MAJOR CROPS IN PAKISTAN

S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Research Analyst
, PAGE
July 18 - 24, 2011

Pakistan is blessed with vast agricultural resources on account of its fertile land, well-irrigated plains, extremes of weather, and centuries old tradition of farming. It is because of its central importance in the economy that the government has identified agriculture as one of the four major drivers of growth. Pakistan has two principle crops seasons, namely the "Kharif" and "Rabi".

Rice, sugarcane, cotton, maize, mung, mash, bajra and jowar are "Kharif" crops while wheat, gram, lentil (masoor), tobacco, rapeseed, barley and mustard are "Rabi" crops.

Major crops such as, wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane account for 90 per cent of the value added in the major crops. The value added in major crops accounts for 31 per cent of the value added in the agriculture. Thus, four major crops on average contribute 28 per cent to the value added in overall agriculture and 5.9 per cent to GDP.

Wheat is the largest grain source of the country which occupies the central position in formulating agricultural policies. It contributes 13.1 per cent to the value added in agriculture and 2.7 per cent to GDP. Area and production target of wheat for the year 2010-11 had been set at 9045 thousand hectares and 25 million tons, respectively.

Wheat was cultivated on an area of 8805 thousand hectares, showing a decrease of 3.6 per cent over last year's area of 9132 thousand hectares. However, a bumper wheat crop of 24.2 million tons had been estimated with 3.9 per cent increase over the last year's crop of 23.3 million tons.

In Pakistan, rice is the second largest staple food crop and a major source of export earnings in recent years. It accounts for 4.4 per cent of value added in agriculture and 0.9 per cent in GDP. Pakistan grows high quality rice to meet both domestic demand and exports. Area sown for rice was estimated at 2365 thousand hectares, 17.9 per cent less than last year. The production of the crop was estimated at 4823 thousand tons, 29.9 per cent less than last year. This was mainly attributed to devastating floods of July 2010 coupled with breaches of protective bunds of river Indus which badly affected the main paddy growing districts and low market returns during last year. Decrease in production was due to decrease in area, attack of pests and logging of early sown crops.

Sugarcane crop is a major raw material source for the production of white sugar and gur and also a cash crop. Its share in value added in agriculture and GDP is 3.6 and 0.8 per cent, respectively. Sugarcane was cultivated on an area of 988 thousand hectares, 4.8 per cent higher than last year's level of 943 thousand hectares. Sugarcane production for the year 2010-11 was estimated at 55.3 million tons as against actual production of 49.3 million tons last year. This indicates a rise of 12 per cent over the production of last year. Main factors contributing for more production are lucrative market prices of last year's produce and timely availability of inputs encouraging the farmers to grow more sugarcane crop.

Furthermore, cotton is also the main cash crop in the country which accounts for 6.9 per cent of value added in agriculture and 1.4 per cent of GDP. In addition to providing raw material to the local textile industry, the lint cotton is an export item. During 2010-11, the crop was cultivated on an area of 2689 thousand hectares, 13.4 per cent less than last year. The production was estimated at 11.5 million bales, lower by 11.3 per cent over the last year's production of 12.9 million bales and 17.9 per cent less than the target of 14 million bales. The decrease in cultivated area and production was attributed to loss in area under cultivation due to floods, excessive rain, shortage of water due to canal closure during the last year floods.

In case of other major crops during the same period, the production of only bajra, tobacco, rapeseed and mustard, maize and barley increased 18.1 per cent, 16 per cent, 11.3 per cent, 2.4 per cent and 2.8 per cent, respectively. Gram production, the largest Rabi pulses crop in Pakistan, stood at 5.2 million tons against 5.6 million tons during last year, showing a reduction of 6.9 per cent mainly because of inclement climate. The production of jawar witnessed a decrease of 9.7 per cent in 2010-11.

CONCLUSION

Pakistan's economy depends on agriculture. The country is an agricultural state and agriculture outputs are of much importance. Importance of this sector is manifold as it feeds people, provides raw material for the industry and is a base for foreign trade. Though the agricultural sector is facing problems in Pakistan yet the major chunk of money comes from this sector. No mechanism has been adopted to eradicate the soil erosion and even after harvesting nothing is done to improve or restore the soil energy. Therefore, the fertility of soil is decreasing day by day. Feudalism should be abolished and lands should be allotted to poor farmers. This will enhance the productivity and per acre yield of all the crops in Pakistan.