The 2017 census has put the total population of Pakistan at 207.8 million, with an estimated growth rate of 2 percent. On the other hand, Federal Committee on Agriculture statistics (2004-2011) showed stable or reduced wheat production. The FAO recorded decreased wheat production in 2017. Figures for sugarcane production figures show almost similar production rates (58-65 million tonnes) over the past few years with no major improvement in sight. It is the same story regarding most Pakistani crops. This gives rise to an urgent question: how will we feed the population? For we are an agricultural country that seems unable to match population surges with corresponding hikes in crop production. The produce we have is often heavily contaminated with agrochemical residue. In one Argentinean village, high residue levels of a commonly used herbicide were linked to an increase in the number of cancer patients locally. In Pakistan, we neither have a system to check such levels in the pre-harvesting phase nor have we investigated the long-term effects of these. The pattern of escalating health problems suggests concrete linkages between the latter and food quality. Unfortunately, it appears that measures to address this have resulted in overall food security risks. As per current research trends highlight: we want to effect increased production by resorting to genetically modified crops. In most of the European countries, these are banned because of the latter’s known impact on health and the environment. Another means of improving yield output is the repeated application of chemical fertilisers. The result of this is escalating costs of production as well as wastage of limited available nutrients like phosphorus. Similarly, the excessive use of agrochemicals contaminates food, feed and ground water, while also bumping up production costs. The lack of policy regulation combined with economic uncertainty has compelled farmers to grow just one or two crops. This lack of diversity is in itself a challenge for the agro-ecosystem. As is the absence of laws prohibiting burning crop residue, which has created a deficiency of soil-based essential organic matter. This creates hard soil surfaces that need excessive deep ploughing. Consequently, soil structure becomes damaged, precipitating surges in fuel imports and untold environmental damage. This all points to the need to review strategies addressing the food quality-food scarcity imbalance. Pakistan has risk-free GMO alternatives. And when part of a sensible and sustainable system, these can produce more than enough to meet both domestic and export demands Sustainable crop production is only possible through conservational agriculture, including minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop rotation. Minimum soil disturbance is helpful in improving soil structure and enhancing beneficial organisms already present in the soil. Permanent soil cover increases organic matter while preserving moisture. Crop rotation helps to diversify soil microbial communities and reduce pest pressure. This all leads to better soil conditions for better crop production. Higher yields are also associated with variety selection and Pakistan does have risk-free GMO alternatives. When part of a sensible and sustainable system they can produce more than enough to meet both domestic and export demands. Further research into GMO-free food and feed will pay for itself in terms of providing viable quality food without the risks associated with ‘engineered’ foodstuffs. In addition, we must reduce our dependency on chemical fertilisers and use them sparingly and in conjunction with bio-fertilisers. The latter represents an innovative approach whereby micro-organisms are used for better crop production. The gradual shift to organic farming is the long-term solution and represents the future. True, this produces fewer yields but the profits are still high and crop diversity can only be a good thing for the consumer market. Adjusting agricultural practices, according to our small farm holdings will reduce additional costs of production. For example, the use of heavy machinery is a must for farms with large landmass. Yet for a plot of one or two acres, bulls are a more prudent choice. Al these steps are crucial to Pakistan’s agricultural health. There should be no delay in terms of implementation, though this will require new legislation. Also needed is a public awareness campaign to discourage food wastage. In addition, the cultivation of less profitable crops should be encouraged by way of subsidies. Food must be tested for chemical residue before hitting markets. Last but not least, GMO products should be clearly labelled for consumer information. The writer has a PhD from Germany in Crop Sciences and is currently employed as a scientist in that country. He can be reached at email@example.com and his twitter handle is @Joshua_Lahro Published in Daily Times, August 30th 2017.