AGRICULTURE - THE ONLY FOOD SOURCE FOR HUMAN BEINGS

DR. S. M. ALAM
Mar 16 - 22, 2009

It is an established fact that without agriculture( which includes cultivation of crops, vegetables, fruits, fishery, poultry, livestock, forestry etc.), the preparation of any type of food for general consumption is at all impossible. Foods are prepared through different processes. A food industry is a factory that serves to prepare foods and beverages to the population. The food processing units have great potential in food preparation through the items of wheat flour, rice , sugar, vegetables, fruits , fish, milk etc. for producing confectionary & biscuits, jams, jellies, and squashes, snacks, and potato chips, poultry & dairy products, beverages, cereal products, dehydrated fruits and vegetables , meat and meat products for local consumption & exports. Besides having a thriving local industry, fermented fruits and vegetables are traditionally consumed in Pakistan and neighboring countries. Raw mangoes, ripe limes, olives, turnips, carrots, onions, cauliflower, reddish, pepper, and other are pickled with the help of mainly lactic acid bacteria.

Agriculture remains the largest f sector by contributing about 23% & employing 48% of total labor force. It also happens to be the biggest source of foreign exchange earning by serving as a base for major industries. Pakistan is endowed with diverse climates, fertile land and one of the best canal irrigation systems of the world. Large varieties of crops are cultivated throughout the year, such as wheat, rice, cotton, maize and sugarcane which account for 91% of the value-added in major crops. Minor crops bajar, jowar , gram , barley etc. oil seed, pulses and vegetables account for 12% of the value-added in over all agriculture. Our natural resource base like land and water is under great stress by getting worse with the growing population. Production of all other major food products shall have also to be increased to meet the subsequent demand for the burgeoning population.

Agriculture products are comprised of major and minor crops, vegetables and spices, fruits, edible oils, livestock, milk, poultry, fisheries etc. Major and minor food crops of country are wheat, rice, maize, jawar, bajra, barley; cash crops are sugarcane, cotton, sugarbeet and guarseed; pulses are gram, mung, masoor, matter, mash, edible oilseeds are sesamum, groundnut, soybean, sunflower, canola, safflower, and cotton seed. The total production of all cereal crops come to 29905X103 tons. The production of sugar is about 3.99 million tons from 77 mills. Some sugar products are sweets, toffees, chocolates, candies, syrup, glucose and other sugar preparation .

Fruits, vegetables and floricultures have important impact on agricultural economy. The annual production of fruits, vegetables and spices is me tan 12 million tons. The important fruits include(000 tons): Citrus (1,948), mango(1,074), dates (622), apples (380), banana (158), apricot(206), almonds(23), grapes(49), guava(571), peach(70), pears(31),plums(61), pomegranate (50). The production of all fruits come to 622. The horticulture product holds huge market for exports. Some of fruits grown have great potential for exports, which are available in volumes, varieties and are of rich flavor. These are mangoes, citrus, grapes, dates, apples, peaches, and cherries. Other prominent fruits have enormous export potential are plums, pears, guava, etc. Among vegetables, potatoes, garlic, ginger and onions are vastly grown in Pakistan

The edible oil production (000 tons) in the country is 740 ( only 27% ). The imports amount of the oil is 1,360 (70%) and consumption is 2,100. Pakistan spends a huge amount on oil import bill. The production of vegetables (000tons) are: tomato(426), potato((2025), onion (1,817),garlic(56), chilies (91), turmeric( 38), ginger( 41)The production of all types of vegetables come to 3048.

Livestock is an important sector of agriculture in Pakistan which accounts for 46% of agricultural value added and about 10.8% of the GDP. The livestoca population is as (million numbers): Buffalo(26.3), cattle(24.2), goat (56.7). sheep (24.9), poultry( 366), camels (0.8), asses (4.2), horses (.3). mules (.3). In the similar manner the livestock products are as (000 tons): milk (31,051), beef (1,115), mutton( 740) and fat (136.3). The dairy products are milk, butter , yogurt, cheese, power milk, ice cream. Poultry farming is an agro-based industry. The poultry meat production is as (000 tons): (416), eggs(million No- 8,530).The livestock and poultry products are fresh beef, mutton, poultry meat.

Fishery plays an important role in Pakistan's economy and is considered to an important source of livelihood for the people of Pakistan. Fisheries share in GDP, though very little contributes substantially to the national income through export earning. The production (000 tons) of Inland and Marine fish (804).The seafood and fishery products are chilled or frozen fish, fish meat, tauna, sailfish, marlins, dolphin fish, catfish, sharks, shrimp are exported.

Pakistan has sound position in agricultural production and the country produces different varieties of eatable items throughout the year for its population. The products are affordable to general masses.