Agriculture problems in Pakistan and their solutions
By Mohsin Ali via AgriHunt
ECONOMY OF every state depends on three sectors i.e agriculture, industry and commerce. These three areas are interrelated as the progress or retrogress of one sector affects the other two. Pakistan is an agricultural state thus agriculture gains are of much importance than any other sector. Importance of this sector is manifold as it feeds people, provides raw material for industry and is a base for foreign trade. Foreign exchange earned from merchandise exports is 45 per cent of total exports of Pakistan. It contributes 26 per cent of GDP and 52 per cent of the total populace is getting its livelihood from it. 67.5 per cent people are living in the rural areas of Pakistan and are directly involved in it.
Major crops of Pakistan are wheat, rice, maize, cotton and sugar cane. These major crops contributed 7.7 per cent last year against the set target of 4.5 per cent. Minor crops are canola, onions, mangoes and pulses which contributed 3.6 per cent as there was no virus attack last year. Fishery and forestry contributes 16.6 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively. Though the agricultural sector is facing numerous problems in Pakistan yet the major chunk of revenue comes from this sector. Following are the major causes of agricultural problems in Pakistan which disturb the agricultural growth or development in Pakistan. Firstly, no mechanism has been adopted to eradicate the soil erosion and even after harvesting nothing is done to improve or restore the soil energy. Therefore, the fertility of soil is decreasing day by day.
The thickness of fertile layer of soil in Pakistan is more than 6 inches but the average yield is lower than other countries where layer of fertile soil is only 4 inches. Secondly, water wastage is very high in our country. The archaic method of flood irrigation is still in practice in whole of the country which wastes almost 50 to 60 percent of water. A new irrigation system called drip irrigation system has been introduced in many parts of the world. This not only saves water but also gives proper quantity of water according to the needs of plants. Thirdly, owing old methods of cultivation and harvesting, Pakistan has low yield per acre that means the average crop in Pakistan is just 1/4th of that of advance states. Whereas Nepal, India and Bangladesh are using modern scientific methods to increase their yield per acre. For this purpose, these states are using modern machines to improve their yield. Fourthly, the small farmers are increasing in our country as the lands are dividing generation by generation.
So, there are large number of farmers who own only 4 acres of land. These small farmers do not get credit facilities to purchase seeds, pesticides, fertilizers etc. Additionally, a large area of land is owned by feudals and the farmers who work on their lands, are just tenants. This uncertain situation of occupancy neither creates incentive of work nor does attract capital investment. Fifthly, water logging and salinity is increasing day by day. No effective measures have been taken to curb it. As the storage capacity of the dams is decreasing so the water availability per acre is also decreasing. Therefore, the farmers are installing more and more tube wells to irrigate their crops. This is why salinity is becoming the major issue in most parts of Punjab and Sindh. Sixthly, focusing more on land, crops and yield problems the man behind the plough is always ignored. While formulating the 5 or 10 years plan, no emphasize has been laid on the importance of solving the problems of farmers. Most of the farmers are illiterate, poor and ignorant. In this wake the loans issued by ADBP or other banks are used by them in other fields like repayment of debts, marriage of daughters etc, in spite of its befitting use in agricultural sector.
Lastly, the only mean of communication in rural areas is TV or radio so it is urgently needed on the part of these mass communication resources to air the programmes related to the new agricultural techniques and allied sciences. But these programmes should