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Agriculture of Pakistan
In Depth Agriculture Of Pakistan
Agricultural sector is the backbone of Pakistan's economy. Pakistan’s 80% of population is associated with the agriculture for their livelihood. In spite of its importance and utility for the country's economy, the agricultural sector remained under-developed for many reasons
About 25% of Pakistan's total land area is under cultivation it is watered by one of the largest irrigation systems in the world. Pakistan irrigates three times more acres than Russia. Agriculture accounts for about 21% of GDP hh Employs about 41% of the labor force.
AGRICULTURAL CROPS OF PAKISTAN
A variety of crops is cultivated in Pakistan. Those crops which are cultivated before the beginning of winter season and harvested in early summer are known as 'Rabi Crops’ They Include wheat, barley, grams, oil seeds, pulses, etc. Those crops which are grown in the beginning of summer and harvested in early winter are called as 'Kharif Crops' these include rice, sugarcane, millets, maize, cotton, etc. The following are the main crops cultivated in Pakistan
Rice: Rice is an important and precious crop of Pakistan Besides serving as a food crops it also earns a lot of foreign exchange from its export. Rice needs hot and moist climate. It is cultivated entirely on the irrigated areas of Punjab and Sindh. Rice is a major export item accounting for 6.1 percent of total export earnings over the last five years. It accounts for 6.3 percent in value added agriculture and 1.6 percent in GDP. Production of rice during 1999-2000 is 5156 thousand tones.
Cotton: Cotton is considered as an important cash crop of our country. It is used for the manufacture of yarn and cloth. Pakistan earns a lot of foreign exchange from its export to other countries. It is also known as a 'Silver Fiber'. Cotton is a Kharif crop and needs high temperature between 75o ff 80oF in the growing season. It requires a cooler condition at the time of harvesting. The plain areas of Punjab and Sindh are most suited for its cultivation.
In addition to providing raw material to the local textile industry, the lint cotton is a major export item. The production of cotton crop is estimated at 11.24 million bales in 1999-2000 It is mainly due to an increase in the area because of the shifting of sugarcane area to cotton crop and less attack of insects/pests/ diseases on the crop during the year.
Sugar-cane: Sugar-cane is a precious cash crop of our country. It needs high temperature and well-drained soils rich in lime. It is cultivated on the irrigated land of Punjab, Sindh and N.W.F.P. It is the chief source of sugar in Pakistan. Sugarcane is a major source of raw material for production of white sugar and Cur. It is a cash crop. The production of sugarcane during 1999-2000 is expected to be 46363 thousand tones which are lower by 16 percent as compared with last year.
Maize: Maize is a food and fodder crop of our country. It is the staple food of the people in the hilly areas. Corn oil is an important extract of maize. Severe cold and frost is harmful for the crop. It is therefore, harvested before winter. The production of Maize during 1999-2000 is estimated at 1352.0 thousand tones which shows a decline of 18.8 percent.
Millets (Jawar and Bajra): This crop is cultivated in the Barani areas of Rawalpindi Division, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan Division in Punjab and Tharparkar and Sanghar districts of Hyderabad (Sindh). The production of Jawar is estimated at 225.0 thousand tones during 1999-20007
Wheat: Wheat is a food crop of the country. It provides food to the majority of our population. It is cultivated in all Parts of the country as it forms the major part of our daily food. Wheat needs temperature between 40oF to 60oF. It is therefore, a Rabi crop. It is planted in early winter and harvested at the end of the spring season. It is mostly cultivated on the irrigated plain areas of Punjab , Sindh and-N.W.F.P. Besides some wheat is also cultivated in the hilly and plateau areas of Balochistan and Azad Kashmir . The production of wheat during 1999-2000 is expected to be 19.3 million tones.
Barley: It is the Rabi crop and needs the similar weather, conditions as wheat. It can, however, bear greater fluctuation of temperature and rainfall. It can also grow on a less fertile soil as compared with wheat
Oil-seeds: This may include seasamum, rapeseed, mustard soya beans and sun-flower. The oil extracted from these seeds is insufficient to meet the requirements of our Ghee industry. It is cultivated in Multan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha, Faisalabad (Punjab, Peshawar (N.W.F.P.) and Khairpur (Sindh),
Livestock and Poultry
Livestock is an important sector of agriculture in Pakistan which accounts for nearly 37 percent of agriculture value added and about 9 percent of the GDP. About 30-35 million rural population is engaged in livestock raising which is a sufficient proof of the importance of this sector, The livestock include cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, camels, horses and mules.
Fisheries play an important role in Pakistan’s economy and are the major source of livelihood for the Coastal inhabitants. Apart from marine fisheries, inland fisheries (comprising of rivers, lakes, ponds and dams) and also very important source of animal protein. During 1999-2000 the total fish production is estimated at 627,000 m tones. The share of marine fisheries sector is 452,000 m tons and inland contribution is 175,000 m tons.
Pakistan exports a substantial quantity of shrimp and fish and earns a reasonable amount of foreign exchange. During 1999- 2000 9.384 m tons of fisheries products were exported to Japan, USA, UK, Germany, Middle East and other countries.
Agricultural problems of Pakistan
Floods: Floods are the most devastating natural calamity which has done irreparable damage to our agricultural sector. Floods destroy the standing crops and acutely reduce the productive capacity of the land.
Water-logging and Salinity: The twin menace of water-logging and salinity is a great threat to our agriculture. It is considered as 'Land Cancer' which quickly devours land fertility. It is caused when the water table rises to 1.5 meter or less under the surface of the ground. Stagnant water then adversely affects growth of plants. Water evaporates leaving salts on the ground which renders the agricultural land unproductive.
Lack of Irrigation facilities: Pakistan agriculture is adversely affected due to the lack of irrigational facilities. Rainfall is scanty in most of the areas which cannot meet our irrigation requirements.
Ignorance of the Farmer: The farmers in Pakistan are ignorant and illiterate. They depend on the conventional methods of cultivation. They lag behind in modern knowledge of cultivation.
Scarcity of Funds: Our farmer badly lacks in financial potentiality to meet the growing cost of the cultivation. Most of our farmers possess small units of land which cannot provide them with sufficient income. The farmer, due to shortage of funds, has no access to the modern technology to enhance the fertility of land and his production.
Land Erosion: Soil and land Erosion is a serious problem of our agricultural sector.It is heavily damaging the areas by dissecting the cultivable land into small units thus cutting down their yield and productivity.
7. under utilization of Cultivable Land: The total cultivable area in Pakistan is about 79.61 M. hectares. Out of this only 20.43 M. hectares is under cultivation. This means that a major portion of cultivable land is not being used.
Inadequate system of Transportation: The Pakistani farmer has to face difficulties in taking his production to the market for lack of transport facilities. Our transportation system is inadequate and under-developed and unable to meet the requirements of quick and speedy transportation of goods.
STEPS TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS
The Government is fully aware of these problems and has taken several steps for the solution of the problems in the agricultural sector. The steps taken are described below
Control of Water-logging and Salinity. The Government has adopted effective measures to control the problem of water-logging and salinity. The Government has launched a programme of Salinity Control and Reclamation Project (SCARP) to effectively arrest the evil of water-logging and salinity.
Flood Control. The Government has taken strong measures to protect the land from floods, thunder-storm and heavy rains. These calamities destroy the standing crops and ruin the productivity of the land. Flood Control Centers have been set up which give information about floods well in time to cope with them effectively.
Increase in the Agricultural growth. The Government has taken several steps to enhance the growing capacity of the land. The steps include provision of fertilizer, availability of improved seeds and a simple and easy way of giving loans to the farmers for acquiring the modern agricultural technology. The Government has also arranged to impart education on agricultural techniques and has encouraged research work on agriculture. The agriculture has been developed on modern lines by mechanization of agriculture. Storage facilities have been provided to store the yield in order to save it from being wasted due to rains, floods etc.