yield varieties of seeds and lack of research and development hinders agriculture productivity. However, in this context, it is relevant to note that FAO’s data takes account of the national average while the yield per hectare of different crops varies from province to province. Punjab remains the food basket of the country and its yield is on average higher than the national average.
Pakistan needs to bring down the agricultural input costs and ensure availability of quality seeds to increase productivity. Sindh Abadgar Board and Sindh Chamber of Agriculture urged the federal and provincial governments to facilitate private sector companies, including multinationals in introducing latest agricultural technologies, and new seed varieties to increase yields and profitability ensuring food security. They said Pakistan’s agriculture and in turn economy has tremendous potential to grow. Self-sufficiency in the agriculture sector could only be achieved by framing farmer friendly policies.
The national development and prosperity can only be achieved by taking concrete steps for uplifting agriculture and facilitating farmers, especially the poor ones. The government should hand over latest agricultural technologies to the farmers in the shortest possible time to make farming more profitable and sustainable.
Farmers in India, China, USA, UK, Russia, Malaysia etc are all using drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, shallow green house system and many other new agricultural technologies to greatly improve their crop yield by 300 to 400 percent. In Pakistan, after the arrival of pesticide, fertilizer and tractors, decades ago, our country’s agriculture technology has not improved at all.
Introducing these new technologies require extensive training, promotion and advocacy, to the main consumers, the farmers of Pakistan. By introducing these technologies the farmers will not only get higher yields and more income but it will also help reduce the use of water, pesticide and fertilizer for the farms. With higher yield and higher income, the farmers of Pakistan will have a real chance to alleviate poverty and help reduce food insecurity in the world’s 6th most populous country.