You are on page 1of 4

Agricultural Sector in Pakistan

Pakistan has a rich and vast natural resource base, covering various ecological and climatic zones; hence the country has great potential for producing all types of food commodities. Agriculture has an important direct and indirect role in generating economic growth. The importance of agriculture to the economy is seen in three ways: first, it provides food to consumers and fibres for domestic industry; second, it is a source of scarce foreign exchange earnings; and third, it provides a market for industrial goods.

Land use, farming systems and institutions
The total geographical area of Pakistan is 79.6 million hectares. About 27 percent of the area is currently under cultivation. Of this area, 80 percent is irrigated. In this regard, Pakistan has one of the highest proportions of irrigated cropped area in the world. The cultivable waste lands offering good possibilities of crop production amount to 8.9 million hectares. Growth in cropped area is very impressive: from 11.6 million hectares in 1947 to 22.6 million hectares in 1997. Most of Pakistan is classified as arid to semi-arid because rainfall is not sufficient to grow agricultural crops, forest and fruit plants and pastures. About 68 percent of the geographical area has annual rainfall of 250 mm, whereas about 24 percent has annual rainfall of 251 to 500 mm. Only 8 percent of the geographical area has annual rainfall exceeding 500 mm. Thus supplemental water is required for profitable agricultural production, either from irrigation or through water harvesting. Agriculture is largely dependent on artificial means of irrigation. Of the total cultivated area, about 82 percent or around 17.58 million hectares is irrigated, while crop production in the remaining 3.96 million hectares depends mainly upon rainfall. The Irrigation Canal Command Area (CCA) has been grouped into classes on the basis of the nature and severity of its limitations water logging, salinity, sodicity and texture. At present about one-fifth of the cultivated land in CCA is affected by water logging and salinity to varying degrees. An additional area of 2.8 million hectares suffers from sodicity. Notwithstanding huge investments, the water table was 0 to 1.5 m under 2.2 million hectares of irrigated land, 1.5 to 3 m under 6 million hectares and 0to 3 m under 8 million hectares. Thus Pakistan needs to overhaul its entire drainage and reclamation strategy reduce its cost and make it efficient.

Significance of the agricultural sector in the economy
Agriculture is an important sector, providing food to the fast-growing population of the country. According the 1998 census, the total population of Pakistan is 130 million. With a population growth rate of 2.6 percent there is a net addition of 3.4 million people each year. In 1947 the

Tremendous efforts have been carried out to narrow the gap between population growth and food production.37 and 5. respectively. Agriculture still remains the major sector of the GDP composition. Of the total export earnings. but the contribution of agro-based products has more or less sustained its position. The average annual growth rates in the agricultural sector during the 1960s. More specifically. has increased only 2.population of Pakistan was 32. . the growth rate during 1997/98 has improved to 5.4 percent. the major food crop. the share of primary commodities and processed and semi-processed products constituted almost 60 percent of the total exports. • providing the main source of livelihood for the rural population of Pakistan.07. 2. it has increased to 4. The contribution of the agricultural sector to the GDP has declined gradually since Pakistan came into existence. • providing food to about 130 million people. With the announcement of a new agriculture package by the government in April 1997. • providing raw materials for many industries and a market for many locally produced industrial products. Agriculture contributes about 24 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 47 percent of the national employed labour force.9 percent.9 fold. through exports of raw products such as rice and cotton and semi-processed and processed products such as cotton yarn. in 50 years it has increased fourfold. A major part of the economy depends on farming through production. During 1970/71 the amount of wheat imported was 0. carpets and leather production . • providing employment to 47 percent of the total work force.5 million. from over 50 percent in 1949-50 to about 24 percent in 1996-97. 1970s and 1980s were 5. cloth. the agricultural sector plays an important part in Pakistan's economy by: • contributing 24 percent towards GDP. In foreign trade agriculture again dominates. During this period the production of wheat. processing and distribution of major agricultural commodities. There have been some structural changes over time.1 million tonnes in 1997. • earning about 60 percent of the country's total export earnings.3 million tonnes.Agriculture is essential for sustainable improvements in internal and external balances.

The overall production of rice registered an increase of 8. Wheat production rose from 3. Pakistan's agriculture has made a long and difficult journey. The production of cotton reached 9. better tillage and soil preparation practices and adequate and timely availability of fertilizer and certified seed have added to the positive response from the farming community.7 million tonnes. Its performance is marked by a mixed trend. with a steady growth rate of 3. and there was also a 13. sown with low-yielding traditional seed varieties.97 million tonnes in the previous year. That decade witnessed a green revolution in Pakistan. Crop production contributed the largest share of agricultural GDP (62 percent in 1996). In the early 1960s. There have been some years of dismal growth and some years of cruising growth.3 million tonnes in 1950/51 to 18. primarily because of the increased use of inputs. During the past 50 years a significant increase in production of the major crops has been achieved. government improved the terms of agricultural trade. conditions that favoured more rapid growth were put in place: the Indus Wate Agreement was signed under the chairing of the World Bank. production of wheat reached a level of 16. fertilized mainly with animal manure and cultivated by means of animal draught power and by hand. Policy measures in the last four years. Similarly during this period rice production rose from 0.e. better support prices.Overview of agricultural sector development Significant progress has been made in development of the agricultural sector in Pakistan since the time of independence in 1947. which benefited the agricultural sector. . with livestock contributing 34 percent and fisheries and forestry the remaining 4 percent. the Indus Basin Development Fund w< established with multidonor support.86 million tonnes to 4.the total production of rice during the year was 4.5 percent . In 1996/97. and tubewe were installed as a viable investment. and crc production accelerated during the first part of the decade. the Indus Basin was irrigated with an extensive system of canal irrigation. agricultural GDP at constant factor cost has more than doubled. At that time. Undue benefits provided to the industrial sector over the years were reviewed and modified. There was also a records increase in cereal production.6 million tonnes in 1997/98.4 million bales during 1996/97. Since 1980. compared with 3. In the policy reforms package. Agriculture's share of total GDP however. declined from about 31 percent to just 24 percent over the same period.3 million tonnes. were positive for the agricultural sector.91 percent annually.Sugarcane production reached 5.3 million tonnes during 1997/98. increasing from Rs 76 billion in 1980 to more than Rs 141 billion in 1996/97. from 1993/94 to 1996/97. The agricultural sector as a result responded with new buoyancy.7 percent increase in the production of Basmati rice. Export taxes on agricultural commodities were reduced or eliminated. i.32 million tonnes.

Over the past 20 years some important structural changes have taken place in the sector. Structural changes have also taken place within the crop sector. fallen from a 20 percent share in the early 1970s to 15 percent today. however. as compared with 963 000 and 1131 000 tonnes in 1996/97. however. fisheries and forestry. a decrease in the production of pulses. today contributing more than onethird of agricultural GDP. Rice and sugar have. have grown rapidly. Production of potatoes and onions in 1997/98 is estimated at 1 205 000 and 1 160 000 tonnes respectively. during 1996/97 to 832 000 tonnes from 918 000 tonnes during the previous year (1995/96). In particular. compared with about 28 percent 20 years ago. particularly of gram. . Cotton is now as important as wheat in terms of value added with a one-fifth share of total earnings. while still minor contributors to agricultural GDP. Similarly.There was. livestock has emerged as an important subsector.