The country faces great challenge to improve crop productivity

By Dr. S.M. ALAM

May 10 - 16, 2004





The total cropped area of Pakistan was 11.07 million hectares (mha) at the time its inception in 1947. It increased to 22.11 mha in 2003-2004 almost 100 per cent. Its population also went up from 34.3 million to 144.4 million during this period an increase of 346 per cent. Presently, the country is in the grip of population explosion of severe intensity, and has experienced a greater population growth compared to other developing countries. The population of Pakistan is increasing at the rate of 2.65 per cent and the gap between the supply and demand of agricultural products is widening day by day. The population was about 33.82 million in 1951 and just after 20 years it increased to 65 million. The current population of Pakistan is above 150 million but, it may touch 180 million by year 2010 and 345 million in 2050. Increasing population pressure on quantity and quality in food supply and dwindling land and water resources forces the agriculture to steadily increase the productivity of the land through higher yields and crop intensity. To meet the challenge of food supply to the rapid increasing population, there is an urgent need to boost up crops yield. The issues in developing countries are growing population, fragile food security, low agriculture inputs like fertilizer, poor yields, degrading soils and dependence on imports from the developed world. On the other hand, the land availability per capita will decline. Thus, the country faces great challenge to improve crop productivity per unit of land to ensure national food security in the wake of growing population.

The total land area of Pakistan (sq.km.) is 796,096 (Punjab-205,344; Sindh-140,914; NWFP-74,521; Balochistan-347,190, 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 comprised of plain land, formed by the River Indus. Pakistan is known for its excellent network of irrigation canals and rich agricultural lands, with three major reservoirs Tarbela, Mangla and Chashma, 23 barrages, 12 huge inter-river irrigation canals, 63,200 kilometers irrigation canals and more than 106 kilometers of water courses and 107,000 numbers. of field channels. About 1.6 million km (1 million miles ) are covered by water courses, farm channels and field ditches. In addition, the irrigation infrastructure is supplemented by 43.4 MAF groundwater pumpage. The huge network of irrigation serves 43 command areas with 75,000 villages, covering 16.22 mha of the nation cultivated and cropped area of 22 mha. Pakistan had a remarkable 82 per cent of its agricultural area covered by irrigation. 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 61o and 76o E and latitude 24o and 37o N. The climate in Pakistan is arid to semi-arid with temperatures ranging between 2oC and 50oC. The mean annual precipitation ranges from less than 10 cm to more than 75 cm. There are great variations in the soils of Pakistan.

Pakistan is an agrarian economy. It is the biggest sector of the economy and earns about 40% of the national income from it. Pakistan like many developing countries of the world is faced with the problem of low agricultural productivity. In spite of the fact that our country is blessed with a galaxy of climate, soil condition and irrigation water. The country is totally dependent on agriculture for the supply of food and fibre. Therefore, it is imperative to increase food and fibre production to cope up not only with ever growing requirements of the country, but for the sake of foreign exchange earnings and to attain self-sufficiency. Rapid agricultural growth can stimulate and thus sustain the pace of industrial growth, thus setting into motion a mutually reinforcing process of sustained economic growth. In Pakistan, agriculture is the largest income, generating sector contributing 25 per cent to the GDP. It employs more than 49 per cent of the country's total labour force and supports directly or indirectly about 70 per cent of the population for their sustenance. It contributes about 65 per cent to total export earnings derived from raw and processed agricultural commodities. Apart from the sectors immediate economic contribution it also has indirect linkages with various parts of the economy. Any changes in agricultural productivity, therefore, sends a ripple effect throughout the rural population of Pakistan. 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.

The agriculture framework in Pakistan is supported to a great extent by a crop sector, with its percentage contribution to agriculture GDP exceeding that of other sector. Pakistan's agriculture, with the advent of Green Revolution, has been one of the striking success stories of the post-independence era. The introduction of 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 of the country. The National Agricultural Research System in the country is at the forefront in guiding these technological breakthroughs. In Pakistan, both the Federal and Provincial governments are involved in agricultural research. The Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock has the overall coordinating responsibility for agricultural research in the country. The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council is the apex body for agricultural research in the country, which has overall responsibility to support and coordinate agricultural research in the country. Other Federal Institutions involved in research work are ministries of Science and Technology, Water and Power, besides PAEC. 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. The maximum numbers of provincial research institutes related to agriculture are as in Punjab-39, Sind-10, Balochistan-7 and NWFP-8. 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.

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, water logging, alkalinity, soil erosion, low yield per unit area, low yield per acre unit and traditional and old methods of cultivation. The most fundamental constraint in Pakistan is water availability which, limits further expansion of agriculture, therefore its efficient use must be given high priority 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 crops. There is an immense need to bring an improvement by strengthening the research programmes 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 should be fertilizer responsive, and can grow well under right moisture supply conditions and are resistant to pests and diseases. All these parameters determine that Pakistan is an agricultural country and agriculture should still play a predominant role in future in order to produce earnings to meet rapidly increasing local food demand and to increase foreign exchange earnings by agricultural commodity export. 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.

The land of the country is classified as arid to semi-arid because rainfall is not sufficient to grow agricultural crops, forest and fruit plants and pastures. The cultureable area of Pakistan is 35.4 mha, forest land 3.5 mha, cultureable waste 8.6 mha, cultivated area 22 mha, waterlogged and salt affected area in the Indus Basin is 6.8 mha, salt affected area outside Indus Basin is 6.3 mha. The hot deserts extend over some western areas and Thar, Cholistan and Thal. The 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.

Fertility of soil is decreasing day by day due to intensive cropping in order to fulfil the needs of rapidly growing population. To maintain the fertility status of soils in order to supply adequate nutrients for plants, application of different fertilizers is recommended by the agriculturist scientists. Like many other parts of the world, salinity and water logging are the major constraints limiting crop production in Pakistan. Of the 22.2 mha of the total cultivable land, 6.3 mha are salt-affected. Soil salinity may be robbing, Pakistan of about 25% of its potential production of major crops. A major part of salt-affected soils (about 3.5 mha) are presently cultivated to rice, wheat, cotton, sugarcane, rape seed and other crops with substantial reduction in yield. 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. Water shortage is a major factor impeding growth of the agricultural sector. Fluctuations in weather conditions, deficient in storage capacity and poor use of available water, culminate in water acting as a major constraint to agricultural growth. The recent drought in Pakistan has meant that during 2000-01 production of cotton bales was down by 2.1 millions while wheat, sugarcane and rice crop were lower by 4.1, 7.6 and 1.2 million tons, respectively. A substantial amount of water is also lost annually due to water management inefficiency. Water losses are estimated to be approximately 25 per cent from the canal head to the outlet and another 15 per cent from the outlet to the farm gate mainly due to poorly linked canals and water courses.

The basic constraint in the development of agriculture in our country is inadequate irrigation supplies, widespread occurrence of water logging and salinity and low level of modern farm inputs. Inadequate water supplies have resulted in low cropping intensities and are moreover responsible for low yield. 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.

At present, only 16.5 million hectares are under canal irrigation being fed by Tarbella, Mangla and Chashma reservoirs, 22 barrages, 12 inter-river link canals and 48 main canals. Water available at the farm gate after accounting, farm losses and run offs has increased from 50 MAF in 1961-62 to 101 MAF in 1988-89. Estimates show that about 60 per cent of water is lost during conveyance through canals distributions and water courses. Water available from tubewells through groundwater pumpage amounts to 46 MAF. So, the total water available for 22.5 mha land is 144 MAF of which 97% is used in agriculture and the remaining 3% for domestic and industrial purposes. Out of 144 MAF, around 106 MAF is annually diverted into one of the largest irrigation system.



Agricultural sector of Pakistan is usually divided into four main sub-sectors: crops, livestock and fisheries. The crop sector accounts for about 65 per cent of agriculture share in the GDP. Blessed with abundantly available national resources and favourable climate, Pakistan stands as an ideal place for crop, animal, forestry and fish production. Of these, crop sector accounts 69 per cent of agriculture's GDP, while livestock accounts for 30 per cent. Forestry and fisheries make up less than 2 per cent of the total. Agriculture is therefore, the leaching sector and backbone of our economy. There are about 65 large and small institutes and over 62 sub-stations, etc. in the country. 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. There are two growing seasons of crops in Pakistan, i.e. Kharif (summer) and Rabi (winter). In Kharif season, mostly rice, cotton, sugarcane, maize, etc. crops are grown, while in Rabi, the crops like wheat and vegetables are grown. Other crops grown in the country are bajra, jawar, barley, tobacco, sugar beet, guar, gram, mung, mash, masoor, bean, peas, rapeseed, mustard, groundnut, sesamum, linseed, castorseed, onion, garlic, chillies, turmeric, ginger, potato, tomato. At present, the production of cereal crops are: 26880 x 103 metric tons annually, while the domestic utilization of cereals are 24829 x 103 m.tons and per capita supply of cereal is 1445 kg/year. On the other hand, the areas of food crops, cash crops, pulses and edible oilseeds in hectares are: 12.358, 4078, 1329 and 516 respectively, with the production of 25986, 45867, 621 and 4091 m.tons, respectively.


WHEAT: Wheat is a major and most important food crop and a staple food of Pakistan. Wheat is the main staple food for the vast majority of the country's population and occupies a central position among food grains. On an average each household spends about 17 per cent of its total food expenditure on wheat and wheat flour. It contributes 12.5% to the value added in the agriculture sector of the economy and accounts for nearly 38 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. The most remarkable progress has been made in the improvement of wheat yields during the last few decades. Perhaps the most notable success was the development of short statured varieties, which under optimal conditions of fertility and water supply out yielded the tall traditional types. 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. The availability of the irrigation water through canals mainly contribute to the growth and production of wheat. The average per acre yield of wheat is estimated between 20 and 25 mounds 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 Federal Committee on agriculture has estimated that the output of wheat crop is likely to touch 20.1 million tons, which will be sufficient to fulfil the country,s requirement during 2004-2005. Pakistan stands within the ten wheat producing country in the world. Wheat is grown on an area of 83.25 million hectares with an average of 2290 kg/ha. However, the yield per hectare is low compared to other wheat producing countries of the world. The important wheat varieties grown in the country are Zargoon, Sariab-92, Pavon. Zamindar, Fbd-85, Inqulab. Mehran-89, Anmmol, Punjab-96, Pasban, Kohistan, Margalla, Chakwal-97, Jauhar-78, Sindh-81, Sarsabz, Soghat-90, Bakhtawar, Kiran, Tatara, Fakhr-e-Sarhad, etc.

There is an urgent need to increase the yield of wheat 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. 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 undertake 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. 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 sufficiency 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 DAP 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 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.

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 mounds 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. 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 cater 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. 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 leveled 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 is the second most important crop brings economic prosperity of the growers as well as earns billions of rupees through its export for country. Pakistan fine rice commonly known as Basmati is world famous and enjoys monopoly in the international market, due to its quality characteristics, strong aroma, slender and long kernel, intermediate amylose 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.

Rice occupies 11 per cent of the country's cropped area and contributes about 17 per cent of food grain production. Rice is cultivated over an area of 2.51 million hectares with an production of 5.1 m tons as estimated for the year 2003-2004. Punjab is the biggest producer of rice in the country and contributes 48 per cent to national production while the provinces of Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP to 41, 8 and 3 per cent, respectively. Some of the important varieties grown in the country are Super Basmati, Basmati 385, Basmati 2000, Shaheen Basmati, Shua-92, Shadab, Khushboo, NIAB-IRRI-9, KS-282. All rice is irrigated and mainly transplanted. On an average, each household in Pakistan spends about 3.8 per cent of its total food expenditure on rice and rice flour. 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 2000-2002 about 2 million tons rice at worth Rs. 2.6 billion was exported. The contribution of basmati and coarse rice in rice exports was 54 and 46% respectively. After Thailand, Vietnam, United States and India, Pakistan is the fifth largest rice-exporting country in the world. 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 and its produce is obtained in the shape of seed cotton and cotton lint. Cotton is the second most important cash crop of our country after wheat, in terms of area and value added. It is a creditable source of valuable foreign exchange for the country with an annual production of 9-10 million bales. Accounting for over sixty per cent of Pakistan's foreign exchange earnings, cotton is the country's most vital economic asset. During 1991, Pakistan ranked third globally after China and the US, in production and was the first in cotton export. The highest yield achieved in Pakistan was 12.28 million bales in 1991-92. The cotton grown in the world is on 34369 x 103 hectares with the production of 2711 x 103 m.tons with an area yield of 574 kg/ha. Other major growing countries are India (87 x 105 ha production, 2711 x 103 m.tons and yield 312 kg/ha); USST (545 x 103 ha production, 397 x 104 m.tons and yield 729 kg/ha); China (50 x 106 ha production, 4 x 106 m.tons and yield 800 kg/ha); Pakistan (3253 x 103 ha production, 1859 x 103 m.tons and yield 572 kg/ha); Turkey (72 x 104 ha production, 798 x 103 m.tons and yield 1108 kg/ha); Egypt (374 x 105 ha production, 338 x 103 m.tons and yield 901 kg/ha); Australia (37 x 104 ha production, 577 x 103 m.tons and yield 1560 kg/ha); Syria (222 x 105 ha production, 227 x 103 m.tons and yield 1023 kg/ha).

The Federal Standing Committee on cotton crop has estimated 10.7 million bales of cotton production for the year 2003-2004 with shares of provinces as: Punjab (7.9 m bales), Sindh (2.55 m bales ), Balochistan (0.122 m bales), and NWFP (0.012 m bales ). 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. It 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 of 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 picking is done in September and in upper Sindh and Punjab, sowing is carried out between May and June, while the picking period extends from October to January. Cotton picking is done entirely by women. 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. Cotton is grown on loamy soil, and requires a minimum temperature of 25oC and a maximum of 35oC.

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. Cotton needs 5-6 watering, 24 inches from flat fields and 16 for ridge cultivation and 6-7 pesticide sprays depending on the intensity of pest infestation. 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 yield of cotton in the Punjab which contributes nearly 82 per cent in the total production ranged from 470 to 602 kg/hectare. A series of virus have significantly lowered the yield, although Pakistan's agricultural scientists have produced virus resistant seeds that have revived the crop.

SUGARCANE: In Pakistan, sugarcane is grown in three soils and climate zones, the tropical Sindh, the sub-tropical Punjab and the temperate Peshawar valley of NWFP. It is cultivated successfully in tropical area between 25o N and 28o 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. It is the mainstay of the sugar industry. Sugarcane and sugars are the important sources of income and employment to the farming community as well as the urban population of the country. Sugar industry of Pakistan is second to textiles. Sugarcane was cultivated on an area of 1000 thousand hectares during the current fiscal year. In order to enable the country to be self-sufficient in sugar, a minimum area of 1.150 million hectares should remain under cane cultivation, which can produce 50.1 million tons at an average yield of 46 tons/ha as estimated for 2003-2004. It has been observed that area, production and yield per hectare of sugarcane has increased remarkably since the inception of Pakistan, but it is a matter of great concern, that yield per hectare and sugar recovery is very low as compared with other sugarcane growing countries of the world. Average yield of sugarcane in the world is about 65 tons per hectare, while in Pakistan, it is around 46 tons. Thus, in Pakistan, the yield of sugarcane is very low as compared to other sugarcane producing countries of the world, like 67 tons per hectare in India having soil and climatic conditions almost similar to those in Pakistan, 50 tons per hectare in Mexico, 80 tons per hectare in Australia, 86 tons per hectare in Indonesia and 80 tons per hectare in Hawaii, USA and 110 tons Egypt. 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. Some of the prominent sugarcane varieties growing in the country are NIA-98, BL-4, L-118, PR-1000, Ghulabi, Thatta-10, etc. At present, sugar industry consists of 78 units 32 in Sindh; 40 in the Punjab and 6 in NWFP. 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. 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 26 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 2002, 74 sugar mills produced 3.52 million tons; national demand-3.20 million tons; labour force 10 people; 5 years average cost of production (1996-2000) Rs. 14850/ton; 5 years average selling price (1996-2000) Rs. 14920/ton; land under cultivatin-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 effects the sugarcane production. Non-availability of high yield sugarcane varieties improper preparation of proper timings for cultivation, insufficient availability of irrigation water for the crop. In adequate imbalanced use of fertilizers and pesticides. NIA, Tandojam successfully evolved a new high-yielding sugarcane variety NIA-98 for cultivation in Sindh. It has an erect and forth growing habit. Its cane is medium to thick and tall with long intermodes.

EDIBLE OIL: Despite the fact that Pakistan is overwhelming an agrarian economy, it is enable to produce edible oil sufficient for domestic requirements and substantial amount of foreign exchange is spent on the import of soybean and palm oil. Pakistan spent 413 USA dollars on the import of oil. The total requirement of edible oil which is estimated at 1.55 million tons. However, the domestic production of various types of edible oil is around 62 x 104 tons annually and therefore, the short fall of about 93 x 104 tons s met through imports of palms oil and soybean oil. Per capita consumption of edible oil is 11 kg. Pakistan is facing a serious shortage of edible oil because its domestic production is far below the demand. Consequently, lion's share of foreign exchange has to be incurred on oil import every year. The amount on oil import is increasing every year. Edible oil in Pakistan is produced from cotton, rape seed, mustard, groundnut and sesamum, while sunflower, soybean and safflower are recent past introductions. The areas and production of different oil seed crops in the country are: cotton (2961060 ha and production 3636929 tons); rapeseed (282475 ha and production 209400 tons); sunflower (117360 ha and 209916 tons); canola (66370 ha and production 81750 tons); and others (9715 ha and production 11600 tons). The edible oil ranks the highest among the imported food items. In order to save an average outflow of foreign exchange of about $ 700 million on account of import of edible oil there is strong need to accelerate efforts in the agricultural sector to steadily increase the local production of oil seeds. Oil content is high in sunflower seed which indicates an immense potential for a substantial growth. The country's major source of edible oil is cottonseed.

FORESTRY: Pakistan does not possess adequate forest resources since forest area constitutes a meager 4.8 per cent of the total land area. A desired level of 22 to 25 per cent is considered to be essential for economic growth of a country as suggested by the United Nations. The forest sector despite its small size makes its presence felt by employing half a million people, supporting 30 million herds of livestock, conserving soil, regulating water flow for irrigation and power generation, reducing sedimentation, maintaining ecological balance, providing 3.7 million cubic meters of wood and one third of the nations energy requirements. 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, fuel wood, 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 out-dated 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.

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: Both the livestock and poultry sector of Pakistan play an important role in agricultural performance. The livestock sector contributes 37.5 per cent to agricultural value added; approximately 9.5 per cent to GDP and 12.5 per cent to Pakistan's export earnings. Within rural households, livestock activities generate additional income for households, in which nearly 30-35 million people in rural areas are involved in this sector. Production of poultry has also accelerated in recent years with almost every rural family and one in every five urban families being involved in poultry production activities. 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 2003, the domestic livestock population is estimated is 23.3 million buffaloes, 22.4 million cattle, 24.2 million sheep, 49.1 million goats, 0.8 million camels, 0.32 million horses, 0.19 million mules, 3.8 million donkeys and 164.6 million poultry. For the year 2001, they produce 26284 x 103 tons milk, 1009 x 103 tons beef, 660 x 103 tons mutton, 2008 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 41.9 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. 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.



FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: Pakistan experiences different climatic conditions in its different regions, which provides it with a unique opportunity of growing fruits and vegetables all year round. Each region of Pakistan is adept at growing particular kinds of fruits. The horticultural sector has the potential of contributing significantly to the income of farmers and export incomes of Pakistan. A different kind of fruits are grown in the country, i.e. citrus, mango, banana, apple, guava, apricot, peach, pears, plums, grapes, pomegranate, dates, almonds. The areas of all the fruits in Pakistan are: 672.4 x 103 hectares with a total production of 5891.7 x 103 m.tons, annually. The vegetables grown in the country are: lady finger, carrot, radish, onion, tomato, potato, garlic, cauliflower, brinjal, peas, beans, cucumber, turnip, pumpkin, green chillies, ball pepper, kakri, ginger, cabbage., spinach, kulfa, The vegetables production are almost sufficient to meet the country requirements. etc.

FISHERIES: The fishery sector contributes a small per centage to GDP but a large per centage to the export sector through its exports of shrimp and fish. During 2001-2002, fish and fisheries products worth nearly 6 billion rupees were exported, generating substantial amount of foreign exchange. 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 kilograms 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 614800 tons both from inland and marine in the year 2000. Pakistan obtains it fish from Arabian sea, which has a coastal area of about 1000 kilometers, which covers Karachi and Balochistan coastal belts and these areas are totally barren because of non-availability of fresh water for any plantation or other agricultural activities. However, large of sub-surface brackish water is available all along. As much as about 500 species of fish are found in Arabian Sea.

Pakistan has about 125 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 433,500 in 1988. It has further increased in 2001 to 614800 metric ton. However, its catching capacity is vary from area to area and seasons. It has been reported that in Balochistan coastal area the catch is lower than the coast of Sindh. A large portion of fish catch us 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 and other edible items. 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.


Agriculture has always been the mainstay of Pakistan and strong economic growth is a prequisite for human development. Agricultural research and extension has been found to be the most important contributor to growth in total factor productivity in the country. In order to attain a sustainable agricultural production system we need to evolve a revolution in this most vital sector, by attending structural problem in the sector. A number of strategies have been planned by the government to improve the performance for the crop sector in order to amplify and improve agricultural productivity. Some strategies that have been planned include: educating farmers about various agronomic practices, balancing fertilizer-use and encouraging certain efficient practices to improve productivity. To increase output of the crop sector, farming area expansion has been planned especially for certain important crops, such as rice, wheat, and cotton. In view of the recent drought as well as usual water scarcity issues, water management will be encouraged. Farmers will be trained in utilizing water efficiently, which will not only save water but divert it to crops and areas which will increase productivity. Presently, 80% of the cultivated area is irrigated. Many regions are arid and rain-fed where irrigation is not possible due to non-availability of water. Even in irrigated lands, sufficient supply of water is not always guaranteed due to various problems. New irrigation techniques and machinery should be installed so as to increase the supply of water, which will in turn increase the yield.

One of the major problems of low yield is directly associated with the land tenure system. Feudalism, land ownership and peasant-proprietor relationships have greatly weakened the agriculture. Farmers do not have their own lands and have to work in the fields of landlords. At certain times, fraternal relations are not developed due to the inputs and outputs of land and hence the yield is badly affected. To avoid such losses cordial owner-tenant relations should be developed. The farmers can not afford inputs for farming and other requirement for production even if they have their own lands. The potential is present but not properly utilized. Loan facilities and credit should be made easier. The state should control the price of inputs, mechanical tools and other necessities so that farmers can benefit the most from it. If proper case is given to agriculture, Pakistan will become self-sufficient in the basic crop requirements and manage to eradicate poverty, disease and malnutrition, leading to prosperity. This being the backbone will definitely strengthen the economy by reducing the import of agricultural commodities, which will eventually make sustainable agriculture in Pakistan.