PROBLEMS OF AGRICULTURE IN PAKISTAN AND THEIR REMEDIES
Asif Ameen, Qamar-uz-Zaman
Agriculture is the major occupation of the people of Pakistan. Even today agriculture is a major sector and occupies a very important place in the economy of Pakistan. It not only provides food for our growing population but is a source of raw materials for our principal industries as well as a source of foreign exchange for our government.
24% of our gross domestic products belong to this sector. It engages 53% of our employed labour .About 75% of our people are engaged directly or indirectly with this profession. A large part (about 10%) of Pakistan’s exports is made up of primary commodities, including the major cash crops. In addition to this major large scale industries like cotton textile and sugar etc. as well as medium and small scale agro-based and cottage industries are directly dependent on this sector for their raw materials.
Following are the causes of our backwardness in agriculture:
1. The farmers of our country are mostly un-educated and lack technical knowledge .They are unable to unde4rstand the modern scientific methods of agriculture and often remain ignorant of good means to protect and increase their yield. Their production is therefore low.
2. The majority of our farmers are poor and they often live in a hand to mouth position. Most of them are always under heavy burdens of debts. So due to lack of capital they cannot afford to purchase modern scientific implements, chemical manures, improved types of seeds etc. Hence they cannot attain the required standards.
3. Most of our farmers are still stuck to the old traditions of their fore fathers. The circumstances have compelled them to use the crude implements, because due to small holdings of land and poverty they are unable to acquire and use modern scientific methods. That is why their standard is lower than that of cultivators in developed countries.
4. Due to excessive use of canal water, most of our cultivated lands have become victims of these two dangerous diseases. Every year, salinity alone, is turning about 1, 00,000 acres of arable land into marches and salt lands. Water-logging is no less injurious. On the other hand the measures taken so far are quite inadequate for such issues.
5. Due to our law of inheritance, our farmers command very small pieces of hands which prove to be costly. A farmer cannot afford tractors and other machineries for a small piece of land and those incomes are low. Hence his interest is converted to some other sector.
6. Our farmers have to face many problems due to scarcity of water which is one our major problems. Large tracts of land estimated to be about 22 million acres is lying uncultivated due to shortage of water. Rainfall is uncertain and the existing irrigational facilities in our country are quite insufficient and need to be extended.
7. The land tenure system of Pakistan has creates a chain of intermediaries in between the state and the tenants. The system, instead of being conductive to agricultural development, stands in the way of its progress.
8. In some areas of our country, especially in hilly regions, the upper fertile soil is being eroded by different natural agents of change .Thus the fertility is poor and soils are becoming less productive.
9. The marketing facilities for agricultural products in Pakistan are still far from satisfactory level. Our cultivators cannot get just prices for their produce due to defective marketing organization. Moreover the chain of middlemen between the producers and ultimate consumers take a heavy share of their produce .Thus the cultivators do not take much real interest in increasing their product too.
10. Due to lack of agricultural education and methods of modern research, our farmers cannot control the various diseases of crops and attacks of pests and insects. The result is low yields.
11. The agricultural activities in our country are performed in rural areas, but most of our villages have no road or railway links with our markets. So farmers have to face innumerable hardships to sell their products. Hence the farmers take very little interest in their profession and production suffers.
12. The resources required for agricultural operation are land, layout, livestock, farm equipment, seeds, fertilizers, irrigation, transport etc. For the convenient and timely procurement of these resources the farmers must have easy access to credit. Zarai taraqiati and commercial banks provide loans to the farmers which are insufficient because our farmers are very poor.
13. Due to the above mentioned facts, it is clear that the yield per acre of various crops in our country is comparatively low than of the other countries. Hence we are backward agriculturally.
Remedies to Overcome the Problems:
1. The land which has been declared useless due to salinity and water-logging should be reclaimed. Tube-wells should be installed in the affected areas to decrease the salinity. Beds of new canals should be made of concrete to avoid water-logging. These measures should be taken on priority basis to avoid further deterioration of land .
2. The major problem of agriculture in Pakistan is scarcity of water. Most of the land is lying unused due to this problem. Therefore, it is necessary that the irrigation facilities be extended for increasing agricultural output.
3. The agricultural yield can also be increased to a great extent by using fertilizers. The use of artificial manure should be introduced throughout the country. Due to poverty and illiteracy our farmers hesitate to purchase the fertilizers.
4. The use of better seeds, fertilizers and modern implements is not possible without adequate credit facilities for the farmers. The government has extended the existing credit facilities to a large extent. The commercial banks also grant loans to the farmers, but still there is a need for more facilities as our farmers are very poor.
5. The farmers should be provided better quality seeds at the lowest price and at the right time. Better seeds will ultimately give better yield.
6. Various plant diseases damage a large part of our crops. But our farmers have no effective control over them. Therefore, preventive and narrative measures should be taken throughout the country.
7. Mechanization of agriculture refers to the use of various equipments the different stages of cultivation. By the use of modern equipments better results can be achieved in the shortest time.
8. Co-operative farming refers to the farming done on the basis of mutual help and co-operation. Under this method the small holdings are consolidated .In this way the owners of small holdings can also use fertilizers and modern equipments jointly. After harvesting, the yield can be distributed among the owners according to their ownership.
9. Increase of literacy ratio in rural areas especially in agree-education is the need of the day. The more educated the farmers will be the better will be the results achieved.
10. Marketing procedures should be simplified and various marketing facilities should be provided to the cultivators.
11. The rural areas of the country must be provided with road and railway links with marketing centers and better means of transport and communication should be provided.
Introduction of Authors: !) Qamar-uz-Zaman M.Sc(hons) university of Agriculture, Faisalabad
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