Economic survey 2009-10: Agriculture sector’s growth surpasses target

Source News: June 12, 2009 Daily Times

KARACHI: 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 growth in agriculture this year is estimated 4.7 percent on account of bumper wheat, rice and maize crop.

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 deprivation revolve. Hence major crops accounting for 33.4 percent of agriculture value added registered stellar growth of 7.7 percent as against negative 6.4 percent last year. Minor crops contributing 12.0 percent to overall agriculture grew by 3.6 percent as against 10.9 percent last year. The performance of livestock, the single largest contributor to overall agriculture (51.8 percent) grew by 3.7 percent in 2008-09 as against 4.2 percent last year.

Cotton: Cotton is the important non-food cash crop and a significant source of foreign exchange earnings. Cotton accounts for 7.3 percent of the value added in agriculture and about 1.6 percent to GDP. The crop was sown on the area of 2820 thousand hectares, 7.7 percent less than last year (3054 thousand hectares). The production is estimated at 11.8 million bales for 2008-09, higher by 1.1 percent over the last year’s production of 11.7 million bales.

Sugarcane: Sugarcane is an important cash crop of Pakistan. Its share in value added of agriculture and GDP are 3.4 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. For 2008-09, sugarcane has been sown in the area of 1029 thousand hectares, 17.1 percent lower than last year. Sugarcane production for the year 2008-09 is estimated at 50.0 million tonne, against 63.9 million tonnes last year. This indicates significant decline of 21.7 percent over the production of last year. The main reasons of lower production are shortage of irrigation water, shifting of area to rice crop less use of DAP and non-payments of dues to farmers by the sugar mills on time for the last year’s crop.

Rice: Rice is an important food cash crop. It accounts for 5.9 percent of value added in agriculture and 1.3 percent in GDP. Area sown for rice is estimated at 2963 thousand hectares, 17.8 percent higher than last year. The size of the crop is estimated at 6952 thousand tonnes 24.9 percent higher than last year.

Wheat: Wheat is the main staple food item of the country’s population and largest grain crop of the country. It contributes 13.1 percent to the value added in agriculture and 2.8 percent to GDP. Area and production target of wheat for the year 2008-09 has been set at 8610 thousand hectares and 25 million tonnes, respectively. Wheat was cultivated on an area of 9062 thousand hectares, showing an increase of 5.9 percent over last year’s area of 8550 thousand hectares. The size of wheat crop is provisionally estimated at 23.4 million tonnes, 11.7 percent more than last year crop.

Oilseeds: The major oilseed crops include cottonseed, rapeseed/mustard, sunflower and canola etc. The edible oil available in the country from all sources was 3.066 million tons during 2007-08. Local production of edible oil stood at 833 thousand tons during 2007-08, which is 27.2 percent of the total availability in the country.

The production of chillies, masoor and potatoes increased by 60.7 percent, 44.5 percent and 0.2 percent respectively. The production of mung, mash and onion decreased by 11.4 percent, 20.8 percent and 4.6 percent respectively. The decreased in these crop is mainly due to reduction of area under such crops as the area of mung, mash and onion decreased by 6 percent, 3.1 percent and 13.1 percent respectively. staff report

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