PAKISTAN is an agrarian country. According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2012-13, agriculture is the second largest sector of the economy, contributing 21.4pc to the GDP, generating productive employment opportunities for 45pc of the country’s labour force, while 60pc of the rural population depend directly or indirectly on this sector.
Also, the sector has the critical importance to growth, exports, incomes and food security, reducing poverty and transforming towards industrialisation.
The Economic Survey paints a grim picture of the agriculture performance and it even missed the growth figure of last year when its volume went up by 3.5pc.
The sector grew by only 3.3pc during 2012-13, even though crop production and livestock are now more resilient to extreme weather shocks.
During 2012-13, targets for sectors of major and minor crops were surpassed, but those for livestock, forestry and fisheries were missed, the Economic Survey revealed. The achievement may be attributed to increase in the area sown, use of high quality hybrid seeds and improved production techniques.
In view of the above, there is a strong need to invest more in agriculture, especially to improve the methods of cultivation through adoption of modern production techniques.
Also, agricultural loaning to farmers needs to be simplified so that they could get loans easily on time for the purchase of inputs for raising the crops.
KHAN FARAZ Peshawar