Major problems to agriculture and their solutions
Economy of each every relies on three segments – agriculture, industry and trade and these three are inter-related with one another as the advancement or decline of one area affects the other two. Agriculture is the main player in economy of our country and it contributes 21 per cent in GDP and employing 44 per cent of workface. Almost 70 per cent of population is connected with agriculture directly or indirectly. Unfortunately, agricultural viability is not up to the satisfactory level. Pakistans agriculture is facing multidimensional problems. Population is rising at alarming rate that ultimately increases the commercialization, industrialization and urbanization. Now our main problem is low productivity. According to a recent survey, average yield obtained is approximately 30 per cent less than potential yield. For example average yield of wheat in Pakistan is 27 Mounds per acre and potential for new varieties is 65-70 mounds per acre that is 64 per cent less than average yield. On the other hand there are some progressive farmers who are taking more than 50 mounds per acre yield of wheat with the same type of land and resources, so the low productivity issues need to be be addressed. The magnanimity of various agricultural problems has crippled the economy. For broad spectrum, these problems can discuss under the following heads.
Total area of Pakistan is about 79.6 million hectares, out of which only 23.7 million hectares area is under agricultural use. There is vast sub-division and fragmentation of land, as a result modern technology cannot implement in agricultural sector. Water logging and salinity are serious threats to agriculture, due to salinity deposits of salts and adversely affected the performance of agricultural sector. Water logging and salinity deteriorates almost 0.10 million acres of land every year. Our agricultural production is also on the decline. Developed countries are getting higher yield per hectare due to use of modern and innovative technology and trained labour. Like all other industries agriculture is also progressing with innovative technology and modern methods. But in Pakistan, farmers are stick to old, conventional and traditional methods and old implements are still being used for agricultural production. Old and orthodox techniques of production cannot increase the production according to international levels. Moreover rural infrastructure like, roads, storage facilities, transport, electricity, education, health facilities and sanitation is inadequate to meet the requirement of growth of agriculture. Total length of farm-to-market road is not only shorter but their condition is also poor. Many villages have no metal-led road at all. Electricity is available to only 3/4 rural populations and where available, it is affected with load shedding. Due to increasing population and division of land under law of inheritance, landholdings are subdivided over and over again results that very large number of farmers has less than 2 hectares of area. Moreover, holdings are scattered. It is difficult to use modern machinery on small pieces of land. Supply of modern inputs like high yielding variety seeds, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, mechanized machinery not only costly but also inadequate in Pakistan. Furthermore, shortage of irrigation facilities is a serious limitation in expansion of crop area. The lower water supplies and loses from water course in fields are serious concerns of farm sector. Land reforms have been implemented against the will of people. There is an urgent need to conduct a proper land reform for improving agricultural growth. Due to this problem agricultural production cannot increase to desired level. Our farmer is attached with subsistence farming; major portion of production is consumed at farmers own house and a very less proportion is available for market supply. Farming is not conducted at commercial level in Pakistan. In our country there is low level of cropping intensity as compared to developed countries. Resources are not utilized in right manner as cultivable area under double or multiple cropping is inadequate in Pakistan. Farmers are not following the general principles of crop rotation; the constant cultivation of one or two crops exhausts the fertility status of soil. The average crop yield in Pakistan is very low as compared to the production levels of the advanced countries of the world.
Agriculture is always susceptible to natural calamities it is always dependent upon climatic conditions and growth of agriculture is dominated by nature. Due to political instability, our agricultural crops are destroyed due to uncontrolled floods. Various agricultural crops like cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, wheat and rice often come under attack of pests and insects. Pests and plant diseases reduce the annual productivity of agriculture.
Our farmers do not have properly record their incomes and expenses. Most of the time, they spend more when they have more due to illiteracy. There are frequent litigations among farmers directly or indirectly. They are often seen in police stations, courts, irrigation offices and revenue boards. Due to these problems, our farmer cannot devote his attention, energy, efficiency and labor to agricultural productions. The Economic Survey of Pakistan shows that literacy remains higher in urban areas (73.2%) than in rural areas (49.2%). Most of the farmers in our country are illiterate; they are inefficient and untrained to boost up agricultural productivity. Political unrest has badly affected development in all sectors. This instability creates unrest among farming community to sell the productions to various industries as a raw material. Moreover people hesitate to invest in agricultural sector due to political instability.
Basically our farmer is poor and he has low level of income. Agricultural credit facilities are not common in Pakistan. Credit that can facilitate agriculture is not available easily. About 50.8 per cent poor borrow from landlords in Pakistan. It is common saying about our farmer that he that he born in debts, grows in debts and dies in debts. According to “Pakistan Human Development Report 2003” about 57.4 per cent poor are working for feudal-lords without wages. The price market of agricultural goods generally remains unstable in the country. Cobweb theorem is very popular in case of market prices; it means that a price of one commodity is much high in this year and much low in the next year and vice versa. The farmers, do not get due reward from the sale of their productions. So, they remain unsatisfied.
My knowledge is poor, my abilities are fragile, my intellect is faint and my experience is small but my sense of realization of this matter is bigger than me. As an agrarian I am suggesting some pragmatic approaches to get rid of these problems and help to boost the agricultural productivity.
• Water Logging and Salinity Control
• Supply of Agriculture Credit
• Construction of Dames
• Increase in mechanization
• Provision of high yielding varieties seed
• Tax Concessions
• Formation of site specific production technologies of major crops
• Training of Farmers
• Prices of Agricultural Productivities
• Agricultural Research
• Agriculture extension department should helps in technology transfer
Being an agrarian country, agricultural sector of Pakistans economy is still backward. Hence, it is not until proper attention and corrective measures are taken by both the public and private sector that our agricultural yield may get improved and the agrarian issues may get resolved.
The authors are associated with the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Punjab, Pakistan.
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