The Struggle of Rural Communities for Food System Change!

Press Release

October 16, 2020

Roots for Equity and the Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) in collaboration with  People’s Coalition for Food Security (PCFS), Pesticide Action Network, Asia and  Pacific (PAN AP) and Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) is marking the World Food Day as World Hunger Day on October 16, 2020. A webinar and protest has been organized in this regard in which small and landless peasants including PKMT members participated from different districts.

This event is part of a campaign, launched on the occasion of World Hunger Day, and titled “Rural People are Hungry for Food System Change”. It aims to promote a strategy for highlighting the toxic impacts of industrial chemical agriculture production systems and the acute need for food sovereignty and agro-ecology based food production systems. This year’s global campaign focuses on the plight of rural populations during the pandemic, and their demands for changes in the food and agricultural systems.

Tariq Mehmood, a member of PKMT, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, spoke on the situation of hunger, poverty and unemployment during the Covid19 pandemic, He said that the transnational mega agro-chemical corporations’ domination in the food and agriculture system around the world, their exploitation and destruction of biodiversity and natural habitats is a catalyst for Corona pandemic.

According to a report by the United Nations FAO (The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World), the epidemic could lead another 83 to 132 million people suffering from hunger by 2020, and if the current situation continues by 2030, 841.4 million people in the world will be hungry.

According to a member of PKMT Mohammad Zaman from Sahiwal, it is reported in the Pakistan Economic Survey 2019-20, the corona virus had a severe negative impact on the Pakistani economy and at least another 10 million people are feared to be pushed to living below the poverty line in Pakistan. The number could increase from 50 million presently to 60 million.

In the Global Hunger Index, Pakistan ranks 106th out of 119 countries where consumption of meat, poultry, fish, milk, vegetables and fruits is six to 10 times lower than that of developed countries. The worsening situation of hunger and poverty can be gauged from the statement of Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Poverty and Social Protection, that “almost half of the country’s population will be covered by the Ehsas Program.” The statement indicates that in Pakistan, where almost half of the population is employed in the agricultural sector, the current epidemic of rising hunger, poverty and unemployment has exacerbated the pervasive exploitation and brutality of this rotten food and agriculture system that is based extracting super-profits from the poorest segments of society.

Speaking on the global food and employment crisis, Wali Haider, of Roots for Equity said that rural populations around the world are already aware of these facts and now the food and employment crisis and growing hunger during the Corona virus pandemic has proved that the current system of food and agriculture, which is dominated by the big capitalist countries and their for profit companies, has failed.

This domination of the imperialist powers over the global food and agriculture system has linked the local rural economy, in third world countries like Pakistan, to the global agricultural market. This has resulted in the most important resources like our agricultural produce, our land and water have become a source of surplus profits for multinational corporations.  A clear example of this is the increasing production of sugarcane and other cash crops for the production and export of agro-fuels like ethanol, while the production of the most important food crops such as wheat is declining.

This is one of the reasons for the rise in food prices and the consequent increase in hunger. There is an urgent need to change the system where farmers are forced to depend on seeds, chemicals and toxic inputs of companies. These chemicals also pollute the entire food and agricultural system and destruction of the ecosystems and biodiversity.

In contrast, a sustainable food production system, agro-ecology, provides farmers with a strategy that protects not only their rights but also of other small food producers. Farmers’ right to land under agro ecology guarantees the establishment of collective and individual seed banks and their exchange. It also protects and promotes safe and natural systems of food and agriculture production ensuring food security of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities as well as safe nutritious food and environment for all.

Speaking on the women farmers’ rights Azra Sayeed of Roots for Equity said that the livestock and dairy sector accounts for 56% of the total agricultural production and the majority of farmers involved in milk and meat production are small scale. It consists of cattle breeders, especially women, who make it possible to produce 60 billion liters of milk annually in the country, but these same rural populations are starving themselves as a result of the monopoly of capitalist companies in the food and agriculture sector.

In the name of achieving so called standardization of milk, meat and other foods, corporations are paving a clear path to monopolizing the dairy and meat sector. This will only lead to further exacerbation of hunger and malnutrition in the country. It is important to note that according to the National Nutrition Survey 2018, 53% of children and 44.3% of women in the country are suffering from anemia.

Raja Mujeeb, a member of PKMT Sindh, referring to the small and landless peasants are most affected by the Covid19 epidemic, said that food producers have been forced to depend on poor quality seeds where the companies have established a monopoly and at the same time land is in the hands of feudal lords and increasing encroachment of capitalist systems of production and marketing.

If the farmers have control over all the productive resources including land and seeds, then our farmers, laborers, fishermen and the rural population can get food even in the face of the current pandemic or any kind of emergency. That is why PKMT believes that food sovereignty and self-sufficiency in food and agriculture based an end to feudalism through just and equitable land distribution among farmers and imperialist food policies is critical for a peaceful democratic sovereign state!

Released by: Roots for Equity & Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT)

Press Release in Urdu (PDF)

Free virus testing for workers demanded

May 02, 2020

PESHAWAR: The rights activists on Friday demanded of the government to start free mass coronavirus testing, especially for workers and farmers, besides ensuring their social protection.

The demand was made during a webinar organised by Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek and NGO Roots for Equity here to mark the Labour Day.

The panelists included labour and peasant leaders and rights activists from different cities, including Dr Azra Talat Sayeed, Tariq Mehmood, Raja Mujeeb, Junaid Awan, Zahoor Joya and Wali Haider.

They said the Covid-19 pandemic had not only exposed the ineffectiveness of the capitalist system to deal with a crisis but also its ‘criminal tendency’ to disregard hunger and impoverishment suffered by the people at the current critical juncture prioritising profits over people.

They added that in the face of the pandemic, deregulation, privatisation and trade liberalisation policies were the structural reasons for the workers facing joblessness, financial instability and lack of health and other forms of social protection.

The panelists said that in the pre-neoliberal era, workers were given job protection, healthcare, education, shelter and other facilities.

They said under privatisation, even the right to permanent job security had been eroded and that was the basic reason for joblessness, poverty and hunger in the country, which had aggravated under the pandemic.

The panelists said during the Covid-19 crisis, factories and businesses had been closed leaving workers with acute economic hardship.

They said according to the provincial planning and development department, if the lockdown continued than 460,000 workers, including daily wagers and street vendors, would be left without a livelihood.

The panelists said in the Hattar Industrial zone, many hundreds of workers had already been laid off.

They claimed that the relief package provided by the federal and provincial governments was inaccessible for a majority of workers due to lack of registration and other handicaps.

The panelists said women faced increased domestic violence under the pandemic as well as economic hardship and hunger.

They said self-sufficiency and self reliance including food-self sufficiency was a critical element for national stability and development and that was only possible when workers had full access and control over resources and production to pave the way for a peaceful prosperous sovereign nation without the shackles of imperialism.

The panelists demanded of the government to guarantee incomes and benefits, cash grants and relief or the working people and nationalise public health system, respect democratic and human rights.

They said sanctions against Iran, Palestine and several other countries should be lifted.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2020

ہفتہ وار زرعی خبریں اپریل 2020

اپریل 16 تا 22 اپریل، 2020


ایک خبر کے مطابق اسپیکر قومی اسمبلی اسد قیصر نے کہا ہے کہ آئندہ بجٹ زرعی شعبہ کی بحالی کا ایک موقع ثابت ہوسکتا ہے۔ پاکستان کے زرعی شعبہ کو عالمی سطح پر مسابقت کے قابل بنانے کے لیے کسان دوست پالیسیوں پر مبنی ماحول انتہائی اہم ہے۔ زرعی شعبہ میں بڑے پیمانے پر سرمایہ کاری مراعات (پیکجز) کی ضرورت ہے کیونکہ یہ شعبہ پاکستان کے قومی غذائی تحفظ، غربت کے خاتمے اور مستقبل میں ممکنہ پائیدار روزگار کے لیے اہم ہے اور رہے گا۔ انہوں نے مزید کہا کہ قومی اسمبلی کی خصوصی کمیٹی برائے زراعت کسانوں اور زرعی شعبہ کے مفادات کے تحفظ کے لیے موثر اقدامات کرے گی جو آئندہ بجٹ میں نمایاں ہونگے۔
(دی ایکسپریس ٹریبیون، 17 اپریل، صفحہ3) Continue reading

ہفتہ وار زرعی خبریں اپریل 2020

اپریل 9 تا 15 اپریل، 2020


وزیر زراعت سندھ، محمد اسماعیل راہو نے ٹڈی دل کا کرونا وائرس سے موازنہ کرتے ہوئے سندھ میں ٹڈی دل کے خاتمے کے لیے فضائی چھڑکاؤ نہ کرنے پر وفاقی حکومت کو شدید تنقید کا نشانہ بنایا ہے۔ صوبائی وزیر کا کہنا تھا کہ ٹڈی دل کرونا وائرس کی طرح ہی خطرناک ہوسکتا ہے۔ ٹڈی دل گھوٹکی میں پہلے ہی حملہ آور ہوچکے ہیں جن کے خاتمے کے لیے وفاقی حکومت نے انتہائی معمولی اقدامات کیے جس کے نتیجے میں صوبائی محکمہ خوراک کو فضائی چھڑکاؤ کے انتظامات کرنے پڑے۔ صوبائی وزیر نے محکمہ تحفظ نباتات (پلانٹ پروٹیکشن ڈپارٹمنٹ) کی کاہلی پر تنقید کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ ”اگر یہ ادارہ باقاعدہ کام نہیں کرسکتا تو اسے بند کردینا چاہیے“۔ ٹڈی دل کا خاتمہ صرف فضائی چھڑکاؤ سے ہی کیا جاسکتا ہے جو وفاقی حکومت کی ذمہ داری ہے۔
(دی ایکسپریس ٹریبیون، 13 اپریل، صفحہ5)

Continue reading

Landless Farmers Day marked: ‘Lockdown and quarantines should not increase people’s sufferings’

Our Correspondent
March 31, 2020

SUKKUR: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) and Roots for Equity, a local NGO, joined hands with the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), and Pesticide Action Network Asia & the Pacific (PANAP) to mark the Landless Farmers Day.

PKMT celebrated the Landless Farmers Day with utmost concern as landless farmers were among the most vulnerable to be affected with the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more, the farmers are forced to work in an informal sector on daily wages in a vulnerable condition bearing the heat of health crisis, especially of COVID-19. The experts said COVID-19 has paralysed almost all economic activities and pushed the world to further food insecurity and poverty.

They said many countries had implemented lockdowns and set up quarantine centres for coronavirus suspects to minimise the impact of COVID-19, adding that the agriculture and food supply chain had been facing great disruption causing escalation in food prices.They suggested the lockdown and quarantines should not be carried out to increase people’s sufferings like food scarcity and provision of other basic essentials. They said it should be ensured that there was no further displacement of rural people from their lands on the pretext of COVID-19 or lockdown, demanded to provide sufficient resources to the people living in the rural areas.

Feeding our “Swarming Millions”

Azra Talat Sayeed

The question of “feeding the stomach of our swarming millions’ keeps getting raised over and over again. It seems that there is no other way to reach this objective without accepting genetically modified seeds. But such a myopic viewpoint can only be termed nonsensical. Hunger can easily be assuqged without GMO crops, if only our government would not allow wheat to rot in godams, and instead give it to the people facing acute hunger and malnutrition. With surplus wheat production in the country, the constant harping on the hunger of the people seems a bit silly. GM seeds have been used in cotton which is not a food crop, but has ultimately resulted in further impoverishment of our masses, especially rural women. The cotton harvest has been destroyed systematically. From cotton to maize seems the next corporate driven agenda. We know very well, that GM maize is not meant as food but for ethanol.

In Pakistan, we have shifted to sugarcane from cotton: driven by the profit driven market for ethanol. Now, maize follows the same ‘logic’. Do we know that hybrid and GM variety of maize seeds, apart from producing ethanol are also being developed purely to produce fodder that would increase the quantity of animal manure which would then be used for producing bio-diesel? We are turning agriculture into an ‘assembly line production system’ to meet the unquenchable thirst of capitalism on oil? Can we forget the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in Iraq? Was it WMD or oil? So, it goes on – oil of course remains top priority – but so is ethanol. Do we recall the food crisis of 2008? It was driven by corn production in the US to produce ethanol. Fuel is life blood of capitalism – its industrialised economy cannot run without energy. And capitalism is blood thirsty: history has shown this over and over again. We would be fools to forget what the search for profits has resulted in the short history of capitalism.

Talking about alienating hunger through modern agriculture is really nothing new. I would like to quote a US senator. In 1957, Senator Hubert Humphrey said:

“I have heard . . . that people may become dependent on us for food. I know that was not supposed to be good news. To me, that was good news, because before people can do anything they have got to eat. And if you are looking for a way to get people to lean on you and to be dependent on you, in terms of their cooperation with you, it seems to me that food dependence would be terrific.” (Global Rift, Third World Comes of Age, L. S. Stavrianos, p 443)

And in wake of such an imperialist vision came the Green Revolution. Today Pakistan is totally dependent for its seed on mega agro-chemical corporations, with nearly all of them based in North America and Europe with China recently jumping in. So let us be clear: GM technology is furthering the imperialist agenda of controlling our agriculture sector, ensuring a trade deficit, keeping us drowned in debt. It is not about ‘feeding our swarming populations.”

It is unfortunate that these debates are no longer only about getting our people out of debt and hunger, this is now about saving our world; saving ourselves from global warming. I would remind us that the ‘swarming millions’ right now are suffering from unbearable heat across the nation. Our biodiversity across the globe is on the verge of collapse. Science is no more independent and corporations are coming up with short-term profit seeking destructive technologies.

Humans and all living things on this planet are suffering, which seems such a mild statement for the unbearable misery and impoverishment of the masses across the globe. We really need to read history, and learn and go forward. Colonization may be dead but it seems to have given birth to an unnatural monster: Neo-colonization which is now a grotesque reality. We need to stop saying, believing and fighting for what are colonial and Neo-colonial masters and mistresses dictate. If we really want a peaceful, prosperous world, free from hunger and poverty, there is no other way but to fight for our liberation.

In Response to 15 Years of Lie and Deceit: Indeed No More!

PRESS RELEASE                                                            

January 9, 2018

The President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump on January 1, 2018 sent a tweet in which he states that his country had ‘foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years. . . . No more!” Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Tehreek and Roots for Equity beseech, beg, and plead, the President of the United States and its people, (on whose behalf US aid is provided), to at least keep this ONE promise of NO MORE!.

Let us recount what this ‘foolish aid’ and engaging in the so called War on Terror has cost the people of Pakistan: more At least 1,000 NATO and drone attacks, and suicide bombings have left more than 40,000 dead, and 20,000 injured; not to include destruction of our livelihood, infrastructure, agriculture, livestock, industrial production and other economic aspects of daily life. But the economic cost is nothing in contrast to the absolute loss of dignity and peace that we, the people of Pakistan have suffered. Our constitution was changed to allow for unchecked ‘security measures,’ we the people of Pakistan, each one of us, are potential ‘terrorist’, even by our own law enforcement agencies. Our young people and youth have grown up in a state of terror, not being allowed peaceful dignified existence in our communities. Millions have been forced to be displaced, living as refugees in the country. Our people’s organizations are searched, humiliated, and subjugated at every step; people’s rights, civil rights are all severely curtailed! All this because of your ‘foolish aid’.

The history of US economic and military aid needs to be examined from the early years of Pakistan. US AID reports admit that development loans (not grants) for millions of dollars’ worth of fertilizers to Pakistan were provided. The introduction of green revolution technologies supported by Ford and Rockefeller Foundation, wiped out our traditional agriculture, creating a huge market for US agriculture corporations; as a result today millions of farmers are deep in debt – (just like the Pakistani government), suffering from malnutrition, hunger and impoverishment. Today, the clarion call of aid agencies is Food Fortification; thank you Green Revolution! Millions of children and adults are now suffering from micronutrient deficiency because of fertilizers and HYV seeds of Green Revolution. So, first US AID has caused disease and death through highly toxic agriculture inputs, and now the ‘remedy’ is fortified therapeutic foods. US AID is pouring in millions of dollars aid through the UN agencies including the World Food Program and UNICEF for food fortification. Based on testimonies given to the US Congress, US international food aid from farm to foreign ports provides the following benefits:

$1,972,000,000 in output of all US industries

$518,000,000 in earnings of households and 13,043 jobs

So, on one hand US economy is maintained by sending us in-kind food, and on the other a new ‘Gift’ is fortified food. This is the next billion dollar market created through food fortification. US Corporations like Kellogg and General Mills among others, supported by USAID, USDA have ‘foolishly helped’ the government of Pakistan reforms our laws and standards so that fortified foods can be force-fully marketed to the hungry, malnourished people of Pakistan.

This is similar to what has been done for changing seed laws in 2015. The meager $6 billion US Aid from the Kerry Lugar Bill in the name of economic and emergency aid for the people, has been used to bring about huge legislative changes in various sectors including agriculture and energy pushing for privatization, liberalization and deregulation. US AID has particularly pushed Pakistani agriculture research toward paving the way for US corporations.

No doubt, the US state is imperialist! We put our hopes in the people of the US. We ask them to stand with the people of Pakistan and not send any more aid ‘in their name. Please Mr. Trump, NO MORE MILITARY, ECONOMIC, HUMANITARIAN, FOOD AID to the people of Pakistan; and (using us a conduit) to the people of Afghanistan. As an ‘honest American citizen’ and the leader of such a ‘great nation’ we hope you will keep this promise, at least!

Released by: Pakistan Kissan Mazdoor Tehreek (PKMT) & Roots for Equity

Urdu Press Release

Urdu Press Release

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۔‘‘


US Returns Rice Infested With World’s Most Destructive Insect To Pakistan

World | Press Trust of India | Updated: September 13, 2016

US returned a consignment of Pakistani rice which was found infested with the deadly Khapra beetle

US returned a consignment of Pakistani rice which was found infested with the deadly Khapra beetle

WASHINGTON:  A consignment of rice from Pakistan was found infested with one of the world’s most destructive insect pests, Khapra beetle, by US customs officials at a port, officials said.

US Customs and Border Agriculture Specialists intercepted four Khapra beetle larva cast skins in the shipment of rice originating from Pakistan on September 8 at the Norfolk,Virginia port of entry.

The shipment was then sent back to Pakistan.

The skins were found inside a sea container shipment under a plastic liner between the rice and the container floor, the US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

Specimens were submitted to the US Department of Agriculture for testing and Norfolk Customs officials received confirmation that the specimens were Khapra beetles. This is the second Khapra beetle detection this year.

There were three Khapra beetle interceptions last year. It is considered to be one of the world’s most destructive insect pests of grains, cereals and stored foods.

Insect pests, said to be less than one per cent of all species, are such insects that feed on, compete for food with, or transmit diseases to humans and livestock.

The Khapra beetle is labelled a ‘dirty feeder’ because it damages more grain than it consumes, and because it contaminates grain with body parts and hairs.


ISLAMABAD: The rich countries agreement to immediately eliminate agriculture export subsidies would provide a level-playing field to Pakistani exports, said Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan on Monday.

The WTO has not only agreed on elimination of agricultural export subsidies but also put more restrictions on Pakistan’s competitors, the minister said in a statement issued after attending the 10th WTO Ministerial in Nairobi, Kenya.

He said Nairobi decisions have helped improve prospects for Pakistani farmers and agriculture exports.

In cooperation with numerous allies, the minister said, Pakistan also successfully resisted a move by some large developing countries that could have hurt Pakistan’s agriculture trade through the said countries’ subsidised export of public stocks amassed in the name of food security.

Export subsidies of developed countries such as Australia, Canada, the European Union, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United States shall be eliminated immediately.

By contrast, export subsidies’ entitlement of developing countries like Uruguay, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Cyprus, Indonesia, Mexico, Panama, South Africa and Turkey, shall be eliminated by 2018.

Mr Dastgir said, “We resisted efforts by some large developing countries to prematurely amend WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture in the name of food security, which would allow them to distort trade in their favour by exporting public food stocks at subsidised prices.”
Pakistan also took the lead in welcoming Afghanistan’s formal accession to WTO, he added.

Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2015