LAHORE - The country’s irrigation system bears around 60 percent losses due to poor management, revealed an annual report on Pakistan state of economy.

The report, prepared by Barki Institute of Public Policy Netsol, was launched at a local hotel here on Monday. Leading businessman Syed Babar Ali, Bangladesh’s former minister Dr Iftikar Ahmed and other known personalities addressed the event.

Focusing the country’s agriculture and water sector, the report stated Pakistan had large but inefficient and poorly managed irrigation system. “The system looses about 60 percent water during conveyance from head works to canal and to farm gate,” the report says.

The report also highlighted the unavailability of sustainable financing plan to address the issues. It stated that the government created 18 institutions to manage and develop water resources but no progress could be seen in this regard. The efforts to formulate a water policy also could not bear fruit, it added. The use of ground water has reached a limit beyond which increases the quality and sustainability concerns, it added.

Pointing out decline in agriculture growth during last decade, the report stated that the output growth averaged only two percent per during 2006-16 and was negative in 2015-16. It said the government only focused major crops especially wheat, neglecting high value crops and livestock sector. The report suggests innovative model for increasing agricultural productivity based on value chain and underscored the importance of access of farmers to finance.

The ceremony was also attended by BIPP Chairman Shahid Javed Burki, BIPP vice chairman Shahid Najam, BIPP Adviser Dr Mahmood Ahmad and BIPP Acting Director Asad Ejaz Butt.

While addressing the ceremony, the speakers said the economy may be turning the corner and approaching a sustainable rate of growth that has been attained by high-performing economies of the Asian continent.

 Syed Babar highlighted the need for establishment of an efficient water distribution system in the country. Pointing out the deprivation of small farmers in getting their due share of canal water, Babir emphasized the need to address their problems.

On the occasion, Barki appreciated the team of his institution for preparing a valuable report on the country’s economy.