Agriculture is the lifeline of the Pakistani economy
and is central to the socioeconomic development of Pakistan. It has the
potential to produce multiplier effect on the growth of other sectors of
the country. Pakistan 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 in recent years ushered in an era of food self-sufficiency and
improved rural welfare. The total area of the country is 79.8 million
hectares. The economy of the country is basically agrarian and is
heavily dependent on irrigation largely confined to the Indus Plain. The
climate in Pakistan is arid to semi-arid with temperatures ranging
between 2°C to 50°C.
The mean annual precipitation ranges from less than 4
inches to more than 30 inches. There are great variations in the sorts
of the country. The country has world's largest integrated irrigation
network serving more than 14 million hectares of continuous land fed by
the Indus River and its tributaries. Of the about 80 million hectares of
mainly arid and semi-arid land, 34 million hectares are suitable for
agro-forestry use. Of this approximately 22 million hectares are under
cultivation. There are two crop seasons Kharif (summer) and Rabi
(winter) with a limited choice of crops according to the weather in
Agriculture is the leading sector of Pakistan's
economy. It is the largest income generating sector and contributing 25
per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It employs more than 47
per cent of the total labour indirectly about 68 per cent of the
population contributes 60 per cent to export earnings of raw and
processed products of agricultural commodities. It provides food, feed
and raw materials for major industries such as textile, sugar and
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.
The major contemporary constraints to crop production
in the country are mineral deficiency, extreme temperatures and lack of
water. As human population growth continues and within about one-third
of the world's land surface being arid or semi-arid, the need for more
irrigation appears inescapable. In fact, irrigation has increased
dramatically in the last 200 years, from around 8 Mha in 1800 to more
than 255 Mha at present. One of the main problems of irrigation is
Nature has been very kind to Pakistan. The country
has been endowed by God with abundant labour force and human resources.
In any agrarian country, the growth prospects generally depend on the
endowments of land, climate, labour, capital, water availability, power,
fertilizer, seed, plant protection, extension services, agriculture
research, pigmented markets, electricity and financial. Brief
descriptions of these factors are as:
Land is a vital non-renewable
resource. The total geographical area of the country is 79.61 million
hectares of which 21.60 million hectares of land is under cultivation,
8.84 million ha is culturable waste, 22.14 million hectare is cropped
area, 17.20 million hectares is crop area irrigated, 3.58 million
hectares is forest area and 4.94 million hectares are under rainfed.
Pakistan has thus tremendous potential for
development of agriculture in view of large area under cultivation and
availability of around 9 million hectares of culturable wastelands. Of
the total cultivated area, around 17.20 million hectares is irrigated
while crop production in the remaining 4.9 million hectares depend
mainly upon rainfall and tube-well irrigation. The country has to cope
with the situations by embarking upon policies to increase agricultural
productivity. The land base has to be expanded through increased
supplies of irrigation water and productivity enhance amount through
technological developments in both irrigated and rainfed areas.
dominant feature of Pakistan's climate is its aridity. A combination of
low rainfall, low atmospheric humidity and high solar radiation results
in a vegetative moisture stress over several months of the year.
Climatically, the country enjoys a considerable measure of variety. The
north-western high mountains ranges are extremely cold in winter while
the summer months of April-October are very pleasant. The coastal strip
in the south covering the areas of Sindh and Balochistan has a
Agriculture sector being the lynchpin of the
country's economy continues to be the single largest sector and a
dominant driving forcer for growth and development of the national
economy. It accounts for 24 per cent of the GDP and employs 48 per cent
of the total work force. Agriculture contributes to growth as a supplier
of raw materials to industry as well as a market for industrial products
and also contributes substantially to Pakistan's exports earnings. About
67 per cent of country's population are living in rural areas and are
directly or indirectly linked with agriculture for their livelihood.
Most of the area of the country is classified as arid
to semi-arid because rainfall is not sufficient to grow agricultural
crop forests, and fruit plants and pastures. About 68 per cent of
geographical area lie under annual rainfall of 250 mm, whereas about 24
per cent of the area lies under annual rainfall of 251-500 mm. This
leaves only 8 per cent of area where annually rainfall exceeds 500 mm.
Thus the supplemental water for profitable agricultural production is
required either from irrigation or through tubewells. Due to low
rainfall and high diurnal range of temperature, humidity is
comparatively low. Only the coastal-area has high humidity. The annual
variation in temperature provide two districts crop seasons, i.e. Kharif
(summer) and Rabi (winter). Kharif crops are generally sown between
April to June and harvested during October to December. Rabi crops are
sown in October-December and harvested in April-May. In each season
several crops are raised depending not only on the nature of soil and
climatic condition but on the availability of resources.
Of the main food crops, wheat, gram, rape and mustard
seed are the principal Rabi crops, while rice, maize, cotton, millet,
sorghum and sugarcane are the main Kharif crops. In addition, a variety
of both summer and winter vegetables and fruits are grown in the
country. Out of total cropped area, food grains account for 56 per cent,
cash crops 16 per cent, pulses 7 per cent, oilseeds 3 per cent and rest
is occupied by fruits, vegetables and other minor crops.
Water is the essence of life and
supply of clean, healthy water is essential for the country for the
purposes of drinking and irrigation of the crop fields. The development
of water resource is of vital importance for a developing country. Water
helps in building the infrastructure of the economy, which is essential
for the development of agriculture, industry and other sectors. The
agriculture of Pakistan is primarily based on one of the oldest and
largest contiguous flow of irrigation systems of Indus Basin. The system
comprises of the Indus river and its tributaries, the three major
reservoirs, 23 barrages and 48 principal link canals. The total length
of the canal system is about 63200 kilometers with water courses about
110,000 are field ditches running around 1.6 million kilometers.
Groundwater is pumped by both public and private tubewells. Other source
of water is rain water, which is high in northern area and low in
southern part of the country.
Agriculture is still the predominant employer of
labour force in the economy. It contributes about 48 per cent in
agriculture of the total population. It is declining day by day because
workers from agriculture either entered the services sector or so get
in agriculture is needed for improvement of land, provision of
irrigation facilities, purchase of agricultural machinery, farm building
structure, purchase of livestock such bull, ox, etc. agricultural
services and other agricultural and irrigation infrastructure. The
public and private sectors are active partners in the development of
agriculture. The public sector is responsible for building up
agricultural infrastructure, irrigation works, drainage, reclamation,
flood protection and water management. The private sector, i.e. the
farmers themselves undertake, with assistance from credit agencies,
investments in farm capital including land improvement, farm building,
agricultural machinery and livestock.
LOW CROP YIELDS:
Low crop yields as a proxy of low
productivity of agriculture, illustrates the potential for its
improvement. Research carried out in Pakistan have shown that the
country has enough potential to raise its present production level of
crop to new heights only through increased yields per hectare alone.
In order to develop and spread now
technology the country has a good institutional base for carrying out
agriculture education and research. There is Pakistan Agriculture
Research Council at Apex, which is responsible for agriculture research
at national level and coordinating research at provincial level. There
are agriculture universities, colleges at different places.
CONSTRAINTS IN PRODUCTIVITY: There
are several constraints, which directly affect land productivity in the
country. These include soil erosion, water logging and salinity and
other soil related problem.
The causes by wind and run off water
particularly in the rainfed areas are well known yet the depletion of
natural vegetation and excessive tillage has accelerated the problem of
soil erosion. The flood damage causing soil erosion has been constantly
on the increase, primarily in the wake of excessive loss of natural
vegetation. Over 12 million hectares of lands are affected estimated to
have been affected by water erosion.
WATER LOGGING: At
present, about 20 per cent of the cultivated land in the CCA in affected
by water logging to varying degree and even a greater amount suffers
from salinity. The latest WAPDA figures indicate that an average about 2
million hectares out of surveyed 16 million hectares have a water table
1.5 meter from the surface. The adverse affects of water logging on
agriculture are attributed to restricted aeration in the crop rooting
zone, soil salinization reduced bearing capacity of the soils and
increased attack of crop diseases.
SOIL SALINITY AND SODICITY:
The problem of soil salinity and/or
sodicity is of great economic significance to Pakistan as it depresses
land productivity over 12 million hectares of land. The extent of
salinity reveals that the problem of salinity is quite severe as 9 per
cent of area is severely or very severely salinized. As productivity on
saline area is low, the spreading incidence of salinity has resulted in
reduced levels of production.
The soil nutrients have been
depleted. Some washed away by irrigation water. All soils are low in
organic matter and need continuous replenish meet through nitrogen and
Land holdings in Pakistan, are
characterized by small farms. There are over 5 million farms in the
country and about 81 per cent of them are small farms (less than 5
hectares). The middle size farms (5-10 hectares) are 12 per cent. The
large farms (10 hectares and above) are 7 per cent. The average sizes of
small, medium and large farms are 4.50, 16.30 and 54.40 hectares,
respectively. The leading factor causing in the reduction of farm sizes
are the burgeoning population of the country.
WATER AVAILABILITY CONSTRAINT: Pakistan's
agriculture is mostly dependent on irrigation. It accounts for 80 per
cent of the total irrigated land. Scope for expanding irrigation water
is not possible. However, it needs improvement. Loss of water during
irrigation is a major problem. Lack of maintenance is another major
drawback in the water losses.
Power supply through is not
sufficient and there is frequent breakdown in the power supply.
Presently, fertilizer consumption is only about 113 kg per hectare. The
country is also faced with serious problem in providing the quantities
of fertilizer necessary to maintain self-sufficiency in major food
crops. The planning, import and distribution of critical times in the
crop cycle continuous to be a serious problem.
The use of quality seed is not more
than 5-7 per cent of the total requirements. The lack of storage
capacity, inadequate marketing facility, non- availability of the
required quantities of basic seeds and inadequate facilities for
monitoring quality of seed in the market.
and diseases are a major constraints in obtaining potential crop yields.
The use of pesticides has increased from 3677 tons in 1981 to 23,000
tons in 1992.
Extension services lack proper extension facilities and severely lack
trained and devoted staff.
Agriculture plays an important role directly and
indirectly in generating economic growth. The importance of agriculture
to the economy is seen in three ways; firstly, it provides food for
consumers and fibres for domestic industry, secondly, it is a source of
scarce foreign exchange earning and thirdly, it provides market for
industrial good. Agriculture has a strong backward linkages by
purchasing farm inputs such as chemicals, fertilizers, seeds, pesticides
and machinery and forward linkages by supplying raw material to food and
fibre processing in the non-agriculture sector. Honesty, devotion, zeal
and enthusiasm are other factors with which every worker related with
agricultural activities should take part for the development of the