AGRICULTURE IN 2001
The modern technology such as genetic engineering technique must be introduced on top priority
By Dr. S.M. ALAM
May 21 - Jun 03, 2001
Agriculture in Pakistan is scientifically described as the backbone of the national economy. It constitutes about 24% of the gross domestic products, employs nearly 50% of the labour force and provides livelihood directly to 70% of the population. Despite many natural gifts and facilities, the growth of domestic product of the country is going downward and it has come to 4.5 per cent. This is possibly due to marked slow down in the economy to the reverses suffered by the agriculture sector as a result of the long drawn-out drought. Pakistan’s economy is overwhelming by dependent on agriculture, which has made it too prone to the vagaries of weather. There is a report that according to an Accord of 1991, Punjab receives 55.95 MAF for its command area of 21.3 million acres whereas Sindh receives 48.76 MAF for its 12.75 million acres. According to calculations, Sindh received 3.82 feet per acre, whereas Punjab received 2.78 feet per acre. Punjab had received 46.55 MAF sweet underground water and also received 9.1 MAF of rain water. The Sindh received 2.38 MAF underground sweet water, whereas rain water only just 0.58 MAF. Thus the total calculations came to 140.19 MAF for Punjab and 53.24 MAF for Sindh. This year, Sindh has received no rainfall at all.
For the past three years, Sindh has been facing drought situation due to which a lot of land is left uncultivated and the farmers are facing financial crisis. Tube-well electric charges are very high in Sindh compared to other provinces. Presently, the farmers of Sindh are paying an electricity bill of Rs. 16,000 per tubewell approximately per month, which is our time that of a farmer of Balochistan (i.e. tube-well tariff upto Rs. 4000/- month for the farmers of Balochistan). At present, the total number of tube-wells in the country are 565,000 and out of this only in Punjab are 500,000 tube-wells, which pumped out 46 MAF water, whereas in Sindh only 2 MAF water could be pumped ont. There are more waterlogging and salinity in Sindh than Punjab. The 80 per cent subsoil/water in Sindh are brackish, whereas in Punjab 80 per cent of subsoil water was sweet.
Out of total land area of 80 million hectares, only about 21 million hectares are cultivable. Of the total cropped area 16.2 million hectare (77 %) is irrigated and 6.01 million hectares is rain-fed. The annual rainfall varies from less than 100 mm in Sindh to more than 750 mm in the foot hills and northern mountains. About 60% of this rainfall occurs during monsoon. Inspite of a number of drainage and salinity menace, control schemes being undertaken, the salinity and waterlogging problems persist and each year 40,000 hectares of irrigated land is lost to waterlogging and salinity. Pakistan is quite outstanding country in the world with regard to its well-knit irrigation system which covers from upper parts of the country, down to the mouth of Indus in the south. Irrigated areas are generally limited to the Indus plain and river Indus and its tributaries are the main source of irrigation water. No doubt irrigation system has increased agricultural production but on the other hand has created the problem of waterlogging and salinity in the country.
Pakistan is not in a sound position as far as its cereal production is concerned, because the per hectare yield of its major crops are stagnant and far below their production potentials. There are multiple causes for this scenario and about 85% of the total area is arid and semi-arid, the ever grown desertification and deterioration of productive ecosystems have posed a serious threat to its land resources of array of problems leading to their depletion, a big chunk of land is being lost to agricultural productivity, through loss of fertility and land erosion and millions of hectares of fertile land in the irrigated areas is rendered unproductive due to twin-menace of waterlogging and salinity. Fertile lands located near and around the towns and cities are being used for industrial purposes. So this valuable land is lost to agriculture. At present, the area (000 hectares), production (000 tons) and yield per hectares kilogram of some important crops such as wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane are: Area-8385, 2251, 1000, 3150 and Production-20000, 4600, 9300 and 45000 and showing an average yield in kilogram per hectare of wheat-2325, rice-1950, cotton-550 and sugarcane 43000. The per average yield of most crops are low compared to other countries. Below are given in short the production description and constraints of four major food and cash crops of the country.
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), cereal plant of the genus Triticum of the grass family, a major food and an important commodity on the world grain market. It was one of the first of the grains domesticated by man. Bread wheat is known to have been grown in the Nile valley by 5000 B.C and its apparently later cultivation in other regions (e.g. the Indus and Euphrates valleys by 4000 B.C, China by 2500 B.C and England by 2000 B.C).
The wheat plant is an annual and the most common cultivated species is Triticum aestivum. This is the prominent species, which is mostly grown in Asian countries. This is the only producing species of wheat, which is commonly grown at suitable places throughout the country. Wheat is the staple diet of Pakistan and accounting for over 80 per cent of gross cereal intake. Wheat is the crop with the largest areas and constitutes over 39 per cent of the total cultivated agricultural land. At present, area under wheat cultivation is over 8.431 x 103 hectares with annual production of about 20 million tons. The province wise- production of wheat are very variable, which is mainly due to tremendous variation in climatic conditions. Thus provincial share in production of wheat of Punjab is 67.5 per cent, Sindh 12.6 per cent, NWFP 6.7 per cent and Balochistan 4.4 per cent. The major wheat producing areas in Punjab are Sargodha, Faisalabad, Muzafarghrh; Jhang, Sahiwal and Multan; in Sindh, the districts of Sukkur, Nawabshah, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Hyderabad. Similarly, in NWFP, the districts of Peshawar, Mardan, Chersadah, Bannu, Kohat and Nowshera are prominent, while in Balochistan district of Nasirabad, Sibi and Khuzdar are the main wheat producing zones. During the past few years, many wheat varieties have been released in the country by the wheat breeders. Some of the varieties which were released for cultivation in near past in all the four provinces are as: (i) Punjab - Bahalpur-97, Chakwal-97, Inqilab-91, Kohistan-97, M.H-97, Punjab-96, Shahkar-96, Kohsar-95 etc.; (ii) Sindh-Ahadgar-93, Anmol, Mehran-95, Jauhar-98, Sarsabz, Soghat-90, Kiran-95, Sindh-81; (iii) NWFP-Nishtar, Tatra, Kahtawar-93, Fakhr Sarhad, Nowshera-96. Similarly, (iv) Balochistan-Azri-96, Zardana are the prominent varieties. All these new wheat varieties involved by different scientific and research organizations are high yielding and disease resistant varieties, which will help Pakistan to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production. The research workers and planners in all the four provinces are trying to supply or provide the farmers, the certified varieties of wheat, which will be grown under the proper agro-climatic conditions.
Production (000 tons)
The total production of wheat has been increasing yearly and it has increased from 3.6 million tons in 1960 to 2000 x 103 tons in 1999-2000. This has been achieved by bringing more area under wheat and by adopting improved varieties with better technology. Thus, Pakistan made a quantum jump in wheat production in recent years.
The province-wise break up of wheat in areas, production and yield per kg for the year 1999-2000 are as:
With the rise of burgeoning population of the country annually, the demand for wheat is also increasing. Therefore, the government has encouraged the farmers to increase the wheat production and according the target for the year as given by the government is nearly 20 million tons. The following table indicates the area, production average, required wheat and population of the country for future years.
It is noted from the above table that requirements of wheat are progressively increasing every year, firstly due to increasing population, and secondly the productive life of existing commercial varieties are short due to new races of diseases particularly leaf rust and also due to inbreeding depression and other genetic and physiological reasons, thirdly, salinity which is a major agricultural problem in the country and more than 6.25 million hectares of lands are under salinity stress. The general inefficiency of our agricultural production system continues unattended. The package of improved production technology for wheat and for the matter for all other crops is well-known but no serious effort is visible anywhere to translate it into action.
Area, production, acreage of wheat and population
At present, wheat has gained a pivotal place in fulfilling the need of the population. Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is the most important food crop of Pakistan and has remained the central theme of self-sufficiency programme in the country. It is basic food for most of the people and it occupies more farm lands than other crops. Wheat claims three times the area and twice the value added share of cotton and rice. Last year (1999-2000) a bumper yield of wheat of about 20.65 million hectares were obtained due to use of pure quality of seed of variety suited to proper agro-climatic condition, timely irrigation, supply of fertilizers, control of weed, use of insecticides etc. A strong support price has always played an effective role in motivating the farmers for harvesting a good wheat crop. Last year, the wheat support price increased from Rs. 240/ per 40 kg to Rs. 300/- per 40 kg. This incentive has caused a remarkable wheat production amounting to over 20 million tons. The bumper harvest of wheat was the result of comprehensive package of measures taken by the government to boost up wheat production i.e. increase in wheat price, increase in land, cleaning of canals, timely supply of fertilizer, insecticides, irrigation water, certified seed. In addition, efforts were made to train farmers, agriculture extension research workers and other agencies. These scenarios will of course pave way to increase the wheat production in the country. The government had given a reasonable target of 21.0 million tons for the production of wheat for the year 2000-2001, but due to shortage of water, the actual production has been lowered down and it has come to nearly 19.0 million tons.
Lack of rains and snowfall have caused severe shortage of water and this phenomenon is posing serious threat to the growth of agriculture production. Shortage of irrigation water is also posing threat to the target of 20.00 million tons wheat production set by the government during current year. Although, this target has already been revised and reduced to the level of 18.7 million tons due to shortage of irrigation water, but lack of rains has further aggravated the situation. The wheat crop in the entire arid zone of Potohar has been destroyed because of lack of rains during the Rabi season. The official of agriculture department (Punjab) has estimated zero yield from the district of Potohar region including Attock, Jhelum, Rawalpindi and Chakwal. These areas contributes five per cent of the total wheat production of the country. The availability of irrigation water in Punjab was as bad as Sindh. Against its requirement of 30,000 cusecs of water, Punjab was only setting 5,600 cusecs from the Tarbela dam.
The country is in the grip of an unprecedented water scarcity aggravated by drought. There is no denying the fact that the prevailing long running drought condition will affect wheat production in the country. The non-availability of water in the canal irrigation has further worsened the wheat crop. It may be mentioned here that the Barani or rainfed area which mainly depends on the rains consists of 15 per cent of the total cultured area of wheat, providing 2.5 million tons of wheat. Therefore, there is urgent need to conserve water from all sources for various crops for which all out efforts be made to overcome the drought condition. Incidentally, there is no way to fight the natural drought. However, the effect of drought could be minimized by adopting water management strategies for its conservation. Under the present unavoidable circumstances the primary need is to develop-drought resistant wheat varieties for cultivation under drought and in saline and brackish water conditions. This seems to be the most appropriate step to meet the challenge of the present unfavourable climatic condition. This will also help in maintaining the present production level of not only the wheat but of other crops as well. It is further suggested that the water management strategy being used by other countries with similar climatic condition be popularized among farmers for their practice at their cultivated fields which would provide water for their agricultural fields.
Rice, cereal grain (Oryza sativa L.) of the grass — family, probably native to the deltas of the great Asiatic rivers — the ganges the Tigris the Yangtze and the Euphrates. It has been cultivated in China since ancient times and was introduced to India before the time of the Greeks. Chinese records of rice cultivation go back to 4000 years. Thousands of rice strains are now known. Rice cultivation has been carried into all regions with necessary warmth and abundant moisture favourable to its growth, mainly subtropical rather than hot or cold. Modern culture makes use of irrigation. The plant is an annually from 2 to 6 ft tall with a round jointed stem, long pointed leaves and seeds borne in a dense head on separate stalks. It has been estimated that half the world’s population subsists wholly or partially on rice.
Rice is the second most important crop of the world after wheat with more than 90 per cent currently grown in Asia where it is the main item of the diet. It has estimated that rice production needs to increase by at least 60 per cent over the coming years to meet the demands of the population growth. China is the main rice producing country in the world followed by India, Indonesia and Bangladesh. However, the yield per hectare is highest at 6.2 tons in Japan followed by 5.1 tons in China. It is grown in the world on areas of 149 million hectares giving 550 million tons of paddy with a yield of 3690 kg /ha (1997-98). In Asian countries, the areas are about 125 million hectares its production of 415 million tons having a yield of about 3340 kg/ha.
The average consumption of rice varies from one country to another. Vietnamese are on the top with consumption of 240 kg of rice per person followed by Thais with 204 kg of rice per person. Although, rice is the second most important staple food of the people of Pakistan, but its per capita consumption is only 20 kg. China is the number one rice producer (130 million tons), followed by India (85 million tons). On the other hand, Thailand is the leading rice porter with 4.5 million tons a year, followed by USA with 2.5 tons. In Pakistan, the area under rice cultivation is 2.422 million hectares giving 4.67 million tons of paddy rice with an average yield of 1929 kg/ha (1999-2000). Rice production and yield achievements show that there is a high potential and brighter prospects for increasing rice production. Pakistan is not included in the 10 largest rice producing countries, but its position is prominent as an exporter. The rice exports has surged by 30% or 222,330 metric tons to fetch more than $235.21 million during first seven months of current fiscal year. The total rice export was estimated at 963,103 tons till January 31, 2001. About 740,773 tons of rice was exported during the same period last year. The sharp rise in rice export during January was the major reason for increase in overall export of this grain. About 221,000 tons of rice specially IRRI-6 and IRRI-9 was exported in January 2001, alone. The rice export will continue to rise in the future as the demand for IRRI and Basmati was high in international market. Currently, about 30,000 of IRRI-6 was being loaded in the vessels at Karachi Port. The major buyers for Pakistani rice are Bangladesh, Indonesia, West Africa, East Africa, Gulf countries including, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Europe, USA and Canada. Dubai is the main market and a distribution centre for all kind of rice. Africa, Malaysia and Indonesia are the major buyers of IRRI-6 and IRRI-9. The share of IRRI-6 was estimated at 67.85 per cent or 653,489 tons worth about $ 103.19 million among the total rice exports from Pakistan during the current season. This was followed by super basmati at 102,698 tons worth more than $ 57.82 million, basmati PK-385 92,020 tons worth more than $14.53 million, IRRI-9 60,562 tons more than $14.53 million, blended 43,698 tons worth 15.49 million and PK-386 10,634 tons worth $3.06 million. Super Basmati fetched an average price $567.99 a ton Basmati: PK-385 $446.93, blended $354.41, pk-386 $278.90, IRRI-9 $239.9, IRRI-6 $157.9.
It is established that low per capita consumption (20 kg) allow it to export one third of its rice. Another reason is its wonderful aromatic characteristics, which many thousand years ago enhanced the Aryans and they named it as Fragrance of virgin (Basmati). Characterized by extra large superfine slender grain, basmati rice possesses pleasant and exquisite aroma, sweet taste, soft texture, delicate curvature and extra elongation with a least breadth wise swelling on proper cooking. There are nearly 60 per cent increases of rice production in Pakistan between 1965-95, which was a record among the rice producing Asian countries. The Punjab and Sindh are the two main rice producing provinces together contributing 85-90 per cent of the total country’s production.
Pakistan has potential capacity to increase its rice production. The present yield can easily be doubled if further efforts are made and major constraints are kindly given favourable consideration. However, there are many obstacles and these are non-availability of certified paddy seeds, time of cultivation, proper land preparation, time of nursery sowing and transplanting, optimum plant population (106 plants/acre), proper fertilizer dose, proper irrigation, weed control and post-harvest operation.
Cotton is the most important of vegetable fibers. Cotton has been spun, woven and dyed since pre historic times. It formed the staple clothing of India, Egypt, China and other countries. Cotton has played a significant historical role in the world industry. Large cotton producing countries such as China, USA, India, Egypt, Pakistan etc. are the main cotton growing countries. The cotton plant belongs to the genus Gossypium of the Mallow family. It is generally a shurby plant having broad three-lobed leaves and seeds in capsules or bolls each seed is surrounded with downy fiber, white or creamy in colour and easily spun. The fibers of flatten and twist naturally as they dry. Cotton is of tropical origin, but is most successfully cultivated in temperate climates with well-distributed rainfall. Cotton is planted annually by seed in furrows; the plants are thinned and weeded during the spring growing season. Diseases and insect pests are numerous, and of these the most destructive is the boll weevil, which causes enormous losses. When mechanical pickers are employed, a chemical defoliant is used to make the leaves drop so that only the cotton bolls are left on the plant for stripping. For the ginhouse, to cotton is separated from the seeds by a cotton gin and then baled. The manufacture of cotton into cloth involves many processes, carding, combing and spinning, which bring the raw fiber to a yarn or thread, strong enough for wearing in numerable commodities are made from cotton. From the lint (the fiber separated from the seed) comes the major products, chiefly textile and yarn goods, cordage automobile tyre cord, and plastic reinforcing. Cotton hulls are used for fertilizer, fuel and packing, fiber from the stalk is used for pressed paper and card board. Production of the chief by product, cotton seed oil, has assumed the importance of a separate industry since its establishment in the late l9th century. The oil content of cotton seeds is about 20 per cent. In its highly refined state, cotton seed oil is employed as salad and cooking oil, for cosmetics, and especially in the manufacture of margarine and shortenings. Paint makers use it to some extent as a semidrying oil. Less refined grades are used in the making of soaps, candles, detergents, artificial leather, oilcloth, and many other commodities. The cottonseed oil industry is becoming increasingly important to cotton growers as cotton fiber finds greater competition in the cheaper and stronger synthetic fibers. Cotton holds a key position in the economy of Pakistan. Raw cotton and cotton based goods provide employment to the millions of hand at farms, factories and in allied industries. Cotton textile industry occupies a significant position in Pakistan economy. It employs about 45 per cent of labour, produces 35 per cent of manufactured goods and contributes about 60 per cent of the total export earnings. Pakistan almost earned a foreign exchange of 11.6 million dollars during the period of 1997-98 by the export of raw cotton. About 80 per cent of the cotton crop is exported in the form of raw cotton. In addition to raw cotton, Pakistan also exported 49.2 million kilograms of cotton waste to foreign countries.
Cotton production in the country has reached over 8.601 million bales equivalent lint as on January 1, figures released on Thursday by the Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) showed. Because of Ramazan, Christmas, Eid holidays and new year eve the arrival of seed cotton in the second fortnight of December into ginning factories was estimated at 664,421 bales equivalent lint, short by 362,056 bales when compared with the fortnight’s flow recorded in same period the last year, experts said. Cotton production witnessed an increase of 4.88 per cent. The actual size of the crop was recorded at 8,601,089 bales equivalent lint till January 1 as compared to 8,202,273 bales in the corresponding period the last season. The inflow of seed cotton arrival had been put at 1,026,477 bales during the second fortnight of December the last year. "Chances of having a crop of around 11 million bales are bright" an expert working with the Agriculture Ministry said. "The Crop Assessment Committee, in its last meeting, was told that several big farmers including a feudal lord of lower Punjab were holding the crop on the hope of better returns", another unofficial source who attended the meeting said. There was a consensus in the meeting that the cotton outturn in Sindh would reach the two-million bale mark despite over 18 per cent shortage in cultivated area. "Having in mind the element of 500,000 non-registered bales the crop will have a huge size", another expert commented. In Punjab, cotton production stood at over 6.781 million bales (6,781,699 bales precisely) as on January 1 and witnessed an increase of 5.93 per cent. It had been at over 6,402 million bales the same period a year earlier. In Sindh, production was scaled at 1.819 million bales (1,819,390 bales exactly) and was up by 1.08 per cent when compared with the production of 1.80 million bales of cotton during the corresponding period last season. "Holy month of Ramazan and particularly the last ‘Ashura’, Christmas, Eid holidays and new year occasion were factors that caused an artificial shortfall in seed cotton inflow during the fortnight". Out of 20 cotton growing districts in Punjab, production was found short in four districts only, which were Multan (by 16.36 per cent), Qasur (by 17.68 per cent), Rahim Yar Khan (by 11.66 per cent) and Bahawalpur (by 3 per cent). Similarly, cotton production faced shortfall in four districts out of nine cotton growing districts in Sindh. They were Hyderabad (by 10.38 per cent), Tharparkar (by 23.33 per cent?, Nawabshah (by 6.11 per cent) and Naushero Feroze (by 4.09 per cent). According to the PCGA report, out of the output of over 8.601 million bales, the textile mills lifted over 6.537 million bales while commercial exporters purchased 309,347 and the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) procured 10,900 bales of cotton. The total unsold stock lying with the ginneries, including 488,660 un-ginned bales stood at 1,743,228 bales equivalent lint. The ginning factories in operation numbered to 1,015 including 871 in Punjab and 144 in Sindh.
Production supply use and trade of cotton in some cotton producing countries for the year 1999-2000 (1000 x production, 1 bale weighs 480 lb.)
The textile millers found themselves in a fix is the acute water crisis this year has created doubts about the actual size of the next cotton crop. One thing is certain that the cultivation area in Sindh is likely to decline appreciated because there will be no water in the canals when the sowing season for cotton starts in April. The situation in Punjab is equally uncertain. But situation might improve if rains come to farmers rescue in May. Punjab reaped a good crop in 2000 despite 38 % water shortage in 2000. Punjab farmers through prudent use of tube-well waters may again succeed in harvesting another satisfactory cotton crop this year. Due to inconsistent supply of Pakistan cotton in the international market, Pakistan cotton facing difficulties to find its share. Unfortunately our cotton export a cash crop often remains in conflict with the adequate system of international marketing. Cotton bales for exports are not contamination force and else the packings consist wet cotton to deceive weight entity. Resultantly, the trust of international buyers/ purchasers in our cotton is infused and they are not serious for our cotton purchase. They have rated our cotton as of inferior quality, so the fair dealing with the parties are settled with as on wills and wishes. Whatsoever, our cotton is accepted by them it is under constrained situations. Other than that, there are certain other factors affecting Pakistan raw cotton exports which are (i) international market is concerned about contamination in Pakistan cotton. People do talk about contamination free cotton, but in reality Pakistan cotton is being found contaminated, (ii) due to bad ginning and insufficient cleaning, Pakistan cotton is mostly classed as index ‘B’ cotton. Other than contamination and poor quality ginning, poor packing is also one of the main problems, which are hampering Pakistan cotton export. It is imperative that Pakistan cotton ginning industry improves bales packing. High interest rates is the worst factor which has affected badly not only cotton trade but other industries too. Export by cotton should be lined in meaningful results. Honesty definitely will play a purposeful role in setting the cotton production as well as export in a harmony manners.
Sugarcane, tall tropical perennials (species of Saccharum, chiefly S.officinarum of the grass family, probably cultivated in their native Asia from prehistoric times. Sugarcane somewhat resembles corn and sorghum with a large terminal panicle and a nodded stalk. Today sugarcane is good source of sugar. Cane is harvested by cutting down the plant stalks, which are then pressed several times to extract the juice. The juice is concentrated by evaporation into dark, sticky sugar. By-products obtained from sugarcane include molasses, rum, alcohol, fuel, livestock feed and from the stalk residue paper and wallboard.
Sugarcane is an important cash crop of Pakistan. It is mainly grown for sugar and jaggary production. It is an important source of income and employment for the farming community throughout the year. It also forms basis for many important industries like sugar beverages, chipboard, paper, confectionery and provide raw materials to mainly other industries such as chemicals, plastics, paints, synthetics, fiber, insecticides, detergents etc.
Sugarcane production in the country has increased over time, however, this increase has mainly resulted from an expansion in area, whereas yields have been increased only very slightly. Area, production and yield over the period of 1947-88 grew at an average annual rate of 3.79, 4.53 and 0.73 per cent, respectively. In 1992-93, the area under sugarcane was 885 thousand hectares which increased to 1000 thousand hectares in 1999-2000, and sugarcane production has increased from 38059 thousand in 1992-93 to 45015 thousand tons in 1999-2000. It shows that despite expansion in production over years, increase in the productivity per unit area has been very low in Pakistan. Though Pakistan happens to be the world’s fourth largest grower of sugarcane it has perhaps the lowest yield in the world. The average sugarcane yields in Pakistan have remained between 40-45 tons per hectare which is considerably less than those obtained in many other countries. Average yield of sugarcane in the world is around 60 metric tons per hectare, while India and Egypt are getting 60 tons and 105 tons per hectare respectively. Thus Egypt with highest cane yield in the world is getting about 140 % higher yield than Pakistan. India almost similar soil and climatic condition is obtaining about 5 per cent higher cane yield than Pakistan.
As it is one of the cash crop of the country, therefore, efforts should be made to improve its productivity. As a result of these efforts, substantial improvements can take place in its yield. Improved seed production, quality control and distribution depend largely upon the availability of skilled and competent local manpower. Sugar millers requested the government to discontinue import of Indian sugar, which is causing the industry losses of billions of rupees and leading to bankruptcy because of the falling prices of the commodity in the market. The millers expressed that investments worth over Rs. 100 billion in the industry will be doomed if the import of India sugar is not banned immediately. At present, sugar rates have plummted to Rs. 26 per kilo in the domestic market because of the import of the commodity from India against local production cost of Rs. 27-28 a kilo. A reliable source says that 350,000 tons of Indian sugar was imported besides 600,000 tons of raw sugar. Sugar industry in Pakistan with a strong production base with 78 mills having an installed production capacity of 4.867 million tons has always been suffered of capacity utilization. Due to shortfall in the sugar production, around 3 lakh tons of sugar is to be imported. The duty on import of sugar is around 45 per cent and a 20 per cent General Sales Tax (GST) leading to landed cost of sugar in the local market of Rs. 26-27 per kg at retail.
It has been reported that there has been no fruitful improvement in the country’s economy during the last 10 years for the simple reason that the people concerned traders, industrialists and other organizations were not taken into confidence, while formulating policies. The global situation of agricultural products is declining due to urbanization, increase in population and unfortunate natural calamities. Due to probable scarcity of food supply, it is feared that in the coming days, the situation may further go down and naturally it will completely affect the foreign exchange reserves of the country in the long run. For the last 53 years, the country is depend generally on foreign assistance. As now the situation of our crop yield is compared to our increasing rate of burgeoning population and gradual land degradation is mounting to alarming levels. Desertification, deforestation, urbanization, lack in the water supply system also making the condition worst. So it becomes unfortunate that neither we are self-sufficient for our domestic needs nor the foreign help can comfortably be advised so the only solution of reexploration of our resources is left behind to utilize and secondly we have to promote measures through which the yield per acre be sufficiently enhanced. The modern technology such as genetic engineering technique be introduced on top priority and farmer community be helped seriously in use of certified and pure seeds, proper fertilizers and timely spray of pesticides of standard grade. Restoration of arable land affected through waterlogging and salinity be taken on advanced technology and on scientific manners. Active cooperation among land lords, farmers and other extension workers must be necessary.
One of the serious problems faced by Pakistan, is low yield of crops. The average yield of different crops is nearly half of the yield, achieved in India having similar climatic and soil conditions. Various reasons for this poor output are: exceptionally large or economically unviable small land holdings, poor availability of certified quality seeds, inadequate supply of fertilizer, agricultural implements and irrigation water. It is also difficult for farmers to acquire credit as bulk of the funds is extended to big landlords. The other problems are supply of adulterated pesticides, waterlogging and salinity, inadequate farms to market roads and exploitation by the middlemen. Improving the average yields of various crops is the responsibility of federal and provincial governments. This includes supply of certified seeds, adequate quantity of various types of fertilizers, duty free imports of agricultural implements and supply of irrigation water at the far ends.