Research Analyst
Mar 28 - Apr 3, 2011

Aggregate crop production at the world level is projected to grow at 1.4 per cent per annum up to 2030 down from the annual growth of 2.1 per cent for the past 30 years. For the developing countries as a group, the corresponding growth rates are 1.6 and 3.1 per cent p.a. respectively (or 1.8 and 2.7 per cent p.a. excluding China).

Similarly, by 2030, crop production in the developing countries is projected at 67 per cent higher than in the base year (1997/99). In spite of this noticeable increase in the volume of crop production, in terms of annual growth rates this would imply a considerable slowdown in the growth of crop production as compared with the past. Most of this increase (about 80 per cent) would continue to come on account of a further intensification of crop production in the form of higher yields and of higher cropping intensities, with the remainder (about 20 per cent) coming on account of further arable land expansion.

The developing countries have some 2.8 billion ha of land with a potential for rain-fed agriculture at yields above a minimum acceptable level. Of this total, some 960 million ha are already under cultivation. Most of the remaining 1.8 billion ha however cannot be considered as land reserve since the bulk of the land not used is very unevenly distributed with most of it concentrated in a few countries in South America and sub-Saharan Africa. In contrast, many countries in South Asia and the Near East/North Africa region have virtually no spare land left, and much of the land not in use suffers from one or more constraints making it less suitable for agriculture.

In addition, a good part of the land with agricultural potential is under forest or in protected areas, in use for human settlements, or suffers from lack of infrastructure and the incidence of disease. Therefore, it should not be considered as being a reserve, readily available for agricultural expansion. Taking into account availability of and need for land, arable land in the developing countries is projected to increase by 13 per cent (120 million ha) over the period to 2030, most of it in the land-abundant regions of South America and sub-Saharan Africa, with an unknown but probably considerable part of it coming from deforestation. In terms of harvested land, the land area would increase by 20 per cent (178 million ha) on account of increasing cropping intensity. Irrigation is expected to play an increasingly important role in the agriculture of the developing countries. At present, irrigated production is estimated at 20 per cent of the arable land and to contribute some 40 per cent of total crop production. This share is expected to increase to 47 per cent by 2030. The developing countries are estimated to have some 400 million ha of land which when combined with available water resources and equipped for irrigation, represent the maximum potential for irrigation extension. Of this total, about one half is currently equipped in varying degrees for irrigation and is so used. The projections conclude that an additional 40 million ha could come under irrigated use, raising the total to 242 million ha in 2030. In principle, by that year the developing countries would be exploiting for agriculture some 60 per cent of their total potential for irrigation. Naturally, the harvested area under irrigation will increase by more (33 per cent), following fuller exploitation of the potential offered by controlled water use for multiple cropping.

However, Pakistan is facing the militancy on one side and a natural calamity on the other. The floods hit the whole country's crops in August 2010. Pakistan stands 4th in cotton, 4th in sugarcane, 10th in wheat and 2nd in guar seed in world's top 10 ranking.

At the same time, almost 75 per cent of those affected by floods are the ones who rely on agriculture for sustenance. It was estimated that the initial estimations of production were a total of 74.793 million tons but 11.495 million tons have been lost in floods leaving behind an estimated 63.298 million tons of crop production causing a total loss of Rs244.639 billion during August 2010.

The paddy crop production was estimated at 5.949 million tons and after floods it was expected to drop to 4.352 million tons impacting losses worth Rs56.386 million.

Cotton production has also been affected tremendously as it was cultivated over an area of 3.199 million hectare of which 0.514 million hectare has submerged cutting the production to 11.759 out of 14.010 million tons and causing loss of Rs71.401 billion. Other cultivated crops that have been hit by the floods caused losses of Rs97.502 during the same period. Other major crops that were damaged in Punjab were citrus, moong, fruit, mash, fodder, and vegetables. In Sindh maize, pulses, til, fodder, vegetables and citrus were damaged. In Balochistan jowar, til and vegetables while in KPK fruit, maize, moong, mash, fodder and vegetables and in AJK fruit crops were destroyed. The sugarcane crop in Punjab was most affected as recorded losses were Rs11.663 billion. The loss of paddy crop was reported higher in Sindh and Balochistan as Rs28.335 billion and Rs17.976 billion respectively. An estimated loss of cotton crop was Rs41.166 billion in Punjab while the same was Rs30.235 billion in Sindh.


Farmers should be provided better quality seeds at the lowest price at the right time. Better seeds will ultimately give better yield. Government is striving to provide all available facilities to the farmers to get maximum produce of major and minor crops.