Pakistan is an agricultural country. Agriculture is the mainstay of the country’s economy. However, it has been observed in the recent past that housing schemes have been mushrooming on fertile agricultural lands with the result that small farmers are abandoning agriculture and are migrating to cities for livelihood. Irregular urbanisation and rise of population pose tremendous risks for the environmental safety of the country. It is a serious issue, but the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is unable to stop urbanisation on private agricultural land as there was no law to restrict construction on agricultural land.

There is a strong need to stop utilisation of agricultural land for commercial, industrial purpose. Also, the federal government may review proposals to protect and preserve agricultural land from conversion to other uses with the help of the provincial governments to achieve sustainable development in agriculture and livestock sectors. Also, there is a need to focus on promoting organic farming, preventing soil degradation, and restoring and improving degraded lands. A need is also required to promote integrated pest management and discourage indiscriminate use of agro-chemicals, develop strategies and programmes to tackle desertification in line with the National Action Plan to combat desertification and droughts, and establish National Desertification Control Funds.

KHAN FARAZ,

Peshawar, February 17.