Economists believe that agriculture can help assist in reduction of poverty, increase incomes and enhance food security for 80 percent of the world’s poor living in rural areas and chiefly working as farmers.
Unfortunately this sector of Pakistan has a little attention from government side and it is suffering from the burdens of expensive fertilizer, costly medicines and of spreading water shortages. The Ministry of Finance recorded that the Pakistan’s agriculture sector contributes 18.9 percent to GDP and absorbs 42.3 percent of labor force. The sector is also a significant source of foreign exchange earnings and stimulates growth in other sectors. Nevertheless, because of lack of water our agriculture sector is on the downward trend day-by-day.
The Government of Pakistan statistics showed that during 2017-18, cotton production reached at 11.935 million bales and registered growth of 11.8 percent over the production of 10.671 million bales during corresponding period previous year. Cotton crop has 1.0 percent share in GDP and shares 5.5 percent in agriculture value addition. It is also recorded that cotton crop was cultivated on an area of 2,699 thousand hectares as against to previous year’s area of 2,489 thousand hectares, explaining a rise of 8.4 percent.
The government figures also explained that sugarcane is high value cash crop of Pakistan and is considerably significant for sugar and sugar related industries in the nationwide economy. It offers raw material for industry which is Pakistan’s second largest agro-industry sector after textiles. The FY2017-18, witnessed another record season for the sugarcane crop production tons explaining a rise of 7.4 percent over the previous year’s production of 75.482 tons which comfortably exceeded the target of 70.3 million tons by a considerable margin of 15.4 percent. Its production accounts 3.6 percent in agriculture’s value addition and 0.7 percent in overall GDP. The government experts also calculated that sugarcane crop was cultivated on an area of 1,313 as against to last year’s area of 1,281 hectares witnessed a rise of 7.8 percent.
|Agriculture growth in Pakistan (%) (Base=2005-06) (P)|
|i) Important Crops||7.87||0.17||7.22||-1.62||-5.86||2.18||3.57|
|ii) Other Crops||-7.52||5.58||-5.71||2.51||0.40||-2.66||3.33|
|iii) Cotton Ginning||13.83||-2.90||-1.33||7.24||-22.12||5.58||8.72|
The experts also registered that during 2017 cultivated under rice crop has increased by percent to 2,899 thousand hectares as against to 2,724 thousand hectares of the same period of last year. The production of rice stood historically high level of 7 thousand tons as compared to the production of 6 thousand tons and registered percent over production of previous year. It is also recorded that rice accounts for 3.1 percent in the value added in agriculture and 0.6 percent of GDP. Rice area rose because of higher local prices and availability of inputs on subsidize advisory.
The Ministry of Finance also registered that during FY2017-18, wheat crop was cultivated on an area of 8,734 thousand hectares explaining a decline of 2.6 percent as against to 8,972 thousand hectares during the same period previous year. Wheat production reached at 25.492 million tons during FY2018 registering a fall of 4.4 percent over the production of 26.674 million tons previous year. It is said that wheat accounts for 9.1 percent of the value added in agriculture and 1.7 percent of GDP of the country. Experts also recorded that the shortfall in production is attributed to fall in area sown, delayed and prolonged sugarcane crushing season, acute water shortages and fog and smog in Pakistan.
During FY2018, maize crop was cultivated on an area of 1,229 thousand hectares and posted fall of 8.8 percent over last year’s cultivated area of 1,348 thousand hectares. Maize crop production registered a fall of 7.0 percent as its production reached at 5.702 million tons as against to the previous year’s production of 6.134 million tons. Maize contributes 2.4 percent value added in agriculture and 0.5 percent to GDP. The fall in production occurred because of fall in area cultivated as maize growers switched over to cotton, sugarcane and rice crops.