Agriculture in Pakistan is in crisis. Diminishing yields, decreasing soil fertility, lack of quality inputs, and water scarcity have created a fragile ecosystem that has already been devastated by global warming and extreme weather events. This, in turn, threatens to devastate food systems and increase the economic disparity in an agriculture-dependent and vulnerable nation.To revive agriculture in Pakistan, it is critical to facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogues. On July 4, 2022, Acumen hosted “Reimagining Agriculture in Pakistan” – an event that brought together entrepreneurs, thinkers, and industry leaders from banks, development finance institutions, the public sector, and agri sector corporations. Panelists speaking at the event highlighted the need to reimagine the agri value chain, introduce pro-farmer legislation, and create an enabling regulatory framework.
Some of the core themes emerging from the discussions include: 1) Public-sector leadership is critical for agriculture development. Wherever agriculture has prospered, the government has led from the front; 2) The water, agriculture, and climate nexus is an existential issue for Pakistan; and 3) Data and technology are critical. Examples include P2P lending, digital financial solutions (DFS), smart farming, crop advisory, digital marketplaces, etc. The event also focused on highlighting the experience and insights of entrepreneurs working directly in the sector, through a spotlight session led by members of the Acumen community.
During her remarks, Dr Ayesha Khan, Managing Director, Acumen, highlighted the importance of focusing on climate resilient agriculture, continued dialogue, and collective action. “Agriculture lies at the core of our economy and the devastating impact of climate change means that the future of millions of smallholder farmers and the food security of our entire nation is at risk. We need to act now to ensure affordable, nutritious food for all, and it’s exciting to see a movement towards building solutions,” said Dr Khan.