Agriculture is the of process of cultivation of land or soil for production purpose. As an agriculturist/agronomist, Agriculture plays a very vital role in the economy of Pakistan and its development. 48% of the labor force is engaged directly with agriculture.
So, it is the main source of living or income of the major part of the economy population. About 70% of the population is related to agriculture directly or indirectly. Agriculture is the major source of food for the huge population of Pakistan. Agriculture is also the major source of the provision of raw martial to the industrial sector of Pakistan. Its contribution towards GDP is about 25% which is higher than the contribution of any other sector. The following are the main points of the importance of agriculture for the Pakistan economy.
Source of Employment:
Pakistan as a developing economy the employment on a consistent level has much importance. In this behalf, agriculture has much importance because it provides employment directly or indirectly to the public. Employment directly affects the GSP of the economy as well as the per capita income. With the increase in per capita income living standard increases, higher hygiene facilities & better education facilities are also increasing. All these signs are the factors of economic development. So, we can say that agriculture has a great contribution to economic development by providing employment.
The population growth rate of Pakistan is increasing rapidly. According to UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) human development report, the population growth rate of Pakistan is 2% per year. So, with the rapidly increasing population, the food requirement is also increasing rapidly. In this behalf agriculture is the only major sector which is meeting the increasing requirement of food. It also reduces the import of food from other economies. So, we can say that the agriculture sector is playing a very vital role in the development of Pakistan by providing food for massive population as well as supporting economic growth.
Contribution in Exports:
Major exports or cash crops of Pakistan are wheat, rice, and cotton. 9.8 billion Bales of cotton are produced per year. Rice crop is produced 4.3 million tons per year. These agricultural commodities are exported to various countries against foreign exchange. This foreign exchange is utilized for the import of industrial or technological equipments such as machinery or automobiles. Further this foreign exchange is utilized to improve the infrastructure of the economy or for improving the other sector of the economy like education, health, and investments.
Raw Material for Industries:
Industries have great importance for the development of any country especially for developing economies like Pakistan. Industries need raw material to produce finish goods. In Pakistan agriculture provides raw material to industries. Cotton is a very important agricultural production which is also a major export of Pakistan. It is used as a raw material in textile industries. The production of these textile industries is exported to various countries against foreign exchange. Livestock is also an agricultural sector. It also plays a very important role to export goods by providing the raw material to various industries like sports goods industries and leather industries. So, in this way agriculture helps to Pakistan economy and its growth toward development.
Infrastructure plays a very important role in the development of any economy. It is fuel to the economic development. Well organized infrastructure is a key to development because of quick means of transportation of agricultural goods or commodities (raw material or finish goods) and communication. On the distribution purpose of agricultural products good and quick means of transportation are required this intends to improve the infrastructure rapidly. Hence, agriculture plays an important role in the development of transportation for the purpose of distribution of goods.
Increase in GDP Level:
Agriculture has a huge contribution toward the GDP of Pakistan economy. it contributes about 25% of total GDP, which is larger than other sectors of Pakistan. An increase in GDP shows the development progress of the economy. It has played a very important role since independence toward the GDP of Pakistan. Now agriculture is the 3rd largest sector of contributing to GDP. Livestock and fisheries are a huge sector of agriculture in order to provide employment. Employment contributes to GDP; it is as with the increase in employment the per capita income will increase which results in to increase in the GDP rate of the economy.
Decreasing in Rural Poverty:
The agriculture sector has played a very important role in order to reduction of rural poverty. From 1975 to 2000 the GDP growth rate of agriculture was about 4.1% per year. Green revolution technology in irrigation, improved seeds, and fertilizers played a very vital role to increase the agricultural production which results in increase in GDP. Through this technology farmers with land gain the opportunity to increase their production. So, in this way, arable lands became cultivated lands and farmers got the market of agricultural products against some return.
Development of the Banking Sector:
Agriculture has also contributed a great role in the development of the banking sector. As the government realized the importance of agriculture, it takes steps to improve the productivity of crops by providing the credit facilities to the farmers at low-interest rates. With utilizing these credits farmers can produce more and more crops. For this purpose, the government established the ZTBL and other financial institutes for the provision of credit facilities. So, in this way the development of the banking sector takes place.
The introduction of farm mechanization in the agricultural sector had played a very effective role in the development of the economy. With the use of modern machinery in agricultural lands causes more and high-quality production of crops. So, the provision of raw material to the industries increases. Due to an increase in productivity level the export rate of major export crops is increased which causes foreign exchange and economic development.
Use of Nanotechnology:
In the agricultural sector use of modern technology like nanotechnology has played a very vital role in the development of the economy. This technology is used for producing high yielding variety with high-quality products. High-quality products result in a high rate of return to the farmers and the per capita income of farmers increases. An increase in per capita income shows the growth of the economy toward development.
Role of Dairy Farming:
Dairy farming from the agricultural sector has also played a great role in economic development. Livestock or dairy farming has a huge contribution to economic growth. The annual protein per capita is 18 kg of meat and 155 litters of milk. This is the highest rate in South Asia. Milk and meat and their by-products have a good market. Farmers can receive a good return by producing and providing these products to the market. This process results in an increase in per capita income as well as an increase in the national income of the economy.
Role of Textile Industries:
In the economic development textile industries plays a very important role. These industries totally depend on agriculture production in raw form. Cotton is the major crop which is used as raw material for these industries for production purpose. Further, these products are exported to many economies against foreign exchange. So, cotton as raw material from the agriculture side contributes to an increase in NI (National Income). Textile industries also provide employment levels which increases the per capita income of the person. Hence, the contribution of textile industries in the development of the economy has much importance.
Role of Sugar Industries:
The sugar industry is also one of the major sectors of economy which has great importance according to the development of economy. This is a totally agriculturally based industry. Sugar cane is produced on a very large scale in many areas of Pakistan. This further supplies sugar industries for the production of sugar and other by-products which has a great market. As large-scale industries, these also help to provide employment levels to the public. This results in an increase in per capita income as well as improves living standards.
Rice Export Corporation:
Many areas of Pakistan have much importance according to the production of rice crops. In some areas, the world most famous rice crop is produced. A huge quantity is exported to many economies against foreign exchange. This foreign exchange is further utilized in the import of some other products like modern technology or machinery or this is utilized for the improvement of infrastructure of the economy.
Role of Fishery:
As a biologist/zoologist, the Fishing industry plays a very important role in the development of the national economy. With a coastline of 814 km, Pakistan has enough resources for that remains to fully develop. This is also the major export of Pakistan.
About 4% of the land is covered with forests in Pakistan. This is the major source of paper, lumber, fuel-wood, and latex medicine. It is also used for the purpose of wildlife conservation and ecotourism.
Measure to Improve the Efficiency of Agricultural Sector for Development of Economy:
1. Yield Collection Problems:
The collection of yield from small farmers is a very expensive and difficult process. So, it is a great problem of marketing. There should be some easy way for the collection of yield from the farmers.
2. Rough Grading Products:
Commodities or products which are graded have a higher price in the market. In Pakistan mixing of poor & good qualities is common. So grading problems must reduce.
3. Storage Problems:
The storage facilities in markets are not enough, the seller cannot store & wait for a higher price of the product due to lack of warehouses. Because of this, some perishable produce suffers loss.
4. Middleman’s Role:
The middleman takes a big share of farmer crops without doing anything. The farmers borrow the money from them & sell their products at low prices. So this is a big loss to the farmers.
5. Transportation Problems:
Our sources of transportation are insufficient, so a regular supply of products is not possible for the market. The village is not properly linked to the markets. For proper provision of products to the market, there must be sufficient as well as fast means of transportation.
6. Revenue System:
Our farmers have to pay land revenue after the harvesting of each crop, so it forces the farmers to sell their produce at a low price.
7. Market Advisory Committee (MAC):
MAC (Market Advisory Committee) at the district and tehsil level should be set up to provide technical advice and information to co-operative marketing societies. The officers of the co-operative & agriculture department should be the members of the committee.
8. Market Reforms:
The government should improve the market system. Strict rules and laws should be introduced. The prices of agricultural products should be checked by the inspectors in the market.
Muhammad Dilawaiz Khan1, Nargis Naheed2. 1Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-38000, Pakistan. 2Department of Zoology, Wildlife and Fisheries, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-38000, Pakistan