Pakistan’s agriculture sector, which contributes more than one-fifth to its GDP, has gone down by 0.8 percentage points short of its actual target, the Economic Survey revealed.
The sector grew by only 3.3 percent, even though crop production and livestock is now more resilient to extreme weather shocks.
The Economic Survey gives a grim picture of the agriculture performance and it even missed the growth figure of last year when its volume went up by 3.5 percent. The sluggish agriculture growth also remained a cause of concern.
Overall growth target for agriculture was 4.1 percent but due to below the target performance of wheat, rice and cotton overall agricultural growth went down and the same was the case of the livestock, forestry and fisheries, while sugarcane and maize gave a cushion to the sector.
The agriculture sector has the critical importance to growth, exports, incomes and food security, reducing poverty and transforming towards industrialisation.
It is the second largest sector of the economy, contributing 21.4 percent to GDP, generates productive employment opportunities for 45 percent of the country’s labour force and 60 percent of the rural population depends directly or indirectly on this sector.
During 2012-13, the targets for sub-sectors of major and minor crops were surpassed but those for livestock, forestry and fisheries were missed, the Economic Survey revealed.
Wheat production missed the target by 5.1 percent as its production remained at 24.2 million tons against a target of 25.5 million tons. Over the last fiscal year, it gave a positive growth of 3.2 percent when its production stood at 23.5 million tons.
Rice has also not performed well this year, as its production remained at 5.54 million tons against the target of 6.9 million tons, showing a decline of 19.7 percent.
Cotton production target was also missed, as the production of cotton bales stood at just 13 million bales against the target of 14.5 million bales, resulted in a decline of 10.3 percent.
Sugarcane experienced an encouraging growth and its production has been clocked in at 62.5 million tons against the target of 59 million tons. Maize production stood at 4.63 million tons against the target of 4.338 million tons.
The achievement may be attributed to increase in area sown, use of high quality hybrid and improved production technologies.
The livestock sector, which has a 55.4 percent share in the agriculture, grew by 3.7 percent in 2012-13. The fishing sector grew by 0.7 percent as against the last fiscal year’s positive growth of 3.8 percent. Forestry sector posted a nominal growth of 0.1 percent this year as compared to the growth of 1.7 percent last fiscal year. —Israr Khan