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History and Performance of Agriculture in Pakistan

By mishalfatima Jan 14, 2011 2067 Words
Pakistan inherited an agricultural economy at the time of the Partition in 1947. The cultivated area particularly of the Punjab was regarded as the bread basket or granary of the Subcontinent. The development of agriculture was ignored in the initial years inspire of the fact that the agricultural sector was the largest single contributor to the GDP. It employed 80% of the population directly or indirectly, accounted for 73% of the foreign exchange earnings, provided raw material for cotton, jute, sugar and vegetable industries, served as a market for industrial products. The emphasis was, however, placed on the development of industrial sector. - PERFORMANCE:

Now we will put a light on the performance of agricultural sector. From 1947 to 1953, agriculture remained sluggish due to:
(a) Influx of refugees from India,
(b) Allotment of land to non- agriculturist refugees which reduced interest of farmers and,
(c) Lack of technological change etc.
In the six year programme (1951-57) which was suspended for two years before its completion, emphasis was laid on the establishment of industries. Agriculture remained stagnant during this period, rather declined due to an increase in water logging and salinity. Pakistan had to import over 1 million of tons of wheat in 1952 to meet the acute food shortage. The Planning Machinery then, realized that agriculture shouldn’t remain neglected and it should be developed along with industry. In the First Five Year Plan (1955-60), it was mentioned that with increasing population, rapid industrialization, growing urbanization and substantial increase in money supply, a constant and rapid increase in food grain was essential to maintain economic stability and to provide base for economic growth. This sector, however remain neglected till 1958 due to various reasons. The lack of adequate institutional credit system, absentee landlordism, uneconomic holdings, defective land tenure system etc., etc. adversely affected the agricultural productivity. The average annual growth rate of agriculture sector was 1.3% from 1955-58. While the population was growing at the rate of 2.6% a year. The population was thus growing at a much faster rate than the growth rate of agriculture. In the First Plan, the targets of increasing food grains production by 9% and cash crops from 15% to 33% were not achieved. The increase in the food supply was negligible. The increase in production of cotton was 2% and of jute 5% only. In the Second Five Year Plan 1960-65, the Government was determined to achieve self sufficiency in basic production raising dietary standards through increased supplies of fish, fruit, vegetable, livestock etc. expanding the output of cotton and jute to the maximum extent possible. In order to achieve the above objectives, it took a few effective steps like the agrarian reforms, adoption of modern technology, and provision of credit facilities to the farmers etc. The well phased policies both in agriculture and industry did bear fruit. The output of food grains increased by 27% against the Plan target of 21%. The production of cotton

More specifically; the agricultural sector plays an important part in Pakistan's economy by: • contributing 24 percent towards GDP;
• providing food to about 130 million people;
• earning about 60 percent of the country's total export
• providing employment to 47 percent of the total work
• providing the main source of livelihood for the rural
population of Pakistan;
• providing raw materials for many industries and a
market for many locally produced industrial products


Main article: Agriculture in Pakistan
Agriculture by Province
Mango Orchard in Multan, Pakistan
Pakistan is one of the world's largest producers of the following commodities according to FAOSTAT, the statistical arm of the Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations, given here with the 2008 ranking: • Apricot (3rd)

• Buffalo Milk (2nd)
• Chickpea (3rd)
• Cotton, lint (4th)
• Cotton, Seed (3rd)
• Dates (5th)
• Mango (6th)
• Onion, dry (4th)
• Oranges (11th)
• Rice,paddy (11th)
• Sugarcane (5th)
• Tangerines, mandarin orange, clementine (9th)
• Wheat (10th)
Pakistan's principal natural resources are arable land and water. About 25% of Pakistan's total land area is under cultivation and is watered by one of the largest irrigation systems in the world. Pakistan irrigates three times more acres than Russia. Agriculture accounts for about 23% of GDP and employs about 44% of the labor force. Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited is the largest financial institution geared towards the development of agriculture sector through provision of financial services and technical know ho Economy of every state depends on three sectors i.e agriculture, industry and commerce. These three are interrelated with each other as the progress or retrogress of one sector effects the other two. Pakistan is an agricultural state thus agriculture gains are of much importance than any other sector. Importance of this sector is manifold as it feeds people, provides raw material for industry and is a base for foreign trade. Foreign exchange earned from merchandise exports is 45% of total exports of Pakistan. It contributes 26% of GDP and 52% of the total populace is getting its livelihood from it. 67.5% people are living in the rural areas of Pakistan and are directly involved in it. There are two crops in Pakistan ie Rabi & Kharif. Crop      |     Sowing season    |     Harvesting season Kharif     |    April – June               |    Oct – Dec Rabi       |    Oct – Dec               |       April – May Major crops of Pakistan are wheat, rice, maize, cotton and sugar cane. These major crops contributed 7.7%  last year against the set target of 4.5%. Minor crops are canola, onions, mangoes and pulses which contributed 3.6% as there was no virus attack last year. Fishery and Forestry contributes 16.6% and 8.8% respectively. Though the agricultural sector is facing problems in Pakistan yet the major chunk of money comes from this sector. Following are the major causes of agricultural problems in Pakistan which disturb the agricultural growth or development in Pakistan. Firstly,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. The thickness of fertile layer of soil in Pakistan is more than 6 inches but the average yield is lower than other countries where layer of fertile soil is only 4 inches. Secondly, water wastage is very high in our country. The archaic method of flood irrigation is still in practice in whole of the country which wastes almost 50 to 60 percent of water. A new irrigation system called drip irrigation system has been introduced in many parts of the world. This not only saves water but also gives proper quantity of water according to the needs of plants. Thirdly, owing old methods of cultivation and harvesting, Pakistan has low yield per acre that means the average crop in Pakistan is just 1/4th of that of advance states. Where as Nepal, India and Bangladesh are using modern  scientific methods to increase their yield per acre. For this purpose, these states are using modern machines to improve their yield.  Fourthly, the small farmers are increasing in our country as the lands are dividing generation by generation. So, there are large number of farmers who own only 4 acres of land. These small farmers do not get credit facilities to purchase seeds, pesticides, fertilizers etc. Additionally, a large area of land is owned by feudals and the farmers who work on their lands, are just tenants. This uncertain situation of occupancy neither creates incentive of work nor does attract capital investment. Fifthly,water logging and salinity is increasing day by day. No effective measures have been taken to curb it. As the storage capacity of the dams is decreasing so the water availability per acre is also decreasing. Therefore, the farmers are installing more and more tube wells to irrigate their crops. This is why salinity is becoming the major issue in most parts of Punjab and Sindh. Sixthly,focusing more on land, crops and yield problems the man behind the plough is always ignored. While formulating the 5 or 10 years plan, no emphasize has been laid on the importance of solving the problems of farmers. Most of the farmers are illiterate, poor and ignorant. In this wake the loans issued by ADBP or other banks are used by them in other fields like repayment of debts, marriage of daughters etc, in spite of its befitting use in agricultural sector. Lastly, The only mean of communication in rural areas is T.V or radio so it is urgently needed on the part of these mass communication resources to air the programmes related to the new agricultural techniques and allied sciences. But these programmes should be telecast in regional or local languages. Because lack of guidance is the main reason of farmers backwardness. The communication gap between well qualified experts and simple farmers have not been bridged. Availability of these experts is not ensured in rural areas as they are reluctant to go there. Pakistan is rich in fertile land yet the land is being wasted in different ways. 79.6% million hectors of land is culturable where as only 20.43% million hectors is cultivated. The reason can be described in two points. 1. A major area is owned by feudals. It is difficult to manage such a huge area so only that part is cultivated which is easy to manage, the rest is left ignored. 2. The rise of industrialization has given threat to this sector. People are migrating to cities and cities are expanding, thus new towns and colonies are constructed on fertile lands. The irrigation system of Pakistan needs improvement as about 67% of the land is irrigated with canals

Solutions For Agricultural Problems In Pakistan:
1. 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. Taxes should be levied on Agricultural income but not without devising limit of land holding. Other wise it would directly effect poor farmers. 2. Federal Seed Certification and Federal Seed Registration is approved but it should taken responsible steps in approving seeds as it has already approved 36 new kinds of seeds. Specially, those seeds should be banned which can create pest problem in near future. These seeds are of cotton mainly. International seed makers are providing those seeds which are not successful in our country as these seeds are not tested on our soil. 3. A new Agricultural policy must be framed in which following steps should be focussed on. -    Small farmer must be focused. The major problems of small farmers should be solved first. -   Consumer friendly policy must be projected. 

-   Productivity enhancement programme must be constituted to adjust and support prices. -    Different Agricultural zones should be introduced. As Multan in famous for its Mangoes and citrus fruits so it must be made Mango, citrus zone by which Perishable products should be exported. This would enhance agro based industry and increase foreign reserves. Pakistan Agricultural storage & Services Corporation needs to take steps in this regard. -    Corporate farming like giving lands to Mitehels, Nestle and Multinational companies is also a good idea that will also help those who own a large area of fertile land but can’t manage it. -    Surplus vegetables and fruits must be exported. A Rs 39 million scheme has been approved for the current fiscal year for establishment of agro export processing zone for fruits, vegetables and flowers. This will also help in commercializing agriculture -    Latest mechinery should be provided to the farmers to increase the per acre yield. This provision should be on easy installments so that the farmers can avoid the burden of loans. If possible subsidy should be given by the government of modern machinery.-    Modern techniques of irrigation can solve the problems of irrigation in Pakistan. This includes drip irrigation and sprinkle irrigation methods. By using this technique the farmers can save a huge some of money which he pays for irrigation through tubewells and tracktors. -     More dams should be constructed on Indus, Jehlum and Chenab rivers. This will enhance the storage capacity of water and reduce the per acre cost of all the crops. This step will also reduce the salinity chances of the lands as less tubewell water will be flooded to the lands which cause salinity.

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