Published Date: Oct 17, 2017
Half the country’s population will live in cities by 2030
Half of the country’s population will be living in urban areas by 2030, which will also mean that more land will be available for farming, said Dr Iqrar Ahmed Khan, former vice chancellor of Agriculture University Faisalabad.
Dr Khan was speaking to participants of a seminar on World Food Day which was hosted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday.
“We have heard that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Jehangir Khan Tareen has been farming on 18,000 acres of land, which is a good thing and such farming will increase per acre production,” Dr Iqrar said.
He said high achieving students should be given admission into agriculture universities and that at present, high achievers opt for medical, engineering and other degrees and that agriculture is the second or third option.
Food and Agriculture Organisation representative Mina Dowlatchahi highlighted the need for proper policy and strategies for feeding the growing urban population, which is only possible with a strong agricultural sector.
She stressed on the need to invest in rural development in terms of providing children nutritious food, better education and clean drinking water.
MNA Romina Khursheed Alam said the respective governments should acknowledge that agriculture is the back bone of the economy and that the trend of rural migration is also a matter of concern as on one hand, it impacts agricultural production as the rural population leaves for the cities, and on the other, they also increase the burden on the little resources of the cities.
She said we can ensure food security by prioritising rural development and the modernisation of agriculture.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri said once an agriculture based country in the 1980s, Pakistan is fast heading towards a services based economy.
He said with more people moving from agriculture production to the service sector, a gap in the agriculture has appeared which has resulted in lower calorie consumption by a large number of people. He said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and some parts of Sindh will face food insecurity.
National Agriculture Research Council Director General Dr Mohammad Azeem Khan said the country’s policies have been focused on achieving self-sufficiency in food and not towards rural development. He said work now needs to be done for achieving food security and putting a halt to rural to urban migration.
The district food department in Attock also observed World Food Day and hosted a seminar on this regard on Monday. Speakers at the event said a billion people across the world are facing a shortage of food and that Pakistanis spend 70pc of their earnings on food due to price hikes.
Deputy Commissioner Attock Rana Akbar Hayat urged people to consume more pure foods which , he said, helps prevent many diseases.
Mr Hayat said the day was being observed in order to raise awareness about the importance of pure food and its results. He said the provision of pure food to the people is the responsibility of the state.
Protest against concentrated wealth
The Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek and Roots for Equality held a press conference in Islamabad and a protest outside the National Press Club on Monday against feudal lords and the corporate elite controlling most resources and concentrated wealth in the country.
Party leaders asked people to increase the struggle for food sovereignty as a way forward for ending the impact of semi-feudal and neo liberal polices for controlling land and resources.
They demanded the government devise polices based on food sovereignty along with equitable distribution of land, ensuring women farmers’ right to land etc. They said lasting peace, sustainable development and prosperity cannot be achieved without a people-led development agenda.Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1364244/half-the-countrys-population-will-live-in-cities-by-2030