Agriculture Sector in the Year 2009

Article excerpt

Inspite of structural shift towards industrialization, agriculture sector is still the largest sector of the economy with deep impact on socio-economic set up. It is the source of the livelihood of almost 44.7 percent of the total employed labour force in the country. With the present contribution to GDP at 21.8 percent, agriculture sector is the mainstay of the rural economy around which socio-economic privileges and deprivations revolve. Thus given for its stretched distinct forward and backward linkages particularly with the industrial sector, a large impact on balance of payments and highest share in employment, agriculture sector has assumed an added significance in backdrop of global food crunch and food security. No strategy of economic reforms can be realized without sustained and broad based agricultural development which is critical for raising living standards, alleviating poverty assuring food security, generating buoyant market for expansion of industry and services, and making substantial contribution to the national economic growth.

Agriculture has grown at an average rate of 4.1 percent per annum since 2002-03 with variations, from 6.5 percent to 1.1 percent. The fluctuation in agriculture has largely stemmed from a fluctuation in major crops which in turn is the result of the behaviour of mother nature, pest attacks on crops. The trends in agriculture growth since 2002-03 are reported in table 2.1

Tabl 2.1 Agriculture Growth (Percent)

Year        Agriculture      MajorCrops  MinorCrops

2002-03         4.1             6.8         1.9
2003-04         2.4             1.7         3.9
2004-05         6.5            17.7         1.5
2005-06         6.3            -3.9         0.4
2006-07         4.1             7.7        -1.0
2007-08         1.1            -6.4        10.9
2008-09(P)      4.7             7.7         3.6

P = Provisional
Soure: Federal Bureau of Statistics

The performance of agriculture sector has been stronger than expected during 2008-09 as against the target of 3.5 percent and last year's performance of 1.1 percent, overall agriculture this year is estimated to grow by 4.7 percent on account of bumper wheat, rice and maize crops estimated as 23.42, 6.9 and 4.0 million tons respectively.

Hence major crops accounting for 33.4 percent o agricultural value added registered stellar growtl of 7.7 percent as against negative 6.4 percent las year. Minor crops contributing 12.0 percent t< overall agriculture grew by 3.6 percent as agains 10.9 percent last year. The performance o livestock - the single largest contributor to overal agriculture (51.8 percent) grew by 3.7 percent ir 2008-09 as against 4.2 percent last year. The fishery performed positively at 2.3 percent; thougl the previous years growth stood at 9.2 percent Forestry has been experiencing negative growth since 2003-04 and this year too has posted negative growth of 15.7 percent in a row.

Pakistan's agricultural output is closely linked with the supply of irrigation water. As shown in Table 2.2, against the normal surface water availability at canal heads of 103.5 million-acre feet (MAP), the overall (both for Kharif and Rabi) water availability has been less in the range of 2.5 percent (2005-06) to 20.6 percent (2004-05). Relatively speaking, Rabi season faced more shortage of water than Kharif during these years.

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During the current fiscal year (2008-09), the availability of water for Kharif 2008 (for the crops such as rice, sugarcane and cotton) has been 0.3 percent less than the normal supplies and 5-5 percent less than last year's Kharif (see Table 2.2). The water availability during Rabi season (for major crop such as wheat), is, however, estimated at 24.9 MAP, which is 31.6 percent less than the normal availability, and 10.7 percent less than last year's Rabi.

Table 2.2 Actual Surfce water availability

                                                     Million Acre Feet

Period                Kharif  Rabi  Total over the avg. …