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The second ‘Kissan Day’ was observed to highlight the role of farmers in the economic prosperity of Pakistan. Having a special day for farmers recognises and honours their role and contributions to the national economy.
Pakistan is still primaraily an agriculture-based economy despite government measures to shift to manufacturing and industries. Farmers toil in the fields whole day to bring food to our tables but suffers from massive neglect and poverty.
Agriculture in Pakistan
Agriculture is considered the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. The principal natural resources are arable land and water and over two-thirds of the population is directly or indirectly linked to agriculture.
Agriculture accounts for about 18.9% of Pakistan’s GDP and employs about 42.3% of the labour force. In Pakistan, the most agricultural province is Punjab where wheat and cotton are the most grown.
The most important crops are wheat, sugarcane, cotton, and rice, which together account for more than 75% of the value of total crop output. The livestock sector contributes about half of the value added in the agriculture sector, amounting to nearly 11 per cent of GDP, which is more than the crop sector.
The fishing industry plays an important role in the national economy of Pakistan. With a coastline of about 1046 km, Pakistan has enough fishery resources that remain to be fully developed. Fishing is also a major source of export earning and aquaculture is rapidly developing industry in Pakistan.
Only four percent of land in Pakistan is covered with forest although the government has started a reafforestation initiative. Forest are a main source of food, lumber, paper, fuelwood, latex, medicine as well as used for purposes of wildlife conservation and ecotourism.
Decline in agriculture
The agriculture industry in Pakistan is facing a decline due to the lack of policy by the government. Having a special day for farmers recognize and honour their important role and contributions to the national economy.
Since 90% of the small farmers own less than 12 acres of land, therefore, overall crop production decreases while the cost of production for these small-scale farmers increases substantially.
Their challenges are further aggravated by the lack of timely application of inputs for which they have to knock the doors of money lenders called Artis, who charge massive interests on borrowed amounts.
This further reduces their profitability and pushes them toward the abyss of poverty. The lack of market access adds up to their woes as they have no idea how to sell their products independently, whereas the middleman mafia exploits them for this reason by paying them less than the market rate.
What is Kissan Day?
In this regards, a leading fertilizer company launched a survey along with government support and eventually launched ‘Salam Kissan, Sarsabz Pakistan’ initiative. The day was dedicated to farmers and stressed on the need for better farmer-friendly policies to facilitate the farming community.
In its second year, the Kissan Day has successfully drawn the attention of policymakers towards empowering farmers who are the nation’s asset and a key driving force towards growth and prosperity. Unfortunately, farmers end up at the bottom, not only of the food chain but also the economic and financial pyramid.
The day aims to give due importance and recognition to Pakistan’s underserved farmers, not only to curb the national food security challenges on the face of constantly increasing population and food demand but also to economically elevate their status.
It is imperative to address the problems being faced by the farmers and given their due recognition. The day serves as reminder to appreciate the role of farmers in our daily lives to bring food to our table. The government should formulate an agriculture policy to bring economic prosperity to the faming community.