18th amendment is destroying agriculture

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ISLAMABAD, Feb 04 (Online): Former President ICCI Shahid Rasheed Butt on Thursday said 18th amendment is destroying many sectors of the economy including agriculture and its contribution towards the GDP is on the continued decline.

Provinces lack expertise and interest to support and promote agriculture which is mainstay of the economy while this remains a federal subject in the leading economies, he said.

Pakistan is no more an economy based on agriculture while it has also failed to move from agriculture to industry like dozens of developed nations.

The country spent over one and a half billion dollars on import of wheat, sugar, cotton and other food items during the last six months despite the fact that livelihoods of farmers, food security of the whole population and majority of employment and exports are linked to this ignored sector.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the whole system of agriculture including sowing, purchase, storage, transportation, stocks, support price, subsidy and loans are outdated, faulty and riddled with inefficiencies, red tape and corruption.

Farmers depend on the loan sharks and intermediaries to borrow in absence of a proper banking network while the benefit of good prices is never transferred to farmers but middlemen, he said.

The business leader said that sugar, ginning and textile mills continue to exploit farmers to maximise their profit and expecting textile millers to promote cotton crop is just like trusting cat to guard milk.

The industrial sector has proper links and a say in policymaking while small farmers lack voice and even if they try, they are never heard, he observed.

Ends/Online