Successive governments though have not addressed systemic problems faced by the sector, and as such food security of future generations is at stake. Due to declining agricultural incomes, Pakistan has the highest rate of urbanization in South Asia. The major issue is how to encourage retention of youth in rural areas since rural Pakistanis are entering cities to seek new livelihoods and better basic services. One innovative solution to these complex issues is to give agriculture the status of an industry.
Development of policy reforms and a legal regulatory framework, with a focus on strengthening of public-private partnerships, will be part of the agriculture uplift process. Such measures will be potential drivers of agriculture development. Competition will further trigger the rural economy. Apart from crop production, the agriculture sub-sector comprises of raising animals for meat and milk, poultry and fish farming.
The concept being advocated above is akin to «agricultural cluster» which is an advanced type of agricultural industrialization with a proven track record in advancing the specialization of agriculture production and increasing the income of farmers. Prior to execution of such major policy reforms, the farmers, agricultural community and all other stakeholders should be taken into confidence to circumvent reaction as it happened against the Indian government. The United States, China, Holland, Poland and a couple of other European countries have been beneficiaries of agricultural industrialization. Our policy makers, legislatures and business leaders need to delve deeper into recommended agricultural innovations highlighted above.
We may not be able to change the fate of the agriculture sector and farmers overnight, but steps in the right direction will pay off in the long run.