Agriculture is a vital contributor to the economy of country as it contributes one fourth to GDP, it pays 47% labour force, agro business give above 50% industrial production, earns 70% of export revenues either directly or indirectly and it provides livelihood to 67% of rural households.
Majority of poor live in rural areas (near to 80% of all poor live in rural areas) and they are mainly dependent on agriculture for their food and for livelihood security. Also livestock is source of livelihood for the poor.Through forward and backward linkages, agriculture also contributes to rural economy (farm and non-farm) and creates livelihood for poor in the non-farm sector.
Agricultural growth contributes most to poverty reduction. Increasing agriculture growth, especially high value agricultural activities, will continue to be the basis of Government overall strategiesto declinepoverty.
KEY POLICY GOALS FOR AGRICULTURE
To make agriculture more economical and transpose, the Government is pursuing the following goals:
• Diversification in horticulture, fisheries and livestock.
• Minimizing the yield gap by enhancing productivity, especially of local farmers.
• Giving more importance to increasingstallholders.
• Increasing irrigation network and to ensure higher efficientirrigation system.
• Ensure reasonable price to farmers
Emerging key sources of future agricultural growth
Livestock is seems to emerging key sector of growth in future and there is huge potential of dairy and livestock. Government has embraced livestock growth strategy to discourse the key constraints such as:
• Insufficient feed resources (short by 30%)
• Unavailability of grander germ-plasm
• Low marketing infrastructure
• Less investment by the government (only 1% of PSDP in past)
• Bad institutional infrastructure
Programmes for narrowing the yield gaps with more focus on smallholders
Yield gaps in all the provinces for all crops are large. Yield gaps are more serious for smallholders.
Actions taken include:
• Introduction of varieties with high yielding potential.
• Promoting agronomic practices and balanced use of agricultural inputs.
• Improving in extension services by active involvement of the local communities.
• Mitigating the market imperfections and safeguarding farmer interests.
• Encouraging commercial farming.
• A major project, SPECIAL PROGRAM FOR FOOD SECURITY AND PRODUCTION ENHANCEMENT, which mainly focuses on small-holders, is being increased to 13000 villages by 2015.
RURAL FINANCE POLICY
Significant loaning has been done by commercial banks in current year. However, ZTBL and micro-finance institutions need to promote flow of rural credit.
• Awkward legal processes and lack of political will create problem for loan recovery.
• Limited utilization of savings by finance institutions.
These preventive factors are being spoken and recently State Bank has issued guidelines for agriculturefinancing and agri-business activities. Also steps are being taken to:
• Organizing potential borrowers in professional associations to reduce transactions costs for lenders.
• Supporting the institutional and regulatory structure for the implementation of contracts and conflict resolution.
PROGRAMMES FOR EXTENDING IRRIGATION AND IMPROVING ITS EFFICIENCY
A. Increase water availability by increasing capacity of water reservoirs and water use efficiency:
• Construction of new dams and maximizing height of Mangla dam.
• About two million acres (m.a) would be available for the development of Mangla. Raising and building of three canals -Kacchi, Greater Thal and Rainee.
• All the on-going, planned water development projects would provide moreirrigation facility of about four million acres (m.a) and two million acres increased in cropped area.
• There is potential of development for around 5 million acres (m.a) of land using floodwater from hill-torrents.
B. Improving irrigation efficiency by:
• Lining of water courses.
• Judicious use of tube well and surface water.
• Employment of farmer organizations.
• Increased in public investment.
• Experimentation with drip and sprinkle irrigation.
A project called WATER CONSERVATION AND PRODUCTIVITY ENHANCEMENT through highest efficiency irrigation system has been launched.