The circular economic model will also be instrumental in achieving a number of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGS)
Integrating the agricultural sector into a “circular economic model” can solve Pakistan’s economic, social, environmental, food shortage and inflation problems. The circular economic model will also be instrumental in achieving a number of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs), said Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) Vice President Ahmad Jawad . Speaking to Business Recorder, he said: “Agriculture is inherently the backbone of Pakistan’s economic system and without the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, other economic sectors in the country cannot achieve sustainable development. For this, the digital revolution in any sector requires investments, where the banking sector comes into play.”
Ahmad Jawad was of the opinion that banks, especially ZTBL (Zarai Tarqiati Bank Limited), could finance various digital agriculture or sustainable agriculture solutions under the umbrella of Green Banking by providing green finance facilities. The State Bank of Pakistan has published “Guidelines for Effective Financing of Agricultural Water Management” to promote water conservation through the banking sector. Sustainable/green financing programs with low interest rates could also be launched for various environmentally friendly farming techniques and equipment, he said. He said harnessing drone technology could enable farmers to increase agricultural productivity through better pest control for which ZTBL and other private banks are to provide new loans to smallholder farmers across Pakistan. .
“Small farmers can be facilitated with timely credit and this is possible if ZTBL and other banks work on new technologies instead of sticking to the traditional four or five agricultural products only.” He argued that Pakistan’s population would nearly double by 2050, while climate change and global warming posed new challenges that would eventually create food security and other problems; therefore, emergent and effective measures on agricultural and other relevant policies were absolutely necessary to avoid any negative effects. Ahmad Jawad added that over the past few years, the country’s agricultural sector has been blighted by temporary and ineffective policies that have had a negative impact on the rural economy, resulting in massive migration of rural people to urban centers. , particularly in Sindh and Balochistan.
The Vice President of PBF suggested that banks should encourage value adding activities in fruits and vegetables grown in different regions of Pakistan to export these products. He asserted that banks should educate and facilitate all value chain partners, including farmers and other supply chain partners, on the various environmentally and economically sustainable agricultural products and processes available, which would increase yield per acre and minimize negative environmental impacts. Ahmad Jawad was of the view that the implementation of green supply chain practices was vital for the development of sustainable agricultural practices.
Similarly, Pakistan annually spends a substantial amount of foreign exchange on importing edible oils; In order to save precious foreign exchange reserves, the ZTBL and other banks are to introduce concessional loans to farmers to encourage soybean, rapeseed and sunflower sowing on larger areas. “If we adopt certain measures in the agricultural sector, there is no need for the contribution of the agricultural sector to the GDP to reach 6%, which will be a great contribution to the economy,” he said. Ahmad Jawad further said that meaningful state interventions at macro and micro levels have become essential to revitalize the agricultural sector, improve farming systems and increase yields. He said the country expects to meet the wheat production target of over 30 million tonnes in 2021-22.
Timely disbursement of DAP subsidy at Rs 2000 per bag and better quality seeds can boost domestic wheat production to avoid importation of essential commodities. Currently, DAP fertilizer stood at Rs 7000 per bag, which is unbearable for the farming community. He said farmers can help Pakistan achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production and build up strategic food reserves with supportive policies to ensure reasonable profitability of their produce. However, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Pakistan’s wheat import estimate for 2021-22 is unchanged from the previous forecast at 2 million tonnes. The USDA further stated that the domestic wheat demand situation will likely be affected by neighboring Afghanistan becoming increasingly politically unstable. Afghanistan imports almost all of its national flour from Pakistan, which could prompt Pakistan to import more wheat for stocks.
This news was originally published on BRE-Corder