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There should be a comprehensive planning to boost up the crop productivity with honest, zeal, enthusiasm and devotion

By Dr. S.M. ALAM, NIA, Tando Jam.
May 20 - June 02, 2002

Agriculture has been the backbone and barometer of almost every country of the world since time immemorial, but despite its pivotal position, every world food conference has expressed grave concern over the low productivity of crops in a major part of the world. The low productivity has consequently made many countries dependent upon some of advanced countries of the west. Production potentials are severely affected by soil and climate conditions, population structure, degree of development and a variety of socio-econornic factors. As a result of food policies and programmes, food self-sufficiency has achieved in some of the developed countries of the world.

Pakistan consists of four provinces, Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan plus federally administered Tribal Areas. The economy of the country is basically agrarian and is heavily dependent on irrigation largely confined to the Indus Plain. Country is part of the sub-continent south of Himalayan mountains situated between longitude 61 and 76 E and latitude 24 and 37 N. The climate in Pakistan is arid to semi-arid with temperatures ranging between 2 and 50 C. The mean annual precipitation ranges from less than 4 inches to more than 30 inches. There are great variations in the soils of Pakistan. Total geographical area of Pakistan (in square kilometers) is 796,096 (Punjab-205,344; Sindh-l40,914; NWFP-74,521; Balochistan-347,190, FATA-27,220 and Islamabad Federal Area-906), corresponding to 80.0 mha, and (20.60 mha; 14.10 mha; 10.20 mha; 34.67 mha of the four provinces of Pakistan, respectively). Most of the areas in the Punjab and Sindh provinces are plain land, formed by the River Indus. Pakistan is known for its excellent network of canals and rich agricultural lands, with three major reservoirs Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma, 23 barrages, 12 huge interlink canals, 62,800 kilometers canals length, 106 kilometers water courses and 107,000 nos. of channels. The Northern Regions of Pakistan is famous for its high mountain ranges, the Himalayas and Karakorams. The highest peak in the area is Godwin Austin (K-2), which is 8610.60 meters above the sea level. This is the second highest peak in the world. The south western part of the country is a plateau with an average height of about 609.6 meters above the sea level. The Province of NWFP comprises of both hilly areas and fertile valleys. Balochistan, the biggest province of Pakistan is mainly an arid region with promise of mineral wealth.

The country has world's largest integrated irrigation network serving 16 million ha of contiguous land fed by the Indus river and its tributaries. Of the approximately 80 million ha of mainly arid and semi- arid land, 34 million ha are suitable for agro-forestry use. Of this approximately 22 million ha are under cultivation. There are two crop seasons Kharif (summer) and Rabi (winter) with a limited choice of crops according to the weather in these seasons. The average crop yields are low than the potential yields achieved at experimental stations and progressive farms. The current estimated population of Pakistan is 145.0 million, growing at 2.5 % per annum. Agriculture is the leading sector of Pakistan's economy. It is the largest income generating sector contributing 25 per cent to the GDP. It employs more than 50 per cent of the country's total labour force and supports directly or indirectly about 68 per cent of the population for their sustenance. It contributes about 60 per cent to export earnings derived from raw and processed agricultural commodities. It provides food, feed and raw materials for major industries, such as textile, sugar and to several other medium and small scale industries which account for about 50 per cent of total value of industrial production. It is thus evident that welfare of the vast majority of the population is critically dependent upon efficient utilization of the agricultural resources of the country on a sustainable basis.

Agriculture is the backbone of the Pakistani economy and is central to the socio-economic development of Pakistan. Pakistani agriculture, through the uptake of Green Revolution technologies, has been one of the striking success stories of the post-independence era. The Green Revolution, beginning with the rice and wheat revolutions in the late 1960s, and extending to several other crops including oilseeds in recent years, ushered in an era of food self-sufficiency and improved rural welfare. The National Agricultural Research System (NARS) is at the forefront in guiding these technological breakthroughs.

Agriculture sector comprising of crop and animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries sub-sectors, contributes a significant share to the national economy of Pakistan. Blessed with abundantly available national resources and favourable climate, Pakistan stands as an ideal place for crop, animal, forestry and fish production. All research activities undertaken today's in the country pertaining to agriculture are being carried out by both provinces, (numbering four) and federal government. The Federal government plays a defined role in policy making, inter-provincial coordination, and foreign trade of agriculture related commodities. The Federal government also provides funds for higher education including that in agriculture and coordinates higher education in the provinces through the University Grants Commission.

Both the Federal and Provincial governments are involved in agricultural research. The Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL) has the overall coordinating responsibility for agricultural research in the country. The apex body for agricultural research in the country is Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), which has overall responsibility to support and coordinate research. Other Federal Institutions involved in research work are ministries of Science and Technology, Commerce, Water and Power, besides Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. Most of these organizations undertake their research activities independently with little coordination in programme planning or budget allocation.

Agricultural research by the Provincial governments is scattered among many provincial departments including agriculture (crops), animal husbandry livestock and fisheries. All the provinces, except Balochistan have agricultural universities and several agriculture and veterinary colleges, where research applied subject is an integral part of the academic programme. The maximum numbers of provincial research institutes related to agriculture are as in Balochistan-8; NWFP-7; Punjab-39 and Sindh-10. All these institutes in the provinces are purely deal with research work for the agricultural productivity of crops, livestock fisheries, forestry, poultry, reclamation of salt-affected lands, etc.

Notwithstanding remarkable achievements on the food and agriculture front, several weaknesses persist and future challenges are complex and daunting. The yields of crop in Pakistan are comparatively lower than those of agriculturally advanced countries. The general problems associated with agriculture of this region are scarcity of water, floods, waterlogging, alkalinity, erosion, low yield per unit area, low yield per animal unit and traditional methods of cultivation. Apart from the general problems, other include poor quality seeds, poor soil management, low yielding varieties, lack of crop protection methods, shortage of irrigation water, credit facilities and non-application of modern technology in raising crops, contribute to the low yield and poor quality of crop. There is, therefore, immense need to bring an improvement by strengthening the research programme for the best utilization of the existing resources. Research programmes should include evolution of high yielding varieties showing maximum potential for various climatic and soil conditions. New varieties may be evolved which are fertilizer responsive, and can grow well under tight moisture supply conditions and are resistant to pests and diseases. Researchers may make effort to enhance protein contents of cereals and other edible crops so as to overcome the problem of protein deficiency as most of the people in country fall in average income groups of the population, who cannot afford to consume the much needed but costly animal proteins.

Of the total geographical areas 80.0 mha of Pakistan, the total cropped areas of Pakistan is 19.82 mha, of which the total cropped areas of Punjab is 11.04 mha; Sindh 5.45 mha; NWFP 1.93 mha and Balochistan 1.40 mha. Of this cropped area, only 25 per cent is under cultivation, 4.5 per cent under forest, about 57 per cent is range land. The irrigated land is 75 per cent (15.2 mha. of the total cropped area), 19 per cent (or nearly 4.25 mha) is rainfed, while the other 4 per cent is irrigated by tubewell and other sources. The main agricultural resources inputs are: fertilizers, water regimes, pesticides, weedicides, high yielding varieties, labourers, etc.

Pakistan is an agricultural country and most of its economy depends on agriculture. The country is fortunate in that the soils, topography and climate are generally suitable for year round agriculture. Due to the existence of the country in arid and semi-arid climatic regions, artificial irrigation has been practiced for a long time.

Rainfall in the country is sporadic and the annual rainfall distribution based on per cent of geographical area, which may be classified as, about 68 per cent of the geographical area lies under annual rainfall of 251-500 mm. This leaves only 8 per cent of geographical area where the annual rainfall exceeds 500 mm. Climatic stress due to high temperatures and droughts are characterized as crop growth index and aridity index, respectively.

Pakistan is a land of promise and tremendous development possibilities by virtue of its unique geographical location, fast acquisitional talents of its people, and richness of natural and cultural resources. Most of the land area of Pakistan is classified as arid to semi-arid because rainfall is not sufficient to grow agricultural crops, forest and fruit plants and pastures. The culturable area of Pakistan is 35.4 mha, forest land 3.5 mha, culturable waste 8.6 mha, cultivated area 23.3 mha, waterlogged and salt affected area in the Indus Basin is 6.8 mha, salt affected area outside Indus Basin is 5.6 mha. The hot deserts extend over some western areas and Thar, Cholistan and Thal. Thar and Cholistan are part of the great Indian desert and cover the area east of the southern half of the Indus plains. The Thal area is between the Jhelum and Indus Rivers. Agricultural production in Pakistan is still three to four times less compared with some developed countries like USA, Japan, Holland, France, UK, etc. The total cultivated area increased from 19.2 million ha in 1965 to 22.0 million ha in 2000. Since area under cultivation cannot be increased significantly, therefore, due attention has to be paid to mechanical as well as other inputs in order to meet the problems of food, fibre and shelter for the growing population of Pakistan.

Water is a unique natural resource. In Pakistan, conservation and management of water supplies is crucial as the demand for water continues to rise because of burgeoning population. Pakistan agriculture is predominantly irrigated. Water is one of the most limiting constraint for agricultural production in Pakistan. Pakistan is blessed by nature with fertile lands, network of rivers, sunshine, versatile climate, and vast potential of agricultural production. The country's major agricultural areas lie within the smooth plains formed naturally by mighty Indus River since time immemorial and its several tributaries such as Kabul, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej, which flow in southwardly directions, finally enter into a single stream and flowing into Arabian Sea near Karachi.

However, due to mismanagement of water resources, inadequate drainage systems, poor performance of existing irrigation and drainage systems, the agricultural production is far below its potential. Water is a necessary for our livelihood as every living being has been produced from water (Al-Quran). Water available to us through different resources, i.e. precipitation, rivers and tubewells is 223 MAF. It is estimated that 14 million hectares are canal out of 21 million hectares cultivated area of the country.

At present, only 11.5 million hectares are under canal irrigation being fed by Tarbella, Mangla and Chashma reservoirs, 22 barrages, 12 inter-river link canals and 43 main canals. Water available at the farm gate after accounting, farm losses and run offs has increased from 50 MAF in 1960-61 to 101 MAF in 1985-86. Estimates show that about 60 per cent of water is lost during conveyance through canals distributories and water courses. To reduce the losses the measure taken On Farm Water Management (OFWM) programme included only water course lining concrete control structures and precision land levelling but not much has been done to improve the canals. Water available from tubewells through groundwater pumpage amounts to 40.66 MAF. So, the total water available for 21 million is 144.66 MAF. From this figure, water available per cultivated hectare amounts to be 82.8 inches (33.5 inches per acre). Table 1 shows the important crops along with their consumptive use and percentage of total cropped area.

Table 1. Water requirements and area under different crops.


Water requirement per acre per year

Per cent of total cropped area


13 inches

40 %


26 inches

13 %


36 inches

11 %


53 inches

4 %


14 inches

4 %

It is clear from Table 1 that wheat requires 13 inches of water per acre per year and sugarcane requires 53 inches per acre per year. It is evident, than, that such a depth of 33.5 inches of water per acre is inadequate for growing two crops.

The most important problem of the crop sector is to raise crops under the arid or semi-arid conditions. It is, therefore, imperative to give maximum attention and top priority to agricultural development of these regions. The existing shortage of water supply in dry regions does not necessarily imply lack of water resources. What is needed is the exploitation of the untapped sources of water for the arid lands from surface water sources, sea water, brackish lakes and ground water. As a very large portion of arable lands is in the arid and semi-arid regions, agricultural productivity of these areas can be increased only by supplying water. Productivity per unit can be increased through technological change. Many factors contribute to increased crop yields: improved tillage practices, development of high yielding crop varieties, introduction of new crops, improved irrigation techniques, use of commercial fertilizers, better seed, crop protection, food technology and mechanization. The agricultural crops (Wheat, rice, cotton, sugarcane and forestry); and sub-sectors (livestock, fishery) are backbone of economy and these are badly affected due to shortage of water.

WHEAT: Wheat is the most important grain and a staple food for more than one third of the world population. It is sown on 225 million hectares around the world with 594.6 million tons production, an average of 2500 kg grain per hectare. China sown wheat on around 30 million hectares, followed by the Russian Federation; India, the USA, Australia, Canada, Turkey and Pakistan. As far as the highest yield is concerned France in Europe produces 7200 kg per hectare as it has much longer growing season of winter wheat. It is also a staple food crop of Pakistan, and accounts for nearly 37 per cent of the total cropped area, 30 per cent of the value added by major crops and 76 per cent of the total production of food grains. Pakistan made an important breakthrough last year by not only achieving self-sufficiency in wheat production, but by also being able to become a wheat exporting country.

Among the wheat producing country, Pakistan stands at l0th place in terms of area and 59th in terms of yield (21.0 million tons) annually. The production of wheat per acre differs from area to area and farm to farm as some allied and supporting factors have to be taken into account, while calculating yield. Whether and the availability of the irrigation water through canals also contribute to the yield. The average per acre yield of wheat is estimated between 20 and 25 maunds and above it needs an extra effort as well as natural supporting factors. Wheat is the most important food crop of Pakistan and has remained the central theme of self-sufficiency programme in the country. With the advent of 'Green Revolution', national wheat production has increased from 4 million tons in 1965-66 to over 7 million tons in 1968-69, making Pakistan the first developing country in Asia to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production. During the last 40 years, the new wheat varieties have been regularly evolved by various wheat breeding programmes in the country. The wheat production with high yielding varieties and appropriate package of technology has gone to 18.9 million tons in 1997-98, which is a record. At present, the wheat production has gone to over 20.0 million tons in the year 1999-2000. Pakistan stands within the ten wheat producing country in the world. Wheat is grown on an area of 8.5 million hectares with an average of 2100 kg/ha. However, the yield per hectare is low compared to other wheat producing countries of the world.

Population of the country is also increasing at the alarming rate. Upto year 2005, the population of the country will go upto 155 million. There is an urgent need to increase the yield per acre and that can be increased by the use of high yielding varieties, certified seed, fertilizers in right proportion, pesticides, adequate quantities of water, larger labour, input resulting in better tillage operations, and strictly following the crop calendar. This is only possible when the crop is properly planted, at an optimum time, with an insuring optimum stand, and the required tilling. In addition, when adequate moisture and plant nutrients to sustain vigorous growth are available and when there is no major loss due to weeds competition, disease attack or insect infestation.

It will be noted that our farmers are getting only fourth of the technically possible yield because of a number of deficiencies. The potential yield of 8.0 tons per hectare is depressed by a number of factors. These factors are poor seed bed preparation, late sowing, quality of seed, inadequate and ill-time irrigation, fertilizer, weed competition, insect and disease control, cultural practices, harvesting losses. Need for additional steps: Increasing the yield per acre is vital if self-sufficiency in wheat is to attained. This can be done only by technological advancement and improved irrigation. Some important measures which could raise yield are listed below: i) Plant breeders should be motivated to develop new high yielding wheat varieties especially those which are fit for late sowing; ii) Production and distribution of certified seed of the existing recommended varieties should be undertaken earnestly on an emergency basis. This is crucial for sustaining momentum and deserves almost attention; iii) Wheat should be sown at proper time. Timely and adequate irrigation should be ensured. For this, the public representatives should be required to be in their respective areas at the time of sowing; iv) Fertilizer application in adequate quantities in right proportion and at the right time must be ensured; v) Farmers should be inspired to eliminate weeds from fields. These measures, if implemented in earnest, could double the yield and make the country not only self-sufficient but also able to export wheat.

Last year (2000-2001), the area, yield and production in cases of wheat were the highest ever in Pakistan. Among the cereals, the wheat is the most vantage and pivotal crop of the country. This edible food crop accounts for about 37 % of the cropped area of the country. Wheat was sown over in area of 8.5 mha, recording a 3.6 % increase over the previous year's figures. Yield per hectare was 2,491 kg as against 2,170 kg in the previous year, representing an improvement of 19.3 %. Production over 21m tons was higher by 18 % than when it was in the previous year. The surplus productions have resulted in the export of wheat to the foreign countries. The major area of wheat in Pakistan lies in Punjab followed by Sindh. However, the yield per hectare is slightly higher in Sindh as compared to Punjab. While, the area under the crop has increased by 3 % in the Punjab and by 9.4 % in the NWFP over the last year, it has decreased by as much as 25 % in Sindh and by 55 % in Balochistan.

To become self sufficient in wheat, Pakistan has all the required basic ingredients such as fertile land, sufficient irrigation water, hard working farmers, certified seed varieties of local and foreign origin and modern technology in abundance, provided these are utilized to full potential, which is only possible, if there is a firm will on the part of the planners. This incentive encouraged farmers to apply sufficient amounts of diammonium phosphate and urea to the field. Wheat price was raised from Rs. 240 to Rs. 300 for per 40 kg at the time of sowing the crop. Last year, this timely measures help the farmers to increase wheat production. At the time of wheat sowing in Rabi Season (Nov-Dec.), the government had taken measures and the hard work put in by our farmers. All this was the result of certain measures taken by the government. About 75 per cent of wheat are sown in irrigated area and 25 per cent in the rain-fed regions. The latest official estimates indicate that against the target of 19.25 million tons for the current year, the production of wheat is touching a record level of 21 million tons as compared to 18.8 million tons.

Wheat crop demands an urgent need to accelerate its production in Pakistan either by increasing the area under cultivation or by enhancing the productivity per unit area through the adoptions of improved production technologies. Wheat crop is grown in large irrigated and rainfed areas of the country. Pakistan is basically an agricultural country, where 70 % of the population depends direct and 16 % indirectly in agriculture. To feed a hundred million people, about four million farmers grow on 8.5 million hectares of wheat every year, representing 37 %, of the total cropping area. The wheat crop is beset by a variety of problems, reducing the yield to a national average of 1.7 t/ha. The most intractable of all the problems affecting wheat is that of weeds. As many as 35 species of harmful weeds grow in wheat field in different cropping systems, the most troublesome being Chenopodium album, Phalaris minor, Convolvulus arvensis, etc. Using a 30 % growth rate, the population of Pakistan increases by 2 million each year. By the year 2005, the population of Pakistan will reach about 160 million. The situation depends on huge quantity of wheat grain to feed the population. The development of improved variety with high yield, good quantity and wide adaptation will fulfil the requirements and uniform the socio-economic conditions of the country in urban and rural community in particular.

Southern Punjab had excelled in wheat production last year, but the crop is now reported to be languishing in the region. The officials concerned concede that the crop in southern Punjab where output had averaged between 30 and 60 maunds per acre has not been given even the first watering from the country's irrigation system. There is no way of striving the damage done to the wheat in the field. Farmers are complaining of stunted growth of plants, they have not risen beyond 14 inches to a maximum of 20 inches in most cases and the message is a substantially scuttled yield per acre. Punjab heavily relies on the use of groundwater for meeting irrigation requirements of crops, but groundwater is largely brackish and need to be mixed with canal water for sustaining productivity. In the absence of canal water, tube-wells have mostly not been commissioned, because of high electricity charges are another discouraging factor for the common and poor farmers. There was a strong case for increasing the price of wheat of the mounting inflation and constantly rising cost of inputs. All this adds to the woes and agonies of the farmers who had responded to well last year to the incentive with a record produce of wheat crop.

The water crisis was looming frighteningly large across the country and planning should have been undertaken at the start of the wheat cultivation season. That may have helped to avoid the problems, that now seems certain to severely hit the crop. Last year, the country produced a bumper crop of 21.7 million tons and managed to provide the staple food to the populace for the first time in many years, resorting to imports. The domestic consumption is about 18 million tons of wheat. This target seems to be well within the reach due to support price mechanism introduced by the government to evolve internet of the growers in certain crops. Even the calculated target of 20 million tons of wheat would be enough to eater to the need of the country. However, all such exit exports from where wheat is smuggled out into Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian states would be required to ground to plug the leakage.

Punjab was expecting a total wheat production of 16.65 million tons, Sindh 2 million tons and NWFP and Balochistan 0.73 million tons and 0.5 tons, respectively. There are only two ways to increase wheat production increased acerage and/or increased per hectare yield. Though wheat acerage production and per hectare yield have increased from 1990-91 to 1999-2000, it has grown at very smaller rate compared to the increase in population. While, the wheat acerage, production and per hectare yield has risen during the previous decade, but they were unable to match the substantial increase in population.

To break the stagnation in the agriculture sector for the production of crops, the huge water losses in the irrigation system should be checked, the infrastructure in the rural areas to be developed to improve farm to market delivery and proper education and training to acquaint the farmers in modern agriculture practices are required. Devoted and concerted efforts associated with scientific approach are needed to make each province and only self sufficient in food but producing export surplus to give a strong helping hand to the national economy. In addition, following factors are suitable for increasing wheat production: i) Prior to sowing, wheat fields must be well levelled and cleared from previous plant debris and weeds; ii) Seed of high yielding wheat varieties resistant to rusts, smuts, etc. be sown in sufficient amount; iii) Seed treatment with a suitable insecticide should be carried out carefully; iv) Timely sowing is an important factor. This phenomenon will help in good seed germination, and ultimately will improve the yield productivity; v) Timely application of nitrogen-phosphatic fertilizers will be carried out; vi) Weeds being the main robbers of plant food from soil, space and even light required for wheat plants, be controlled by cultural practices and in case of heavy infestation, may be eliminated by application of herbicides, weedicides. This technique will definitely increase yield.

RICE: Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the most important crop brings economic prosperity of the growers as well as earns billions of rupees through its export for country. Pakistan earned 346 million US $ in 1997 from rice export and its share in total export was 5.72%. Pakistan fine rice commonly known as Basmati (Fragrance of virgin girl) is world famous and enjoys monopoly in the international market, due to its quality characteristics, strong aroma, slender and long kernel, intermediate amylase content, gelatinization, temperature and high degree of grain elongation on cooking.

However, the grain yield of basmati rice varieties is very low. In order to remain in the International market, we have to further improve the quality as well as yield of basmati varieties. Rice plays a pivotal role in the agro-based and occupies a conspicuous position in agricultural economy of Pakistan. It is the second staple food and contributes more than 2 million tons to Pakistan's national food requirement. Besides, it is a source of foreign exchange earnings and in the year 1999-2000 about 2 million tons rice at worth Rs. 2.6 billion was exported. Despite the prime position of rice in the national economy and world market, the average yields in Pakistan are discouragingly low being only 2.7 and 1.6 tons/ha in comparison with 3.92, 2.98, 6.58, 6.34 and 8.91 tons/ha of India, USA, China and Egypt, respectively.

COTTON: Cotton is the second important crop of our country after wheat, in terms of area and value added. During 1991, Pakistan ranked third globally after China and the US, in production and was the first in cotton export. Other important countries in cotton production are India, Russia Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey. The world production of cotton is nearly 50 million bales grown on more than 80 million acres, with average yields in excess of 290 pounds per acre. About 30 % of the world cotton is produced in the US. Cotton is known as the silver fibre of Pakistan .In Pakistan, cotton crop is cultivated in the southern Punjab and Sindh. It brings cash returns to the farmers, supplies raw materials to the textile industry and provides employment in both the rural and the urban areas. Cotton is the major textile fibre used by man. Cotton is also providing livelihood to over 5 million people at the farm and industry and trade, furnishes raw material for 1035 ginneries and 445 textile mills and 650 oil expelling units in the country. Over the last several years, raw cotton and its textile products have contributed on an average about 60 per cent of the total annual national exports, besides providing employment to a sizeable manpower of the country. It also yields 3.4 to 3.6 million tons of cotton seeds, which contributes over 64 per cent of the local edible oil production. Cotton seed is also used extensively in milk production In addition, over 2 million tons cotton oil cake is also obtained which is used as livestock feed in general. A significant part of cotton seed is also fed to the lactating animals. Thus, in the country cotton plays a vital role in the economic development of the country in both the majors sectors i.e. agriculture and industry. Punjab and Sindh are the major cotton growing provinces. The respective shares of the two provinces in cotton production are estimated at 81 and 19 per cent, respectively.

Cotton is a major summer crop and planted in March/April in Sindh and May and June in the Punjab. The time of sowing is so adjusted that the young seedlings escape the early summer heat as much as possible. The climate of lower Sindh is milder than that of upper Sindh and the Punjab. It sown on nearly 3 million hectares, contributing 29 per cent to the value added by major crops, Thus, is grown on about 12 per cent of the cropped area which is higher than any other cash crop. Cotton in Pakistan is mostly grown on the alluvial plains of the Indus basin. Soil texture is silty loam, not high in sand or clay content. These soils are deep and have high water holding capacity most of which is available to the plant during the growing period. It competes directly with rice in those areas where both crops can be cultivated. Cotton in combination with winter crops also competes indirectly with sugarcane as the latter occupies land resources round the year. The average yield at the country level has ranged from 488 to 601 kg/hectare during 1992-93 to 1997-98. The yield of cotton in the Punjab which contributes nearly 82 per cent in the total production ranged from 470 to 602 kg/hectare.

SUGARCANE: Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) belongs to the family gramineae. In Pakistan, sugarcane is grown in three soils and climate zones, the tropical Sindh, the subtropical Punjab and the temperate Peshawar valley of NWFP. It is cultivated successfully in tropical area between 25 N and 28 S latitude, mostly around the equator but nowadays it can also be grown well in sub-tropical areas, where summer temperatures favour this crop and irrigation facilities are available. Sugarcane is an important cash crop of Pakistan. It ranks fourth in average cultivation after wheat, rice and cotton. Sugar industry of Pakistan is second to textiles. Sugarcane was cultivated on an area of 1000 thousand hectares during the current fiscal year. In Pakistan, the yield of sugarcane is very low as compared to other sugarcane producing countries of the world, like 59.9 tons per hectare in India, 50 tons per hectare in Mexico, 79 tons per hectare in Australia, 86.3 tons per hectare in Indonesia and 90 tons per hectare in Hawaii. It is assumed that sugarcane yield can be increased with use of improved varieties, use of adequate balanced fertilizer, management of pests and diseases, proper irrigation, standard soil preparation and recommended seed rate for plant crop with top of the priority then it is possible to increase the yield of plant. At present, sugar industry faces great dearth of quality varieties and water shortage.

Variety is the pre-requisite and major requirement for crop improvement. Sugarcane growers are always interested in the cultivars that offer more tonnage, while miller is more conscious of quality. In general, cultivars to be proffered are those which are high yielding, disease resistant, broad-spectrum adaptability. At present, sugar industry consists of 78 units 32 in Sindh; 40 in the Punjab and 6 in NWFP. Out of this 65 operated during 1999-2000. These mills crushed 29 million tons sugarcane and produced about 2.4 million tons of sugar. Sugar production in Sindh has been above one million tons with maximum at 1.374 million tons devoting a surplus of about half a million tons. In Pakistan, 67 sugar mills are operating having crushing capacity of 375,300 tons of cane per day. Based on 160 days season, these sugar mills have a total crushing capacity of 60 million tons of sugarcane capable to produce 5 million tons of refined sugar and 3 millions of molasses. It is grown on an area of 1.12 million hectares. The average production is 46 tons/hectare. The per capita consumption of sugar in the country is about 22 kg. It is one of the world's valuable nutritious food and is the main source of carbohydrates and provides inexpensive calories for human body.

A salient feature of sugarcane produce in Pakistan is as: Operations mills-67; cane crushing capacity- 60 million tons; production refined sugar-5 million tons; molasses-3 million tons; average sugarcane yield per hectare-45 tons; world-60 tons; average recovery-8.62%; in 1999, 73 sugar mills produced 3.52 million tons; national demand3.20 million tons; labour force 106 people; 5 years average cost of production (1996-2000)-Rs. 14850/ton; 5 years average selling price (1996- 2000) Rs. 14920/ton; land under cultivation-1.12 million hectares; land required to cultivate and achieve self-sufficiency in production-1.15 million tons. With population increase of 155.60 million in 2005, the country will need the domestic requirement of 3.42 million tons of sugar, therefore, the area in hectare will have to increase upto 1.15 million hectares. Shortage of water will badly affect the sugarcane production.

FOREST: Pakistan has only about 4.2 per cent of the area under forests as compared to a desired level of 20 to 25 per cent, which is considered to be essential for balanced economic growth of a country as suggested by UN. There is a great need for increasing forests to meet the growing requirement of firewood, timber, which provide vital coverage to the country's watersheds and regulate the supply of water in the rivers. Pakistan's forests are a valuable basic natural resource, which provides food, fodder, forage for cattle, fuelwood, timber wood for building and other materials, and medicinal plants. They provide shelter and protection and are a source of income and employment. Forests play a crucial role in the protection of the environment, provide oxygen to the air, we breath and influencing the climate.

Forestry as it exists today in Pakistan is generally characterized by lack of adequate area under forests, very low per capita consumption of wood and use of outdated forest technology in planting and harvesting operations. According to a report, there are only five per cent of the total land area of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Because of low forest area and wood production, the per capita consumption of wood is very low. Pakistan is inherited with a very small forest area at the time of independence. Most of land area in Pakistan is arid and receives low precipitation on which natural tree is not possible without artificial irrigation. Further, in view of importance of agriculture, forestry development was given low priority despite the fact that population has increased threefold with the concomitant rise in living standard of the people during this period. Lack of awareness of importance of forests in the agricultural economy has also been responsible for forest devastation and low priority given to the development of this resource.

As far as planting is concerned, due emphasis is not being placed on improved quality seed for raising, - planting stock. Certified seed could improve wood productivity by 15 to 25 per cent. Most of the forestry operations are currently done manually with the help of out-dated tools, equipment and machinery by untrained workers. The productive forest is spread over 1.5 million hectares. In order to meet the shortage of timber and wood a sizeable quantity of timber and timber based products is imported from foreign countries. The import money of wood and wood products has been increasing gradually. If we compare the forest area of the country to that of other developing and developed countries, the situation is quite serious. There are many countries in the world, whose forests per cent areas of their total land areas are quite enough compare to our country.

In order to improve the productivity of the existing forestry in the country, efforts should be made to introduce quantity planting stocks, fast growing tree species, improved lagging practices, intensification and participation in plantations management, problem oriented research and training programmes. Other important points to be followed honestly are, that the illegal cutting of trees should be strictly checked, trees should be planted on the farms, factories, enclosures, roads, rails, canals and river banks and radio, TV media should popularize the importance of forests phenomenon of the country.

Growing trees are, in fact a bit of a specialized job particularly in a climate marked by extremes of heat and cold and it should be treated as such the Forest Department would be much more successful if it depends on its efforts than on individuals or organizations, which at best can only extend supplementary help. Afforestation is an expensive undertaking and cannot be pursued vigorously without adequate funds. Massive deforestation that has been going on unchecked for the last 50 years has denuded large tracts in the Northern areas.

LIVESTOCK: The most important livestock in the country are cattle, sheep, cow, hare, ass, poultry. Livestock provides draught power, manure to farming system and milk products to households. Livestock being one of the important sub-sectors of agriculture assume a pivotal position in the whole economy strategy of Pakistan. The sector is closely linked to crop products and population. It covers about 38 per cent of the agricultural value added and in providing directly or indirectly employment to about 50 per cent of the population and 8.3 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP). Besides, being a source of milk, meat and eggs; livestock provides draught power for agricultural operations and industrial raw materials.

Pakistan is lucky in having two best tropical and sub-tropical breeds of buffaloes such as: Nili-Ravi and Kundi breed, eight recognized breeds of cattle of Hostein Friesian and Jersey breeds as well as their crossbreads with local cattle (Sahiwal, Red Sindhi and Thari), Dera Din Pench, Beetal, Nachi and Kamori goats and Lohi, Kjli, Keghani, Damani and salt Range sheep are augmenting animals production in the country. In the year 1991, the domestic livestock population is estimated is 14.3 million buffaloes, 20 million cattle, 28.3 million sheep, 41.2 million goats, 1.0 million camels, 0.5 million horses, 0.07 million mules, 3.1 million donkeys and 164.6 million poultry. For the year 2001, they produce 26284 x 103 tons milk, 1010 x 103 tons beef, 666 x 103 tons mutton, 333 x 103 tons poultry meat, 39.2 x 103 tons wool, 18.6 x 103 tons hair, 333.7 x 103 tons bones, 124 x 103 tons fats, 8,677 million numbers eggs, 7.8 million numbers hides, 38.2 million numbers skins and 40 x 103 tons blood. Similarly, for the year 2000, the population in thousands of cattle 22424, buffaloes 20272; sheep 23544; goats 47166; camels 816; horses 334; asses 3559; mules 132; poultry 63198 have been reported.

The need for improving the per head productivity of livestock in the country is imperative to cope with the demand in future. So far whatever increases in national production of milk and meat have been achieved are mainly due to increased production of livestock. If the livestock population is allowed to increase with the existing rate there will be more than 20 million buffaloes, 24 million cattle, 39 million sheep and 49 million goats in the country by the end of the year-2001. Pakistan has an excellent wealth of animals. The varieties of our animals have no parallel in the world. Some of the varieties are of very high quality, but little efforts have been made to make further improvement and develop new species. The main problem of our dairy is not the production, but of introduction of modern technology and giving it a status of industry. In New Zealand, one person alone runs a farm with 120- 150 cows, of 2000-3000 sheep and goats by working 30 hours a week. Cattle ranches can be developed in Pakistan, because of the availability of rangelands occupying 70 per cent of the land area Rangelands suffer from lack of management. If this is on the basis of modern technology then a large number of modern cattle and dairy farms can be established to get large production of animal quality as well high yield of their products. Ranching is a modern livestock farming organized on the pattern of an industrial project. Most of the farming processes are mechanized. Cultivation of fodder is done mechanically without involving the use of fertile land. Separate feeds are prepared for different age groups and types of animals. Animal nutrition, feed supply strategies (especially fodder supply), together with the improvement of markets and marketing systems for internal and for export needs are very essential for developing livestock industry.

FISHERIES: Everybody knows that fish production is an important source of protein and income through export, and employment of the manpower. It also plays an important role in the economy of the country. The per capita consumption of animal protein in the country is very low and it is only about 8.8 kg per person per year. Fish is an important protein source for much of the world's population, and the ease with which a number of fish species can be cultured makes it likely that the important of fish as food for us, can only increase. The fish culture produces only 1.8 kg per year of the protein. In other countries, it is about 120 kg per person per year. The marine fish production in Pakistan is 654500 tons both from inland and marine in the year 1999. Pakistan obtains its fish from Arabian sea, which has a coastal area of about 985 km, which covers Karachi and Balochistan coastal belts. As much as about 500 species of fish are found in Arabian Sea.

Pakistan has about 120 species of which about 30 have great commercial values. As many as 20 valuable species of shrimps and role lobsters are also found in this area. Pakistan has large inland water resources. They mainly comprise of the Indus River. The marine fishing catch in the country has rose from 32,893 mt in 1986 to 43,3500 in 1988. It has further increased in 1999 to 654500 mt. However, its catching capacity is vary from area to area. It has been reported that in Balochistan coastal area the catch is lower than the coast of Sindh. A large portion of fish catch is processed in various forms. The methods are freezing, canning and reductions to fishmeal. Almost all the frozen and canned fishery products are exported while only about 25 per cent processed fish meal is exported and remaining is consumed locally in the manufacture of poultry feed.

Similarly, about 45 per cent of the total fish productions are utilized in the production to fishmeal, 35 per cent, marketed as fresh fish and for local consumption. Pakistan consists of the Indus watershed system, dams, barrages, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, canal and disused canals. The names of some important fishing crafts used in catching fish from marine land and inland waters are: sail boats, rowboats, mechanical-cum-sail boats, trawlers, gill-netters. The inland fish industry in Pakistan is facing the problem of fish seed production in the hatcheries, research and organization. The farmers are experiencing difficulty in acquiring fish seed of food-fish to solve this problem, research base needs to be strengthened to permit expansion of food-fish seed production and distribution so that its benefits may reach to the farmers and the person involved in this business easily.

There are various ways of fish seed production. One of these is through induced breeding. Most dramatic sudden increase can be expected by applying induced breeding techniques to optimize harvest and expand socio-economic gains. Fisheries development plans which will greatly assist in this direction include intensive development of all sectors of the Makran coasts fisheries. There may also be prospects for the development of an offshore runs industry. Shrimp exports will continue to be the mainstay of the marine product export of the country. Measures are also needed to improve quality standards in all sections of fish and shrimp industry to ensure maximum prices and continuing access to international markets.


The agarian situations relating to Pakistan dealt above generally hold good for future planning. The country has countless, small and marginal farmers, in whose farms the productivity is very low. Science and technology must be suited to this peculiar situation of the country. There are wide gaps both in yields obtained against the potential and technology transfer is very weak. The concerns of environmental protection, sustainability, employment, equity, energy, profitability and exports have become important. At present, the idea of economic reform process competitiveness, efficiency and quality factors of agricultural production and export have assumed critical significance. Threatened loss of bio-diversity, climatic change, burgeoning population are yet another major issues confronting the country. Further, declining real investment in agriculture, especially agricultural research posses a real challenge to increase productivity in agriculture. There should be a comprehensive planning to boost up the crop productivity with honest, zeal, enthusiasm and devotion, this problem can easily be overcome in the long run. Favourable and futuristic policy frame work conducive for sustainable growth is essential for economic growth and for uplifting of the urbanite poor farmers and farm related work force of the country.