In view of the impending and rapidly worsening food crisis in Pakistan due to devastating floods that have destroyed nearly 90% of its crops, traders and economic experts urged the government to consider and allow import of food items from India. has done.
The suggestion comes in the context of emergency food security problems in the country, triggered by flash floods since mid-June that wreaked havoc in the country, displacing more than 33 million people and directly affecting livestock and infrastructure. completely reduced and destroyed thousands of acres of farmland and standing crops spread over agricultural fields.
The business community has also advised the government to remove all taxes on the agriculture sector until the country returns to normalcy.
“We urge the government to allow imports from all four neighboring countries,” a press release by the Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectual Forum (PBIF) said.
PBIF President Zahid Hussain also referred to the Russo-Ukraine war, saying it has caused global damage to agricultural commodities.
“The war between Russia and Ukraine caused great damage to global agriculture and skyrocketed the prices of all agricultural commodities,” he said.
According to Zahid Hussain, wheat has been the most affected, whose prices have seen a record jump and now after the devastating floods, its entire crop standing in millions of acres in Pakistan has been ruined.
“Although imports from Iran and Afghanistan were allowed, the supply of foreign exchange to the importers was stopped, significantly increasing the cost of their trade,” the PBIF press release said.
Allowing imports from India has been recommended as it is the fastest and cheapest route of food imports. Trade with India has been stalled for some time, forcing traders to choose the route through the United Arab Emirates (UAE), adding to the costs for traders.
PBIF stressed, “The government should give priority to the welfare of the people and give priority to neighboring countries rather than importing agricultural products from distant countries.”
The PBIF also suggested the provision of interest-free loans to Pakistani farmers amounting to about $17 billion and not disbursing it among farmers abroad could revolutionize the country’s agricultural production.
“Otherwise, the situation may worsen by 2050, when the population of Pakistan is estimated to reach approximately 38 crores,” the press release by PBIF said.