(July 06, 2022)
Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance and Former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said climate change has become a major threat to Pakistan’s national security and food security.
Despite the severe water shortage in the country, more than half of the water is being wasted which must be stopped, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that foreign companies which are interested in supplying wheat to Pakistan are buying rice worth billions from Pakistan and if the barter system is adopted, valuable foreign exchange can be saved.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that despite being an agricultural country, Pakistan imported $12 billion worth of wheat, pulses, cotton, etc. last year, but not enough attention is being paid to increasing local production, which is astonishing.
He said that domestic resources do not allow the repair of the irrigation system which is in a shambles therefore so foreign investment in this sector is the only option for which incentives, diplomacy, and better security, must be adopted.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan is very dependent on the irrigation system but the condition of irrigation infrastructure is pitiful which needs to be improved on a war footing so as to improve agricultural production, ensure food security and prosperity of the farmers.
He noted that the irrigation system provides at least 40 million acres of water but half of which is wasted which could fill many dams like Tarbela and Mangla.
The flow of Indus and its tributaries have been 151,800 cusecs this year as against the last five-year average of 264,000 cusecs; the average storage of water in dams this year has been 148,000 acre-feet as against the average of 2.4 million acre-feet in the last ten years, he informed.
Such a severe shortage of water is a matter of grave concern and a sign of impending famine, he said adding that Pakistan loses 20 billion dollars of water every year and the water situation may worsen in the future therefore, immediate and effective measures are needed to save and store water.