FOOD PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION
DR. S. M. ALAM
Nov 30 - Dec 06, 2009
Pakistan is a land of tremendous development potentials by virtue of its unique geographical location, its people, and richness of natural and cultural resources. However, wrong priorities and corruptions have woven an ever-widening debt net around its economic structure, which cannot be broken unless we learn to stand firmly on our own feet and understand collective benefits.
Pakistan is located in the Southeast Asia region. Presently, its population is more than 170 million. Agriculture provides nearly 23 % of GDP. More than 70 percent of national income comes from agriculture. Pakistan's major exports are cotton, rice, fruits and its major imports are edible oil, petroleum products, tea etc.
Pakistan's total cultivated area is about 22.5 million hectares. Agriculture plays a simulative role in the economic growth of the country. Research shows that the growth of agriculture sector has been very effective in reducing poverty, both in urban and rural areas of the country.
Food security is normally defined as a situation in which all households have both physical and economic access to adequate food and where households are not at risk of losing such access throughout the year.
In a broader sense, it is composed of , i) adequacy in food production, ii) complete stability in food supplies in the markets, and iii) physical and economic access to food of those who need it mostly, at the time of requirement.
It is a well-documented fact that the improvement in food security is ensured through the growth and enough production of agricultural commodities in the country at a rate higher than the increase in population.
The access to food generally depends on availability and stability in the markets. Sufficient food availability means that sufficient food supplies should be available to meet consumption needs of the citizens and the stability refers to minimizing the possibility that in shortage periods the food requirement might fall below the consumption requirements.
Principally, the food security concerns the individual or family unit and its major determinant is purchasing power-income adjustment for the costs of cereals. It also covers the meeting of food needs from domestic supplies.
Sustainable increase in production and agricultural productivity in all food sector, coupled with a sufficient yield variation through better water control measure are considered key elements to improve food security situation in the short-term and to improve poverty and malnutrition in the long-term.
Every effort has been made by the government to maximize the food production in the country and to meet the domestic needs of food and fibers.
One of the finest Pakistan's success stories of post independence era has been the Green Revolution of early sixties through the uses of Mexi-Pak wheat and IRRI-rice varieties, which turned the country from a chronic importer of food grains into an exporter of some essential food-items.
Green Revolution was instrumental in significant enhancement of wheat and rice yields. The newly developed early maturing and high yielding dwarf varieties of wheat and rice in early sixties helped in increasing the production of grains significantly thus giving great relief to the rapid increasing population.
This phenomenon has successfully led to massive transformation in the rural agrarian economy, which came about through the collaborative efforts of farmers, agriculturists and backed up with necessary administrative and political support.
Since independence in 1947, the population increased manifold and food grain production also increased many times. From a mere million ton during 1960-65, food grains production increased to an estimated many thousands million tons in 2009.
Agriculture products comprise 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, jowar, bajra, barley; cash crops are sugarcane, cotton, sugar beet, and guar-seed; pulses are gram, mung, masoor, matter, and mash; edible oilseeds are linseed, groundnut, soybean, sunflower, canola, safflower, and cottonseed.
The production of sugar has increased to over 4.2 million tons per annum.
Fruits, vegetables, and floricultures have important impact on agriculture economy. The annual production of fruits, vegetables, and spices is more than 12 million tons. The important fruits include in (000 tons): citrus (2,348), mango (1,074), dates (622), apples (380),banana (158), apricot (206), almonds (23), grapes (49), guava (571), peach (70), pears (31), plums (61), and pomegranate (50).
Some of the fruits grown have great potential for exports, and are available in volumes, varieties and are in rich flavor. These are mangoes, citrus, grapes, dates, apples, peaches, and cherries. Other prominent fruits having enormous export potential are plums, pears, guava, etc.
Vegetables, potatoes, garlic, ginger, and onions are richly grown in Pakistan.
The edible oil production in the country is only 740,000 tons. The imports are 1,360000 tons and consumption is 2,100000 tons. Pakistan spends a huge amount on oil import bill.
The productions of vegetables in (000 tons) are tomato (426), potato (2025), onion (1,817), garlic (56), chilies (91), turmeric (38), and ginger (41).
Livestock is another important sector of agriculture in Pakistan, which accounts for 46% of agricultural value addition and about 10.8% of the GDP. The livestock population is (in million numbers): buffalo (26.3), cattle (24.2), goat (56.7), sheep (24.9), poultry (366), camels (0.8), asses (4.2), horses (0.3), and mules (0.3).
Livestock productions in (000 tons) are milk (31,051), beef (1,115), mutton (740), and fat (136.3). The dairy products are milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, powder milk, ice cream.
Poultry farming is an agro-based industry. The poultry meat production is 416000 tons and eggs 8,530 million.
Fishery sector plays an important role in Pakistan's economy and is considered as an important source of livelihood for the people of Pakistan.
The seafood and fishery products are tuna, sailfish, marlins, dolphin fish, catfish, sharks, shrimp, which are consumed locally and exported.
The per capita per year consumption of food items presently in the country is (in kg): cereal 155, wheat 117, rice 20, pulses 8.08, edible oil 11.49, milk 121, sugar 27, mutton 1.44, beef 4.9, chicken 0.96, fish 0.72, fruits 15.7, vegetables 65.6, tea 1.0, and sweeteners 17.7. The per capita consumption has significantly increased in the country over time.