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 Friday said a huge amount of cotton and food items will have to be imported due to the flood damages.
The imports will strain forex reserves and the current account deficit will cross the target of ten billion dollars,
Mian Zahid Hussain said that in the current situation the problem of food security will become more serious due to lack of resources with the government.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that due to floods and other reasons, cotton production has decreased by 40%, while rice production has decreased by 10% compared to last year.
He said that wheat cultivation has become impossible in various areas of Sindh due to floodwater due to which wheat production will be affected.
Textile and rice exports will be affected which will also damage export earnings exuberating the dollar crisis in the country, he added.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that falling prices of oil and other commodities may give some support to the country’s treasury, but it is not certain.
He noted that the agricultural sector is suffering from the lack of attention of the authorities, wrong policies, non-provision of credit, costly inputs, climate change, weak infrastructure, water theft, substandard agricultural pesticides and seed, and lack of research few to mention.
Due to the apathy of authorities, agricultural production is decreasing and poverty is increasing in rural areas which is causing mass migration.
In this situation, Pakistan had already become a food and cotton importing country before the flood and last year the government imported seventeen billion dollars worth of agricultural goods and now the situation is getting worse, he observed.
The government has announced a package for the agricultural sector while trying to find a solution to the lack of investment, but it is insufficient and the entire country, especially the rural population, will suffer the consequences of floods for many years.
If the government modernizes its country’s agriculture instead of distributing 17 billion dollars i.e. 4100 billion rupees to foreign farmers and companies every year, then Pakistan can become a country that exports agricultural products instead of importing them, he said.