We basically have an agrarian economy. Agriculture is considered to be our backbone as it contributes about 23% to the GDP and is responsible for at least 60% of our value-added exports. The main crops cultivated in our country are cotton, rice, wheat, sugarcane and tobacco. Due to problem in the availability of water to crops, this mega sector of our economy is stricken these days. The governments of the recent past ignored the agriculture sector in pursuance of the chimera of Pakistan becoming a modern, industrial state. They didn't seem to care if there was a shortage of water in rivers. India, meanwhile, has been continuously violating the Indus River Basin Treaty while Pakistan ignored it. All our chickens came home to roost when our farmers were forced this year to rely on tube wells and turbines to procure water. That is added cost to agricultural produce which, in turn, has led to very high food inflation in the country. The government needs to do some serious thinking about introduction of new techniques and advanced technologies in the country. Agro practices and polices should be revisited. This is a must if we are to boost crop production to a level where it could effectively contribute to increase in real incomes and also help us boost exports to generate greater foreign exchange. -MAMOONA SABA, Lahore, via e-mail, February 26.