‘TILL THE FARMER GETS HIS LAND, POVERTY WILL NOT END’

 Haneen Rafi

Dawn, July 24, 2017

KARACHI: “The rights of the peasant will benefit greatly only by creating widespread social awareness of land reforms which can be our greatest weapon. And this cannot be possible without including women in this struggle,” said PPP Senator Taj Haider at a seminar organised by the Awami Workers Party in Karachi on Sunday.

Highlighting the importance of empowering the farmer and peasant, Mr Haider criticised the fact that Pakistan remained one of the few countries that allowed a system to persist in which a few individuals sitting at home directly benefitted from the farmer toiling away on the fields.

The urgency of the land reforms needed in Pakistan have remained a constant demand of the AWP in a bid to battle the monopoly of feudal land owners that have for long usurped the rights of the peasants.

AWP peasant secretary Hassan Askari highlighted how land reforms in East Pakistan were more rigorously pushed through than in West Pakistan. “In East Pakistan land reforms were supported more because most of the land owners there were Hindus. In West Pakistan the land owners however, were not touched.”

“One of the most dynamic revolutionary forces is the kisan,” said AWP Sindh president Bakhshal Thallo, who explained how it was the British who organised and privatised the feudal system in South Asia.

Central secretary general Akhtar Hussain was of the opinion that to make land reforms, or for that matter any sort of reforms successful, the grassroots need to be galvanised and be invested enough to get the reforms implemented. If this is missing, then no amount of reforms will garner much change as there are many examples in Pakistan.

He also spoke about different legal developments the country has witnessed with regards to land reforms.

Prof Tauseef Ahmed Khan criticised how giving ownership of the land to the peasant was not a custom accepted by those in power. “It was for the first time after the revolution in 1917 in the Soviet Union that a state accepted that the land belongs to the peasant and eliminated the feudal system.”

He explained that it was when the communist party was established in the subcontinent that the idea that the peasant who works on a piece of land should own it too came to the fore. However, in his opinion the political parties led down this cause. Even in Pakistan this trend subsisted. “It was the Left politics that created a sense of awareness among the kisan about his rights. And till the farmer does not get his land, poverty will never end from this country.”

https://www.dawn.com/news/1347188/till-the-farmer-gets-his-land-poverty-will-not-end

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FOOD SECURITY POLICY FINALISED

Dawn, July 16th, 2017

Amin Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Recommendations for the National Food Security Policy that seeks to achieve agricultural growth of four per cent per annum were finalised on Saturday for approval by the federal cabinet.

A group of experts met at the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) and finalised recommendations. These were incorporated in the draft of the national policy that was released and discussed at a national-level workshop held in Islamabad early this week.

All stakeholders, including the private sector, agriculture-related agencies at the federal and provincial levels, scientists, researchers and representatives of donor countries, participated in the one-day national conference.

Food insecurity in Pakistan is mainly driven by poverty. This is especially evident in rural areas. With a high rural population, agriculture still contributes around 19.5pc to GDP. About 42pc of the labour force is engaged in agriculture. Growth in this sector has to be a goal of the policy, experts said.

The new policy has 16 elements, which include special programmes for reducing poverty and hunger, bridging the yield gaps, ensuring farm profitability, augmenting the existing water resource base by promoting efficient use through alternative energy, developing hybrid seeds, providing incentives for food processing and value addition under public-private partnership arrangements, developing efficient farm mechanisation and processing technologies to reduce the cost of production, and enacting food safety regulatory laws.

The policy also includes the development of nine agricultural corridors under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for agro-based industries.

The nine zones, which will be set up in collaboration with China, will help achieve food sovereignty, benefit farmers and rural communities, improve yields, conserve biodiversity, and ensure soil health, cleaner water and resilient food systems.

Commenting on the policy, Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations said the policy represents an important milestone for Pakistan. “We are satisfied that the policy addresses four dimensions of food security, which are food availability, accessibility, utilisation and stability.”

It is time to move towards the implementation of specific strategies and action plans that respond to the needs of the provinces, she said.

The establishment of a federal government-led data collection process for food and nutrition security indicators has been recommended with a view to strengthen a food security information system.

The imposition of a research levy has been recommended to fund services of particular help to small farmers, such as farmer field schools and mobile applications with information on weather patterns and crop pests and diseases.

The policy recommends utilising the government’s social protection, subsidies and procurement programmes in rural areas in a way that smaller farmers can be lifted out of poverty.

Incentives have been proposed for continued and socially responsible private-sector investment in the subsectors of agriculture for the promotion of value chain and food systems, such as dairy, livestock and horticulture.

Experts recommended support for growth in the provision of independent, private-sector extension services to vulnerable farmers. This was particularly needed in the area of plant and animal pests and diseases.

Experts recommended the effective implementation of land tenancy laws that would reform land inheritance, buying and selling laws, and steps towards redistribution of agricultural land through provision of opportunities for landless farmers.

Experts recommended food security policy measures to tackle the challenges of climate change and unsustainable resources, including support for the adoption and application of efficient irrigation technologies, modern irrigation infrastructure, rainwater harvesting, early-warning systems for extreme climate events, import of genetic resources to improve indigenous breeds and varieties to suit climatic conditions, soil amelioration and conservation technologies.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1345646

PKMT demands pro-farmers policies

Press Release:

July 16, 2017

The Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) Khyberpakhun Khua chapter holds its 5th provincial assembly on July 16, 2017 in Bagh Darai, lower dir.  All of the PKMT members for KPK province participated in large numbers.

Altaf Hussain, PKMT National Coordinator spoke on water issues and market rate for the grower. He stress that due to the climate change there are less rain or more rains hence most of the rainfed land had is being distorting. The government is also not interested in solving the issue since there is no electrify for tube wells. In these critical circumstances whatever production that farmer got could not get good rate in the market. The Globalization and WTO policies implemented in such a way in the country that imported grains i.e. potatoes, onion among others are so cheap. He demand that climate justice, that mean those who responsible for the climate issues for example US, EU and other 1st world nations should pay compensation to the third world loss and they should also change their industrial production system in which high carbon emission is being discharged.

Fayyaz Ahmed, Provincial Coordinator, PKMT pointed out that 70.8 percent of households in Sindh were already suffering from malnutrition and poverty from the oppressive exploitative feudal land lords in the province, and to push profit-oriented corporate land grab and real estate development projects in the province would intensify hunger and poverty in the province. He also told that women agriculture workers should also been recognized as labour.

Asif Khan, member PKMT from Haripur mentioned that commodification of the natural resources which include land, water, seed, and forest etc. for corporate interest bring the mother earth at high risk. Deforestation, land erosion, food contamination, glacier melting are happening at a very high speed. Flood, drought, diseases are the manifestation of these issues. If people owns and control these very natural resources peoples’ life would be at ease, happy healthy, and prosperous like in case of a village in Gilgit “Goharabad” where they own and control their mountain, tress, fruits etc.

PKMT leaders Raja Mujeeb, Tariq Mehmood and Wali Haider told that government is pursuing policies that advocate the production of genetically-engineered cotton; a policy which would ultimately allow hegemonic transnational seed companies such as Monsanto to take control and dictate the total agricultural cotton policy and production in the province, which surely will also spread to other provinces. The Amended Seed Act, 2015 and Plant Breeders Rights Act has already been passed which will aggressively promote hybrid and GM cotton; the next step would be they promotion of GM maize, as maize is the most important crop for KPK, the farmers of KPK should be aware of the implications and must resist. All of these initiatives are there to protect intellectual property rights of the TNCs in result BT cotton and Maize business will have a legal cover.

PKMT firmly reasserts farmers collective right to seed, its free exchange among farmers; it is the farmers who have bred, preserved and passed on the genetic material of seed over many millennia and we will not allow profit-hungry corporations to control the most basic agricultural input – critical for maintaining life on our planet. The agro-chemical mega-corporations that thrive on ‘selling’ lies about higher yields has gained super profits while leaving farmers reeling under multi-pronged crises from suicidal debt, to ever-increasing cost of production, pests and super bugs infestation, falling yields, and destroyed lands and lives. BT-cotton cultivation is a diabolical attack that will replace/reduce wheat production, the most critical food crop that ensures food security of the small and landless farmers.

PKMT demands that instead of promoting TNCs interest and GM crops, the government must put a moratorium on GM technology so that national genetic resources, environment, biodiversity and most importantly right to seed for farmers can be protected.

Local and indigenous seed stalls and pictorial exhibition of PKMT 10 years struggle were also displayed in the Assembly.

Released by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT)

https://www.dawn.com/news/1345831/timergara-people-seek-clean-drinking-water

National Consultation on Land Rights: A Policy Discussion with Stakeholders

Press Release

July 12, 2017

A national consultation was held on Land Rights: A policy Discussion with Stakeholders in Margala Hotel, Islamabad on 12th July, 2017 organized by Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and Roots for Equity.

The consultation was held in the context of Sustainable Development Goal 1 “ending poverty in all its forms everywhere” which specifies a target of “all men and women, in particular the poor and vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, . . . , ownership and control over land. . . .” In addition, Goal 2 aims to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030, and also emphasizes equal access to land for small farmers. So, in essence, land rights is a core pillar for achieving a world without injustice, inequity, hunger, exploitation, and discrimination. No doubt, achieving universal human dignity is not possible without ensuring land rights of small and landless farmers, which comprise a majority of the world population.

Dr. Azra Talat Sayeed, Executive Director Roots for Equity contextualized the need for the consultation, and detailed the basic three fundamental structural causes that have led to increased landlessness: these included feudal control over land, globalization and neoliberal policies in agriculture with emphasis on corporate agriculture, agro fuel production, and immense increase in land grab due to mega development projects; and third climate crisis. She emphasized that lack of equitable distribution of has resulted in immense hunger and poverty among the farming communities especially for women and children. Way forward was based on genuine democracy with the basic foundation of accountability to the people.

Community leaders, Kabir Khan highlighted that Rakh Azmat Wala in District Rajanpur farmers are facing a dire situation as the government has evacuated farming communities that have tilled this land for more than a hundred years; in addition many farmers have been charged with various crimes and given more than one FIR. He demanded that the government should give the ownership of these land to the farmers instead of handing over the land to Chinese investors. Raja Mujaeeb another farmer leader from Ghotki, SIndh stressed that a very huge percentage of rural communities are landless and few individuals hold vast tracts of land which creates huge inequities in society. He demanded there should be just and equitable land distribution in the country. Riverine community youth leader Saleem elaborated that climate disasters, especially floods create constant havoc in riverine communities. He demanded that farmers in this area should be given permanent land so that they can access decent lives. Rubina Saigol said that women farmers must be given land based on equitable distribution. In addition, agricultural workers, especially women must be recognized as formal agricultural workers, and farmers. Various public representatives at the consultation provided their input. According to MPA Syed Aleem Shah, the government is acquiring land which is under state ownership, and it is the government’s legal right to take back the land for national interest. MPA Sardar Aurangaiz said in KPK government cannot agriculture land for industrial projects and housing schemes.  Ex MPA Syed Bedar Hussain Shah recommended that land should only be given to the farmers as well as social protection policies be developed for agricultural workers.

Major recommendations at the end of consultation were demanding equitable distribution of land among men and women farmers, and social protection to be provided for agricultural workers.

RELEASED BY: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) & Roots for Equity

California to add key ingredient of Monsanto weed killer to list of cancer-causing chemicals

Regulators in California took a pivotal step on Monday toward becoming the first state to require the popular weed killer Roundup to come with a label warning that it’s known to cause cancer.

Officials announced that starting July 7 the weed killer’s main ingredient, glyphosate, will appear on a list California keeps of potentially cancerous chemicals. A year later, the listing could come with warning labels on the product, officials said.

However, it’s not certain whether Roundup will ultimately get a warning label.

Monsanto, the chemical’s maker, has filed an appeal after losing in court to block the labeling, arguing that Roundup doesn’t cause cancer and that the labels will harm the company’s business.

State health regulators must also decide if there’s a high enough amount of the chemical in Roundup to pose a risk to human health. State officials received more than 1,300 public comments.

“We can’t say for sure,” said Sam Delson, a spokesman for California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. “We’re reviewing those comments.”

Glyphosate has no color or smell. Monsanto introduced it in 1974 as an effective way of killing weeds while leaving crops and plants intact.

It’s sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers use it on 250 types of crops in California, the nation’s leading farming state.

Attorney Michael Baum, who represents more than 300 people who claim a loved one became sick or died from exposure to Roundup, says the fight to protect Californians is not over.

He said that the state’s failure to set the proper risk level would undermine protections California put in place by listing harmful chemicals.

Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, said in a statement that glyphosate does not cause cancer and there’s no need to list it as harmful in California.

“This is not the final step in the process,” Partridge said. “We will continue to aggressively challenge this improper decision.”

Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/weed-killer-ingredient-california-list-cancerous-48295768

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/weed-killer-ingredient-going-on-california-list-as-cancerous/ar-BBDjM89

Syngenta Loses $218 Million Verdict in First GMO Trial Test

Corn producers claimed contaminated crops hurt sales to China
Class-action lawsuit involved genetically modified seeds

Syngenta AG was ordered to pay $217.7 million to a group of Kansas farmers who claimed the company carelessly marketed its genetically modified corn seed, causing contamination of U.S. crops and a rejection of export sales to China by officials there.

A Kansas jury issued the verdict Friday in the first trial brought by U.S. farmers alleging Syngenta caused five years of depressed corn prices. Several other trials are pending as lawyers pursue suits on behalf of some 350,000 corn growers claiming as much as $13 billion in losses.

The win gives momentum to claims by farmers from more than 20 states who are suing the Swiss agrochemical giant. Syngenta faces its next class action in a Minnesota court in August, where farmers are seeking more than $600 million.

“This drastically changes the complexion of the upcoming litigation,” said Anthony Sabino, law professor at St. John’s University in New York. “A jury found the plaintiffs’ claims of depressed prices so convincing that, not only did the jury give them a win on the liability, they awarded the entire amount of damages asked for. That is not an everyday occurrence.”

A dozen Kansas farmers attended the 13-day trial. The only farmer in the courtroom Friday, when the jury returned its verdict after four hours of deliberation during two days, was Bret Kendrick, 52.

“I’m relieved that things turned out the way they did,” Kendrick said. “I’m very happy, especially for Kansas farmers.” Kendrick farms 6,000 acres in southwestern Kansas.

Jury Verdict

The Kansas City, Kansas, jury awarded only compensatory damages and no punitive damages. The farmers’ lawyers had asked for $217.7 million for lost sales plus punitive damages.

Syngenta said it would appeal the verdict. “We are disappointed with today’s verdict because it will only serve to deny American farmers access to future technologies even when they are fully approved in the U.S.,’’ the company said in an e-mail. “The case is without merit.’’

More than 7,000 Kansas farmers claimed Syngenta rushed its GMO seed to market before getting approval from China to export grain there. In 2013, China stopped shipments after calling the corn contaminated by the GMO seed. The farmers also claimed Syngenta misled them on when the Chinese would approve the seed.

In all, China barred an estimated 1.4 million metric tons of U.S. corn from entering the country, effectively cutting the U.S. out of the world’s fastest-growing market, the farmers contend. Corn futures tumbled as demand for American corn weakened, they claim. And while Syngenta’s GMO seeds were approved by the Chinese a year later, corn from Ukraine and other countries continues to supplant U.S. crops, the farmers said.

The average U.S. cash corn price has fallen 20 percent since the 2013 Chinese ban on U.S. shipments, while futures on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 15 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Price Trends

During the worst drought since the 1930s, cash prices peaked in August 2012 at $8.26 a bushel. On June 22, the price of a bushel of corn was $3.30, up from a seven-year low of $2.73 a bushel in September. The farmers blame the lower prices on the Chinese rejection. Syngenta said this wasn’t a factor.

The Swiss company was under pressure because Monsanto Co. had a seed that was equal to Syngenta’s that already had Chinese approval, Scott Powell, the farmers’ lawyer, told jurors Thursday.

“Syngenta rushed this product to market to serve its own commercial interests,’’ he said. “No consideration was given to the farmers.’’

Powell, citing a company document, said Syngenta’s then-CEO, Mike Mack, knew that China would object to his company’s seed, but that Mack wanted to “pressurize’’ China into accepting it.

“For Syngenta, there was no risk,’’ he said. “It was all on the backs of farmers.’’

Loss Analysis

Syngenta did nothing wrong and the farmers suffered no losses, Mike Brock, the company’s attorney, told jurors in closing arguments Thursday.

“Important approvals were in place before the seed went into the ground,’’ he said. Syngenta began marketing the seed in 2011 following U.S. approval the prior year.

The Chinese rejection didn’t cause corn prices to crater, he said. A 2010 corn drought in China forced it to buy foreign corn, and a 2012 drought in the U.S. led to a spike here, he said. A 2013 corn glut sent prices plummeting. Rain, particularly in the corn belt, shapes the corn market, he said.

China’s decision to block Syngenta’s seed wasn’t for safety reasons, but done as a “pretext’’ to lessen its dependence on U.S. corn, Brock said. “They wanted to slow down the export of corn to China.’’

China Watch

Syngenta wasn’t required to wait for Chinese approval and that country was using its biotech regulations to control trade, Brock said. The rejection of U.S. corn was part of that strategy, he said.

The trial in Kansas City, Kansas, comes as state-owned China National Chemical Corp. is completing its $43 billion acquisition of Basel, Switzerland-based Syngenta.

U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum, who is overseeing the Kansas City trial and most of the litigation, has certified eight statewide classes and had said Friday he’d schedule another trial for January or February. Farmers in 14 additional states are awaiting class certification by the Kansas judge.

Grain exporters Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. and Cargill Inc. have accused Syngenta in separate suits of carelessly allowing its seed to taint U.S. corn, causing the Chinese rejection. Those suits are pending in state court in Louisiana, with Cargill’s headed for trial next year.

The case is In Re: Syngenta AG MIR 162 Corn Litigation, 14-md-02591, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas (Kansas City).

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-23/syngenta-ordered-by-jury-to-pay-218-million-to-kansas-farmers

MPS CRITICISE FEDERAL SHARIAT COURT FOR DERAILING LAND REFORMS

Dawn, June 16th, 2017

Kalbe Ali

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) was criticised during a meeting of a Senate standing committee on Thursday for derailing land reforms in the country.

The committee urged provinces to support efforts for a new law in this regard.

The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting met for a special hearing by senior lawyer Abid Hassan Manto regarding his case in the Supreme Court for initiating land reforms in the country.

He told the committee that land reforms were derailed after a decision by the Federal Shariat Court in a case popularly known as the Kazalbash Trust Case in 1989, in which it was decided that land reforms were un-Islamic.

PPP Senator Taj Haider said he was in favour of land reforms in the country and said Justice Taqi Usman had even ruled that the breaking up of large land holdings was also un-Islamic.

Mr Manto said he had gone to the apex court against the judgement by the Shariat Court but the SC was not taking up the case.

“Former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry even asked me where my clients who wanted land reforms were, as those opposing the reforms were also there,” he said.

He requested the Senate body to either become party in the SC case or formulate a law to initiate land reforms in the country.

Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali said if the Senate becomes party in the SC case it would mean they are lowering their powers as lawmakers and are asking the same from the court, and suggested a new law for land reforms should be made.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Kamil Ali Agha said the Federal Shariat Court has left nothing to initiate land reforms.

The 1989 Shariat Court judgement says the government cannot take inherited or religious land and has to pay market price to buy land from private individuals. Committee members observed that the government cannot take land given by colonial rulers but can take land from individuals who bought it after independence.

“If the government has to buy land at market rate from landowners who do not even till it, then where will the reforms go,” Senator Agha asked.

Officials of the Federal Land Commission informed the committee that one of the reasons for the delays in land reforms was the continuous shifting of the commission from one ministry to the other and that it was currently part of heritage and therefore under the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage.

The committee was told that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Balochistan were opposed to laws regarding land reforms while Senator Haider said Sindh supported laws for land reforms.

Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja said small land holdings will ensure high yield at low cost as families will concentrate on effective farming and stated that feudalism was the opponent of democracy.

The committee was informed that land reforms were initiated in 1959 which limited land holding to 500 acres for irrigated land and 1,000 acres of un-irrigated land and the land reforms of 1972 set these limits to 150 acres and 300 acres respectively.

The committee has asked the provinces to forward their point of view over land reforms under which large land holdings will be distributed among landless farmers and family members to ensure effective and technical farming.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1339857

کیا کسان، مزدور اور عام آدمی کے لیے بجٹ میں کچھ ہے؟

پاکستان کے وزیرِ خزانہ اسحاق ڈار نے اڑتالیس کھرب روپے کا وفاقی بجٹ پیش کر دیا ہے، جس میں انہوں نے دعویٰ کہ لوڈ شیڈنگ کا اگلے سال مکمل خاتمہ کر دیا جائے گا اور عوام کی سہولت کے لیے کئی اقدامات کیے جائیں گے۔


وزیر خزانہ اسحاق ڈار نے کہا کہ مجموعی قومی پیداوار( جی ڈی پی) کی شرح دس سال میں پہلی مرتبہ بلند ترین ہوئی، پاکستان ایشیا کی بہترین کارکرگی دکھانے والی مارکیٹ بنا، معیشت کا حجم تین سو بلین ڈالرز تک پہنچا، جی ڈی پی کی شرحِ نمو پانچ اعشاریہ تین فیصد رہی اور زراعت کے شعبے میں کپاس، مکئی اور گندم کی ریکارڈ پیداوار ہوئی۔ ان کے بقول صنعتی شعبے کی ترقی پانچ اعشاریہ دو فیصد رہی، جب کہ خدمات کے شعبے میں یہ پانچ اعشاریہ آٹھ فیصد رہی۔ ڈار کا مزید کہنا تھا کہ جی ڈی پی کی شرحِ نمو کو اگلے مالی سال میں چھ فیصد تک لے کر جائیں گے۔ اس کے علاوہ وفاقی ترقیاتی بجٹ کی مد میں اکیس کھرب روپے خرچ کیے جائیں گے۔ پچپن لاکھ خاندان حکومت کی سوشل سیکورٹی پالیسی سے فائدہ اٹھائیں گے۔ سرکاری ملازمین کی تنخواہوں اور پینشنوں میں دس فیصد اضافہ کیا جائے گا۔
انہوں نے دعویٰ کیا کہ نواز حکومت نے کسانوں کو چھ سوارب کے قرضے دیئے۔ عالمی مالیاتی ادارے کے نئے پیمانے کے مطابق غربت میں بھی کمی ہوئی ہے، جو دوہزار دو میں 64 فیصد تھی اور دوہزار چودہ میں یہ 29.5 فیصد ہوئی۔ اس سال مارچ تک پانچ ہزار سے زیادہ کمپنیاں رجسٹرڈ ہوئیں اور زرمبادلہ کے ذخائر میں بھی اضافہ ہوا، جو اب سولہ ارب ڈالرز ہے۔

تجزیہ نگاروں کے خیال میں وزیرِ خزانہ کے یہ دعوے حقیقت کی عکاسی نہیں کرتے۔ ذرائع ابلاغ کے مطابق پاکستان کے کئی شہروں میں لوڈشیڈنگ کا جن بے قابو ہے۔ کراچی جیسے شہر میں کئی کئی گھنٹوں تک بجلی کی آنکھ مچولی چلتی رہتی ہے جب کہ دیہی علاقوں کا کوئی پر سانِ حا ل نہیں ہے، جہاں اٹھارہ اٹھارہ گھنٹے کی لوڈ شیڈنگ ہو رہی ہے۔ ملک میں زراعت کے شعبے کو بھی گزشتہ پانچ سالوں میں شدید دھچکا لگا ہے اور صنعتی شعبے کی بھی بری کارکردگی کی وجہ سے ایکسپورٹ کم ہوئی ہیں۔
معروف معیشت دان ڈاکڑ عذرا طلعت سعید نے موجودہ حکومت کی پانچ سالہ معاشی کارکردگی پر تبصرہ کرتے ہوئے ڈوئچے ویلے کو بتایا، ’’پانچ سال میں اس حکومت نے کوئی عوام دوست بجٹ پیش نہیں کیا۔ میں زرعی شعبے سے منسلک ہوں اور کسانوں کے ساتھ کام کرتی ہوں۔ تو اس شعبے کے حوالے سے میں یہ کہہ سکتی ہوں کہ حکومت نے جو سبسڈی دی، اس سے چھوٹے کسانوں کو کوئی فائدہ نہیں ہوا۔ یہ کسان پاکستان کی اکثریت ہیں۔ حکومت کی پرائس پالیسی نے ان غریب کسانوں کا کوئی بھلا نہیں کیا۔ زراعت کے شعبے میں کوئی ریگولیشن نہیں ہے اور نہ وہاں کوئی کم سے کم اجرت کا تصور ہے۔ کیڑے مار دوا، یوریا، فرٹیلایرز اور دوسرے کیمیکلز پر سبسڈی دے کر انہوں نے نہ صرف زراعت اور دیہی مزدوروں کا نقصان کیا ہے بلکہ پورے معاشرے کو بھی ایک تباہی سے دو چار کر دیا ہے۔ ان کیمیکلز کی وجہ سے سرطان سمیت کئی امراض بڑھ رہے ہیں۔ جراثیم کش ادویات کے اسپرے کے بعد جب خواتین کھیتوں میں جا کر کام کرتی ہیں تو ان کے ہاتھوں میں زخم لگتے ہیں جس کی وجہ سے یہ جراثیم کش ادویات کے کیمیکلز براہ راست ان کے خون میں داخل ہوجاتے ہیں، جس سے انہیں کئی طرح کی بیماریاں لاحق ہو رہی ہیں۔ کیمیکلز ذدہ اس خوراک کو جب عام پاکستانی کھاتے ہیں تو وہ کئی طرح کی بیماریوں میں مبتلا ہو جاتے ہیں، جس میں سرطان سرِ فہرست ہے۔ لیکن کسان جو اس ملک کی اکثریت ہیں ان کا کوئی پر سان حال نہیں۔‘‘
ایک سوال کے جواب میں انہوں نے کہا،’’ کسانوں کو نہیں بلکہ ایکسپورٹرز کو سبسڈی دی جاتی ہے یا پھر زرعی اجناس کے تاجروں کو۔ مثال کے طور پر گندم کو پیک کرنے کے لیے ایک مخصوص طریقے کی بوری ہوتی ہے، جسے بار دانہ کہتے ہیں۔ اگر آپ اس بوری میں گندم پیک کریں تو آپ حکومت کو گندم کی ایک من کی بوری تیرہ سو روپے میں فروخت کر سکتے ہیں ورنہ آپ کو اوپن مارکیٹ میں یہ گیارہ سو روپے کی بیچنی پڑے گی۔ یہ بوریاں با اثر تاجروں اور جاگیرداروں کے پاس ہوتی ہیں، کسانوں کے پاس نہیں۔ تو اس کا فائدہ بڑے اور بااثر لوگوں کو ہوتا ہے۔ بالکل اسی طرح ملک میں شوگر ملز کی ملکیت زرداری، نواز اور دوسرے با اثر لوگوں کے ہاتھ میں ہے۔ ان لوگوں نے شوگر کے کاروبار میں اربوں روپیہ کمایا ہے لیکن کسان کی حالت یہ ہے کہ آٹھ دیہی مزدور مل کر ایک گنے کے ٹرک کو بھرتے ہیں اور اس میں انہیں پورے تین دن لگتے ہیں اور اگر آپ ان کی اجرت کا سنے تو آپ کو رونا آئے گا۔‘‘

کراچی یونیورسٹی کے اپلائیڈ اکنامکس ریسرچ انسٹیٹوٹ سے وابستہ سید ضیاء عباس رضوی کا کہنا ہے کہ موجودہ حکومت کے پانچ برسوں کی معاشی پالیسی کا نتیجہ یہ ہے کہ ہماری برآمدات بڑھنے کے بجائے کم ہورہی ہیں،’’اس حکومت کے دور میں یورپی یونین نے ہمیں جی ایس پی پلس کا درجہ دیا جو ہمارے لیے بہترین موقع تھا کہ ہم بیلنس آف ٹریڈ کو بہتر کریں لیکن سیاسی عدم استحکام اور کرپشن کی وجہ سے یہ ممکن نہیں ہوسکا۔ ہمارے صنعت کاروں نے حکومت سے آسان شرائط پر قرضے لیے لیکن ان کو صنعتی شعبے میں لگانے کے بجائے زیادہ منافع کے چکر میں اسے پاکستان اور دبئی کی رئیل اسٹیٹ میں لگایا۔ حکومت کو چاہیے تھا کہ ان قرضوں کے استعمال کو چیک کرنے کا کوئی سسٹم بنائے۔ اس کے علاوہ ایف بی آر کی طرف سے ریبیٹ کی مد میں صنعت کاروں کا جو پیسہ روکا جاتا ہے، اس سے بھی صنعتی پیداوار متاثر ہوتی ہے، جس کا اثر آپ کی بر آمدات پر بھی پڑتا ہے۔‘‘
انسانی ترقی کے شعبے میں بھی حکومت کی کارکردگی بہتر نظر نہیں آئی۔ معروف دانشور ڈاکڑ مہدی حسن نے مطابق پاکستان میں تعلیم کی شرح بڑھنے کے بجائے گھٹ رہی ہے۔ انہیں نے ڈی ڈبلیو کو بتایا، ’’حکومت کے اپنے اعداد و شمار کے مطابق تعلیم کی شرح میں دو فیصد کمی ہوئی ہے۔ اس کی وجہ یہ بھی ہے کہ ہمارے معاشرے میں بلند مقام حاصل کرنے کے لیے تعلیم ضرورری نہیں ہے۔ اس حکومت نے یہ سمجھا ہے کہ صرف سڑکیں بنانے سے قومیں ترقی کرتی ہیں۔ آج تک کسی حکومت نے بھی تعلیم پر جی ڈی پی کا چار فیصد خرچ نہیں کیا، جو یونیسکو کے مطابق کم از کم ہے۔ بے نظیر کے دوسرے دورِ حکومت میں یہ شرح تین اعشاریہ آٹھ فیصد تک گئی تھی، جو ستر برسوں میں بلند ترین ہے۔ تو جب آپ تعلیم پر خرچ ہی نہیں کریں گے تو خواندگی کیسے بڑھے گی۔‘‘

http://www.dw.com/ur/%DA%A9%DB%8C%D8%A7-%DA%A9%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%B2%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A2%D8%AF%D9%85%DB%8C-%DA%A9%DB%92-%D9%84%DB%8C%DB%92-%D8%A8%D8%AC%D9%B9-%D9%85%DB%8C%DA%BA-%DA%A9%DA%86%DA%BE-%DB%81%DB%92/a-39000867

 

CHINESE SEED FIRM, UAF SIGN MOU

Business Recorder, 13 April 2017

FAISALABAD: Wuhan Qingfa-Hesbeng Seed Co Ltd China and University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) on Wednesday inked a memorandum of understanding to work together on seed varieties, breeding, screening and production technology.

The MoU was duly inked by UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan and the Chinese company General Manager Zhu Xiaobo at New Senate Hall UAF. The MoU was followed by a seminar on Seed certification for crop improvement arranged by UAF Seed Science and Technology.

It was agreed upon that the Chinese seed company will provide hybrids varieties and breeding material for screen test and local seed production. The Chinese company will also award scholarships to outstanding and needy students. It will provide internship opportunity for students to gain practical and infield knowledge.

The UAF will map out projects to introduce the advanced research with seed industry. The UAF will include the course material recommended by Chinese seed company in its curriculum and academic programme on seed science and technology.

Chairing the seminar Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that lack of quality and certified seed coupled with inappropriate methods of sowing were a matter of concern for the country.

He also said, “We are unable to get benefit from quality seed because it (quality seed) was being sown with broadcasting method”. He urged the farmers to apply drill showing to enhance per acre production. He said that the University had introduced Seed sciences major in the degree programmes. He said that Seed Centre was established to conduct the research and preserve the germplasm. He said that as you sow, so shall you reap. He said that agriculture sector faces the daunting challenges of climate change. He stressed upon the need to adopt innovative crop varieties complemented with quality seed to the farming community.

Pakistan Seed Promotion Alliance President Dr Shakeel Ahmad Khan called for providing the enabling environment for seed sector.

He said that seed act is the hallmark step to address the issue at the national level. There is a dire need to aware the masses about the act and its implementation. He said professionals trained in seed regulations, and handling issues would help the county overcome the problems in the seed sector. He said that UAF sciences programs must be replicated in the other universities.

Minnesota Crop Improvement Association President Dr Fawad Shah said that there is need to ensure the quality seed for the farming community as it will help in food security. He said that per acre productivity in the country was very low for which modern seeding and quality seed would pave the way for the development.

Zhu Xiaobo said that the collaboration will help address the agricultural issues. She said Wuhan Qingfa-Hesbeng Seed Co Ltd is a leading seed company in China which is integrating with breeding production and domestic and international marketing of field crops and vegetables.seed methods.

http://epaper.brecorder.com/2017/04/13/13-page/866688-news.html

The Day of the Landless March 29,2017

Press Release:

The Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and Roots for Equity in collaboration with the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), Pesticide Action Network (PAN AP) and other Asian organizations marked the Day of the Landless under the theme “Fight for Land! Fight for Life! Intensifying the Struggle against the Global Land Grabbing!” The Day of the Landless acknowledges and registers the struggles of farmers across the world that have been forcefully evicted from their land, even though they and their ancestors have lived on these lands for many generations. A number of countries including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka held various events to mark the day.

Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek and Roots for Equity lodged their protest on the Day of the Landless by holding a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, Peshawar, and a protest in front of the Ghotki Press Club, Ghotki, Sindh.

Altaf Hussain, PKMT National Coordinator spoke against pro-investment policies that were being promoted to implement various development projects, and economic zones including the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that were leading to increasing cases of land grab, including those happening in Hattar, Haripur. He pointed out that farmers, who were already facing hardship due to ongoing operations against fundamentalism, were further pushed toward loss of livelihood, hunger and impoverishment due to land grab made for the Northern Bypass, Peshawar and Hattar Economic Zone. PKMT’s Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KPK) Provincial Coordinator, Fayaz Ahmed, rejected the provincial government’s notification for acquiring 1,000 acres agricultural land in Hattar, Haripur. He pointed out that a previous land grab in 2008 by the provincial government of about 3400 canal (435 acres) of land – a highly exploitative measure – had also forced farmers to sell their land for which they received negligible compensation. Once more, in the name of development, farmers are being evicted from their land, which will lead to their deprivation, leading to not only increase in hunger and poverty in the province but also have negative impact on national agriculture economy and food security. Alftaf Hussain pointed out that land is farmers’ right, and now farmers will not allow themselves to be evicted from land – there is no doubt that the farmers from Hattar and surrounding areas totally reject the government’s notification for further land acquisition.

PKMT National Coordinator Altaf Hussain along with Provincial Coordinator Fayaz Ahmed during a Press Conference on Day of the Landless

PKMT also lead a protest in Ghotki, Sindh, against farmers being evicted from land. The PKMT Sindh Provincial Coordinator, Ali Nawaz Jalbani spoke against the eviction of farmers from Ghotki Seed Farm, Omer Dhoko Farm, and Ruk Farm. addition, Jalbani pointed that farmers have also been evicted from 1,872 acres of Cotton Research Farm where farmers had been living for many decades and regularly paid the government the stipulated share of production. He pointed out that instead of using an adjoining vast area of non-agricultural land, farmers are being evicted for developing residential areas on very fertile agricultural land. Ali Gohar, Ghotki Coordinator, PKMT pointed out that 70.8 percent of households in Sindh were already suffering from malnutrition and poverty from the oppressive exploitative feudal land lords in the province, and to push profit-oriented real estate development projects in the province would intensify hunger and poverty in the province.

Neoliberal policies across the country were the reason for evicting small and landless farmers so that grabbed land would be given to investors and foreign corporations. The profit driven agenda to develop free economic zones, highways and various infrastructure projects will intensify hunger and poverty in the country. PKMT demands that all land grab policies must be stopped immediately; instead equitable land distribution must be carried out among women and men farmers that will be the basis for eradicating not only hunger and poverty but also lead to food sovereignty.

Food Sovereignty our Right!

Released by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT)

Urdu Press Release:

The Day of the Landless March 29