Basic National Conditions
Located in the south of Asia, Pakistan is a middle- to low-income country. With over 195.4 million people, it is the sixth most populated country in the world. There are about 118 million rural residents. The country has 57.68 million hectares of arable lands. The actual cultivated area covers 21.68 million hectares, accounting for about 24.63 percent of Pakistan’s territory, which ranks 17th around the world. Pakistan has great potential in exploring its agricultural lands. In July 2010, every corner in this country suffered from unprecedented floods. About 20 million people were affected. Over 1.9 million houses were damaged. Around 7.5 million people became homeless. At that time, Pakistan couldn’t ensure its food security. The floods hindered the growth of GDP.
In the past decades, Pakistan made a great change from an agricultural economy to a service-led economy. During this transformation, the proportion of agriculture in its GDP decreased, but the sector remains Pakistan’s pillar industry.
Agriculture has always played an important role in Pakistan’s national economy. The sector is the major driving force of the economic growth. Pakistan’s agriculture is dominated by crop farming and family-based animal husbandry, total agricultural output value is 23.8% of its GDP. In 2015, labor force in agriculture accounted for about 42.3% of the country’s total. Agriculture makes up 25 percent of GDP. The largest source of foreign exchange income is the exports of produces. Food crops mainly include wheat, rice, foxtail millet, sorghum, maize and barley, among which wheat and rice are dominant. Pakistan’s wheat, rice and maize contribute 75% to the gross output of crops. Cash crops include cotton, sugarcane and tobacco, among which cotton and sugarcane are dominant. The country becomes the fourth largest producer of mango across the world. Animal husbandry also plays an important role in Pakistan’s national economy, which adds more value to the gross output of agriculture than crop farming. Pakistan’s animal husbandry has a great foundation of development. In the industry, milk sources vary, and buffalos’ milk, goats’ milk and camels’ milk are largely demanded. Pakistan’s proportion of large livestock per capita enters the top list of Asia. Animal husbandry accounts for 38 percent of agricultural output. The country is the fourth largest producer of milk. The milk industry makes up 58 percent of the gross output of agriculture, accounting for about 11 percent of GDP. Three types of farm and pasture products boast of the largest output, including sugarcane, milk and wheat. Three categories of produces have the highest output value, including milk, cattle and wheat.
Pakistan has the world’s largest system of continuous artesian irrigation. However, because of the poor condition of the system’s infrastructure, about 2/3 of the water resources for irrigation have leaked out. Only when Pakistan enlarges business area and increases water usage can make the output grow. The fact that water-scarce in the rural area hinders Pakistan’s agriculture. Small-scale production remains dominant in the organization form of agricultural production. Usually, farmers produce food for themselves. Only less than 20 percent of agricultural businesses focus on producing and processing produces. Pakistan uses extensive ways of agricultural production, low technology, and lacks quality crop seeds. Therefore, the per unit yield of food crops, including wheat, maize and rice, is less than the world’s average. In the future, there will be some outstanding technical issues facing the crop production planning. The government needs to figure out how to improve the quality of crop seeds, including the per unit yield and stress resistance. Pakistan also needs to figure out the ways to improve the technology of agricultural machinery, develop water-saving irrigation technology in dry lands, introduce means of production which include eco-friendly fertilizer and pesticides, introduce technology and equipment for preserving produces, and strengthen the industry-university-research cooperation. The government should increase funding for technology in agriculture, use modern ways of agricultural production and advanced technology to improve the traditional agriculture. By doing so, the agricultural system can break away from the balance of low level. Sustainable development of agriculture will be ensured, and per unit yield of crops will grow.
In 2014, Pakistan’s government approved a long-term development strategy. The strategy aims to transfer Pakistan into a middle- to high-income country in 2025, and become a country that is among the top 10 largest economies around the world in 2047. The government rolled out the Federal Public Sector Development Programme (FPSDP) in 2014. It established the “Eleventh Five-year Plan” (2013-2018) to achieve the vision of 2025. The plan aims to increase agricultural productivity, profit margin, competitiveness and accomplish the sustainable development goal of environmental safety. Its major purpose is to increase economic growth steadily during this period so as to ensure Pakistan’s food security, reduce rural poverty and support overall development of Pakistan. In 2013, the government drafted the new Agriculture and Food Security Policy (2013) to ensure the healthy development of agricultural production and achieve food security. The goal of the policy is to eliminate food insecurity before 2050. Essential parts of this policy lie in achieving food security, increasing the overall economic growth rate and bringing benefits to all classes. In 2015, The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) drafted the National Action Plan for Agriculture and Food Security (2015), which is an comprehensive policy for national agriculture and food security.