AGRICULTURE THROUGH 58 YEARS

Agriculture accounts for nearly 23 percent of Pakistan's national income (GDP) and employs 42 percent of its workforce

By Ashraf Khan
Aug 22 - 28, 2005

During the fifties, agriculture did not receive adequate attention. During the sixties with the so-called 'Green Revolution'- a seed based approach to agriculture development - a beginning was made to develop more seriously the agriculture sector. But it did not benefit the small farmers nor was it able to bring about food self-sufficiency. In fact it served to aggravate social satisfaction in this sector. The Bhutto government tried to end exploitation of the peasants and to meet the need of the common man. Land Reforms were announced second time after the Aybian Reforms of the sixties. But these efforts did not achieve the expected results, due to political confusion that resulted in ending the Bhutto regime.

Steps, however, were taken to increase productivity of land by supplying improved seeds, adequate water, intensive use of chemical fertilizers and plant protection material. Some institutional measurers, however, were taken in 1974-75, which included Rural Development Programme, along with Land Reforms and Banking Reform to make more loans available to the farmers. Subsidies were given to small farmers for installment of tube-wells and for the purpose of fertilizer and plant protection material. An Agriculture Inquiry Committee was appointed in March 1975 to look into difficulties of this sector, to suggest means of increasing agriculture production and measures for an all round improvement. In 1975-76 the government fixed procurement prices of major crops to ensure adequate return to the farmer. The crops concerned were wheat, rice, sugarcane and cotton.

During the same year the government fixed prices of maize, potatoes and onions. Agricultural credit began to be provided at low interest rates particularly by specialized credit agencies like Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan and Agricultural Cooperative Societies.

The latter met frequently to regulate more and more loan needs of the farmers.

But in spite of similar facilities given by the previous government during the sixties, drought, pest attacks and crop diseases and frequent floods (i.e. 1973-74, 1974-75, and 1976-77) gave a big setback to this sector. In the words of an official publication: "The agricultural growth has been more or less in line with the speed of the use of essential inputs in the past with the exception of the period of natural calamity."

Fortunately, during the period of 1977-78 to 1980-81, although heavy rains might have occurred in certain places, there were no floods of the kind experienced earlier. Hence the inputs used that also in larger quantities than before provided effective increase in production of most crops. Free imports of pesticides were allowed, under the private sector, power tillers and other modernized farming equipment not manufactured in the country, could be imported free of duty and taxes. Imports of tractors were liberalized, exemption was given from water charges from additional areas brought under wheat; interest free loans were disbursed among small farmers to purchase inputs. Concessions were given in the rates of electricity used for tube-wells and exemption was given on fruit growing and polishing machinery from sales tax. Other concessions included withdrawals of import duty on pesticides, full rebates of custom duty and sales tax on locally manufactured agriculture machinery and implements.

In 1980-81, the policy of support prices and imports subsidization continued to be pursued. The element of subsidy, however, was reduced to move towards its gradual withdrawal.

Crop pattern was almost reversed in the seventies and eighties. In area the highest increase was under rice, followed by sugarcane, maize and wheat. Cotton and gram only showed three percent increase in area.

THE CURRENT POSITION

Agriculture accounts for nearly 23 percent of Pakistan's national income (GDP) and employs 42 percent of its workforce. Agriculture also supplies raw material to Pakistan's industries, notably textile industry, the largest industrial sub-sector of the economy. Most importantly, 67.5 percent of the country's population living in rural areas are directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Given its importance to national economy, the government attaches high priority to raising agricultural productivity with a view to promoting faster agricultural growth and hence, raising farmers income.

Pakistan witnessed unprecedented draught during the first two yeas of the new century (2000-01 and 2001-02) which resulted in contraction of agricultural value addition. In other words, agriculture registered negative growth in these two years. The next two years (2002-03 and 2003-04) witnessed a modest recovery in agricultural growth at the back of improvement in the availability of water for irrigation purpose. A stranger-than-expected performance of agriculture has been one of the hallmarks of the fiscal year (FY) 2004-05 with growth reaching as high as 7.5 percent on account of unprecedented increase in cotton production (14.6 million bales) and a near bumper wheat crop (of the size of 21.1 million tons). Major crops, accounting for 37.1 percent of value added agriculture registered stellar growth of 17.3 percent as against 1.8 percent last year. Minor crops, contributing 12.2 percent to overall agriculture grew by 3.1 percent as against 2.6 percent last year. The performance of livestock - the single largest contributor to overall agriculture (46.8%); fisheries and forest - the two minor contributors, have been lackluster at best as they grew by 2.3 percent, 2.1 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. In ensuing pages we review the performance of various major and minor crops, livestock, fisheries, forest and agricultural inputs.

BASIC DATA ON AGRICULTURE

Fiscal Year

Cropped Area

Impro_
ved
seed distr-
ibution

Water avail-
ability *

Credit disbursed

Number of tube wells

Produ-
ction of tractors

Produ-
ction of meet

Milk prod-
uction

Fish prod-
uction

Total forest prod-
uction

 

(Million Hectares)

(000 Tones)

(MAF)

(Rs million)

(a)

(No)

(000 Tones)

(000 Tones)

(000 Tones)

(000 cu. meter.)

1990-91

21.82

83.27

119.62

14,915.29

339,840

13,841

1,581

15,481

483

1,072

1991-92

21.72

65.93

122.05

14,479.31

355,840

10,077

1,685

16,280

518.7

491

1992-93

22.44

63.93

125.12

16,198.11

374,099

16,628

1,872

17,120

553.1

691

1993-94

21.87

63.27

128.01

15,674.05

389,493

15,129

2,000

18,006

621.7

703

1994-95

22.14

76.87

129.65

22,373.27

463,463

17,063

2,114

18,966

558.1

684

1995-96

22.59

145.1

130.85

19,187.31

485,050

16,218

1,841

22,970

541.9

720

1996-97

22.73

137.67

132.05

19,547.67

489,601

10,417

1,908

23,580

555.5

557

1997-98

23.04

130.5

122.15

33,392.30

531,699

14,144

1,841

24,215

589.7

490

1998-99

23.07

167.38

133.78

42,852.00

531,692

26,885

1,906

24,876

597

383

1999-00

22.74

194.3

133.28

39,687.60

541,839

35,038

1,957

25,566

654.5

670

2000-01

22.04

233.05

134.77

44,789.40

545,569

32,553

2,015

26,284

629

736

2001-02

22.12

177.65

134.63

52,446.30

680,473

24,311

2,072

27,031

654.5

726

2002-03

21.85

190

134.48

58,918.70

762,902

17,617

2,132

27,811

562

823

2003-04

22.94

189

134.78

73,560.00

768,270

25,417

2,188

28,624

566.2

918

2004-05 P

22.94

196.6

135.68

73,810.82

-

32,012

2,271

29,472

573.6

912

P: Provisional (July-March)
(a) Public and private tube wells.
Source: Economic survey 2004-05

 


 

PRODUCTION OF IMPORTANT CROPS (000 tones)

FISCAL YEAR

WHEAT

RICE

GRAM

SUGARCANE

COTTON

(000 bales)

1990-91

14,565

3,261

531

35,989

9,628

1991-92

15,684

3,243

513

38,865

12,822

1992-93

16,157

3,116

347

38,059

9,054

1993-94

15,213

3,995

411

44,427

8,041

1994-95

17,002

3,447

559

47,168

8,697

1995-96

16,907

3,966

680

45,230

10,595

1996-97

16,651

4,305

594

41,998

9,374

1997-98

18,694

4,333

767

53,104

9,184

1998-99

17,858

4,674

698

55,191

8,790

1999-00

21,079

5,156

565

46,333

11,240

2000-01

19,024

4,803

397

43,606

10,732

2001-02

18,226

3,882

362

48,042

10,613

2002-03

19,183

4,478

675

52,056

10,211

2003-04

19,500

4,848

611

53,419

10,048

2004-05 P

21,109

4,991

761

45,316

14,618

P: Provisional (Jul-Mar)
Source: 1. Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.
2. Federal Bureau of Statistics