Agricultural Performance during 2015-16

Agriculture sector is a vital component of Pakistan’s economy as it provides the raw materials to down the line industries and helps in poverty alleviation. This sector contributed 19.8 percent in GDP and it remains by far the largest employer absorbing 42.3 percent of the country’s total labour force. The agriculture sector growth is contingent on favorable weather conditions. There is a strong relationship between agriculture and climate—temperature, precipitation, floods and other aspects of weather that finally affect economic performance including agriculture production, commodity prices and finally economic growth. The emerging challenges of national food security and climate change have shifted the policy focus globally towards the development of agriculture sector during past few years. The high potential of this sector in earning valuable foreign exchange has been greatly realized through taping the potential in value addition sectors. Pakistan’s agriculture community consists of small farmers having various limitations in their day to day farming practices that have been translated into the fact that per yield level in Pakistan has been graded in the lower to middle ranged economy fulfilling the propensity to cater the food requirements of its growing population and with current pace of development envisages to slip to the lower ranged economies having ability to cater the nutritional needs of its population by the year 2030. The government is focusing on improving agricultural productivity by increasing crops yield, systematic application of better inputs and advance technology to enhance profitability of the farming community, improve competitiveness and ensure the environmental sustainability of agriculture. The overall objective is to achieve a sustained agriculture growth rate of four to five percent per annum to support the overall GDP growth trajectory. To protect the farmers from the vagaries of unprecedented climate change and global slowdown in commodity prices, the government announced Kissan Package in September, 2015.

Performance during 2015-16

During FY 2016, the performance of agriculture sector as a whole remained dismal as it witnessed a negative growth of 0.19 percent against 2.53 percent growth during the same period last year. The growth of crops declined by 6.25 percent, while the other sub component of Agriculture sector like Livestock, Forestry and Fishing posted positive growth of 3.63 percent, 8.84 percent and 3.25 percent, respectively. The growth of sub Sector of crops included important crops, other crops and cotton ginning remained negative as it posted a growth of -7.18 percent, -0.31 percent and -21.26 percent which impacted negatively on crops as a result became the reason of negative growth of Agriculture sector. The last negative growth in Agriculture was witnessed in 2000-01, when agriculture growth declined to 2.18 percent. Important crops having a share of 23.55 percent in agricultural value added has witnessed negative growth of 7.18 percent on account of large decline in cotton production (27.83 percent), rice production (2.74 percent) and maize production (0.35 percent) during 2015-16 against negative growth of 0.52 percent during the same period of last year. While only wheat and sugarcane production witnessed a positive growth of 1.58 percent and 4.22 percent respectively, as compared to last year. Other crops contributed 11.36 percent in value addition of agriculture witnessed a decline of 0.31 percent during 2015- 16 against positive growth of 3.09 percent during the same period last year due to decline in the production of pulses, fruits and oilseeds posting negative growth of 12.49 percent, 2.48 percent and 9.56 percent, respectively. With drop in cotton production by around 27.83 percent this year the Cotton ginning having a share of 2.32 percent in value addition of agriculture has suffered badly and posted a negative growth of 21.26 percent compared to 7.24 percent growth during the same period last year. The Livestock sector having contribution of 58.55 percent in the agriculture recorded a positive growth of 3.63 percent during 2015-16 compared to 3.99 percent growth during the same period last year. The Fishing sector having contribution of 2.17 percent in agriculture value addition recorded a growth of 3.25 percent compared to 5.75 percent growth of last year. Forestry sector having contribution of 2.06 in the agriculture value addition posted a growth of 8.84 percent this year as compared to the negative growth of 10.43 percent last year

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