Agriculture sector achieves remarkable growth of 3.81 percent
KARACHI: During 2017-18, agriculture sector recorded a remarkable growth of 3.81 percent and surpassed its targeted growth of 3.5 percent and last year’s growth of 2.07 percent, according to new economic survey 2017-18.
This stemmed from higher yields, attractive output prices and supportive government policies, better availability of certified seeds, pesticides, agriculture credit and intensive fertilizers offtake. The crops sector performed well and witnessed a growth rate of 3.83 percent against the last year’s growth of 0.91 percent.
The growth in sub sectors, important crops, other crops and cotton ginning registered a significant growth of 3.57 percent, 3.33 percent and 8.72 percent, respectively, against last year’s growth of 2.18 percent, -2.66 percent and 5.58 percent respectively. Major Kharif crops such as sugarcane and rice surpassed their production targets during 2017-18 by recording growth of 7.45 percent and 8.65 percent, respectively, while cotton crop production managed to exceed last year’s production level by recording growth of 11.85 percent. Wheat and maize crop production remained subdued, as it witnessed decline of 4.43 percent and 7.04 percent, respectively.
Other crops having share of 10.80 percent in agriculture value addition and 2.04 percent in GDP, grew by 3.33 percent on the back of increase in the production of fodder, vegetables and fruits. Livestock having share of 58.92 percent in agriculture and 11.11 percent in GDP, recorded a growth of 3.76 percent compared to 2.99 percent during corresponding period last year. The Fishing sector having share of 2.10 percent in agriculture value addition and 0.40 percent in GDP, grew at 1.63 percent compared to growth of 1.23 percent in same period last year. Forestry sector having share of 2.09 percent in agriculture and 0.39 percent in GDP posted a positive growth of 7.17 percent against the negative growth of 2.37 percent recorded in same period last year due to higher timber production reported by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Pakistan has two cropping seasons, “Kharif” being the first sowing season starting from April-June and is harvested during October-December. Rice, sugarcane, cotton, maize, moong, mash, bajra and jowar are “Kharif” crops. “Rabi”, the second sowing season, begins in October-December and is harvested in April-May. Wheat, gram, lentil (masoor), tobacco, rapeseed, barley and mustard are “Rabi” crops. Pakistan’s agricultural productivity is dependent upon the timely availability of water.
The agriculture sector continued to show improved performance and recorded the highest growth in last 13 years on account of government’s supportive policies. The improvement in this sector is contingent upon continuity of the policies, which will not only help the agriculture sector to grow but will support other sectors of the economy. However, there is a need to improve the yield in a number of crops which are still low compared to peer countries.
Pakistan being an agriculture country faces water scarcity problem due to increase in climate variability and extreme weather events which are negatively impacting water resources. To mitigate this challenge, National Water Policy should be formulated for water security on the basis of which the provincial governments can formulate their respective master plans and projects for water conservation, water developments and water management.