Agriculture contributes 21.4% to GDP, employs 45% labour

KARACHI: Agriculture sector contributes 21.4 percent to GDP, employs 45 percent of the country’s labour force and also play role in growth of other sectors of the economy, says new Economic Survey of Pakistan 201213.

Agriculture sector exhibited a growth of 3.3 percent on the back of positive growth in agriculture related sub sectors. Crops grew at 3.2 percent, livestock 3.7 percent, forestry 0.1 percent and fishing 0.7 percent.

The healthy expansion in agriculture stimulates domestic demand for industrial goods and other services and supplying raw material to agrobased industry notably cotton textile industry which is the largest subsector of manufacturing sector. The government under paradigm of the new growth strategy envisioned to enhance growth in agriculture sector by facilitating agriculture productivity sustainable environment, increasing competitiveness in agriculture marketing and trade by providing friendly climate for more investment in the sector.

Overall agriculture development strategy revolves to foster private sectorled development with public sector providing enabling environment through policy interventions and play capacity building role to improve agriculture related practices. The emphasis is on improving productivity and moving from subsistence to market oriented farming in the country to meet the domestic demand and surplus for export. The objective is to exploit potentials of our agriculture sector and use it as engine for economic growth and food security for the country.

Consequent upon the devolution of Ministry of Food & Agriculture and Ministry of Livestock and Dairy Development, their development projects were divided into three categories i.e. devolved to provinces, transferred to other federal ministries and closed down owing to near completion or completion. A new ministry namely Ministry of National Food Security and Research has been established assigning the critical federal level functions of the devolved ministry.

Ministry of National Food Security and Research has been set up by the government realizing the Food Security concerns across the country and coordinating food production and R&D of food and agriculture related issues in the country. The Ministry’s main focus is ensuring food availability through boosting domestic food production in coordination with the provincial agriculture, food and livestock departments. In the face of price spike of food commodities it has been emphasized that additional efforts would be required for supporting marginalized and vulnerable segment of society.

As the performance of agriculture sector dependent upon weather condition, timely availability of input water is needed. During 201213, weather condition and water situation has an impact on these Kharif crops that paved the way for decrease in output of rice and cotton crops.

Other crops that contributed 12.3 percent value addition in agriculture witnessed a positive growth of 6.7 percent in 201213 against negative growth of 7.7 percent during the same period last year. The cotton ginning under new base 200506 has been included in agriculture value addition showed a negative growth of 2.9 percent in 201213 against the positive growth of 13.8 percent during the same period last year. The Livestock sector which has a 55.4 percent share in the agriculture grew by 3.7 percent in 201213. The Fishing sector grew by 0.7 percent as against last year’s positive growth of 3.8 percent. Forestry sector posted a nominal growth of 0.1 percent this year as compared to positive growth of 1.7 percent last year.

Kharif being the first sowing season has rice, sugarcane, cotton, maize, moong, mash, bajra and jowar crops while Rabi is the second sowing season which begins as on OctoberDecember and is harvested in AprilMay. Wheat, gram, lentil masoor, tobacco, rapeseed, barley and mustard are Rabi crops.

The crops performance is dependent upon timely availability of irrigation water. During 201213, the availability of water as an essential input for Kharif 2012 was 14 percent less than the normal supplies but to compare with Kharif 2011, it was 4.4 percent less.

The water availability during Rabi season 201213 was estimated 31.9 MAF, which was 12.4 percent less than the normal availability, but 8.5 percent higher than last year’s Rabi crop. Important crops, such as wheat, rice, maize, cotton and sugarcane account for 25 .2 percent of the value added in overall agriculture and 5.4 percent to GDP. The other crops account for 12.3 percent of the value added in overall agriculture. Livestock contributes 55.4 percent to agricultural value added much more than the combined contribution of important and
other crops 37.6 percent.

Pakistan’s economy depends heavily on cotton crop which significantly contributes by providing raw material to the textile industry, such as cotton lint as an export item. It accounts for 7.0 percent of value added in agriculture and 1.5 percent of GDP.

201213, the crop was sown on an area of 2879 thousand hectares, 1.6 percent more than last year 2835 thousand hectares. The production of 13.0 million bales during the period 201213 against the target of 14.5 million bales resulted in decline of 10.3 percent against the target and decrease of 4.2 percent over the preceding year production which was 13.6 million bales. Mild attack of Thrips, white fly and Cotton Leaf Curl Virus CLCV adversely affected the production of cotton boll which affected the production and yield per hectare as compared to last year.