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Pakistan Agriculture Overview 

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Strategy for agriculture sector by on Looker

To translate into projects designed to achieve self sufficiency, surpluses as raw material for industry and exports, for reduction in poverty and for creating employment opportunities.

Strategy for agriculture sector by on Looker-- Agriculture is the mainstay of the country's economy with a contribution of 24.5% to the GDP.

-- This sector is, however, faced with some structural and deep seated problems warranting bold and critical interventions on many fronts. Some of the issues are as listed:-

a) Gaps in productivity are far too distinct skewing its tilt in favour of progressive farmers.

b) Despite horizontal expansion in acreage the yield has reached a plateau.

c) Farms less than subsistence level are 81 %. The number poor farmers is on the increase holding lest than 5 acres is 47.5% of the total farms.

d) Costly inputs and low price of output affect their income. e) Higher post harvest losses. Cultural practices call for improvement and more proactive extension out reach.

e) System of research and development warrants revamping and closer focus for an effective linkage with the farm activity.

FUTURE STRATEGY:
Agricultural strategy is designed to focus on sustainable food security, higher productivity, import subsidy income diversification and export orientation. A growth rate of 5% in the crop sector and 4.6% in the livestock and fisheries sector is projected for 2004-05.

The main focus to increase productivity of crop is on:

a) Timely sowing with proper technique;

b) Quality seed and optimal plan pipeline level;

c) Judicious and efficient use of inputs;

d) Effective pest management;

e) Market incentives and favourable prices;

f) Larger space for the private sector.

INPUTS IN GENERAL:

-- Raising productivity and profitability level in the farming sector.

-- Input availability on time through a cost effective mechanism across the board with a special emphasis on the small farmer.

-- A system of inventory management would be placed both at the federal and the provincial levels to closely watch the supply line and quality of critical inputs for each cropping season. This should cover seed, fertiliser, pesticides, water and credit etc.

CREDIT:
-- Major steps are needed in the credit regime. The share of formal channels lending the farm sector is through on the increase needs to be doubled over a period.

-- Micro credit network needs rapid expansion.

-- The share of Bank credit to be increased from Rs 65 billion to Rs 100 billion within two years.

-- Value of land as a collateral for loaning to be up-scaled by at-least 100% last time it was fixed at Rs 400 for produce index unit in 1989. The prices of inputs have risen manifold. This measure will provide more space to the farmers to acquire more loans on the basis of the same collateral.

-- Special focus to target subsistence and farmers moving less than 5 acres of land.

-- Rate of interest for agriculture and micro financing should be gradually brought down. A beginning may be made.

-- Recovery of loan should not be pressed at the harvest time.

-- Liberal credit needs to be funnelled to the livestock sector through social collateral's.

WATER REGIME:
-- Pakistan is passing through a water stress regime, impacting heavily on its production system. Effective conservation strategies need to be put in place by improving efficiency of water usage. Some useful interventions are already in place.

Strategy for agriculture sector by on Looker-- Mega project of 86,000 water courses, lining and revamping will help improve water use efficiency and reduce losses substantially.

-- Execution of this project would require very close monitoring through latest managerial techniques and devices like the global positioning system and project management units. The concept needs skill-full execution.

-- There is a need to harness water resources outside the Indus System. For the alleviation of poverty in dry areas; hill torrent water needs to be conserved, diversions and building of small catchments areas and a distribution system can help irrigate upto two million hectares through the Rodh Kohis.

This will also help grow livestock in the range land. It is estimated to save 50% of 16MAF water available through this source. It is conceived over seven years at an estimated cost of over Rs 43 billion. The project is at a preparatory stage and requires full support.

-- Use of modern methods will be highly encouraged by lending extension support, improving linkages for adopting techniques of drip, trickle and sprinkle irrigation.

SEED:
Certified seeds available in the country about 14% in wheat, 60% in cotton 15.5 in paddy and 15% in maize. The seed renewable target where as is fix 20% for wheat and paddy 100% for cotton.

Strategy for agriculture sector by on Looker-- Seed is the key determinant of production system.

-- Closer focus on research and development with a view to diversify varietal base, produce disease resistant, high quality certified seed.

-- The research out fits to be restructured to give more financial and administrative space.

QUALITY CONTROL:
-- Quality control mechanism to be made more effective by upgrading laboratory facilities, improving legal framework making, quarantine regime more effective.

-- These measures are not only in line with the WTO regime but will also encourage the process of value addition with regard to the agricultural produce.

FERTILIZER:
-- There is a need for expansion in manufacturing capacity of fertiliser.

-- The urea capacity is 4.3 million tones which has reached the saturation point.

-- The prices of DAP needs rationalisation as the farmers tend to avoid its use in view of very high price.

-- The GST on fertiliser needs to be withdrawn/reduced.

PESTICIDES:
-- There is a need for a very proactive pest management campaign with a view to educate the farmers.

-- The Provincial and District Governments should be vigilant against spurious and fake pesticides.

-- Fully equipped analytical laboratory will be established / upgraded at Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta to ensure quality control of exportable.

-- Pest scouting should be reinforced.

INCENTIVES:
-- Prices of all other inputs like fertiliser, pesticides, seeds, farm machinery needs rationalisation by bringing down / eliminating duties revisiting the sales tax with a view to give visible relief to the farming community.

-- These incentives will also work as fillip to improve yield and productivity levels.

-- Mechanisation should be encouraged through an incentive on the import of farm machinery.

-- Tractor lease financing should be launched at the earliest at 20% to 25% up front payment.

FARM MECHANISATION:
-- Pakistan's tractors manufacturing capacity is within 35HP to 85HP. The current production level is 35,000 tractors per year which far below the requirements. The tractors generation needs a review with a view to encourage new investors.

-- Import of small tractors below 35 HP with implements in CBU/CKD may be encouraged for the small farmers at low duty along-with high efficiency irrigation equipment's as sprinkler / drip / trickle system.


CROP SECTOR:

CEREAL:
-- Pakistan's production of cereal crop is round 25 million tonnes with emphasis on wheat, rice, and to a certain degree on maize.

-- High growth rate of population creates additional demand of 0.4 million tonnes of wheat each year.

-- Rice is another important food crop in which country is surplus by 2.5 million tones. It is a source of foreign exchange earning.

-- Need for varietal development and adoption of hybrid technology.

-- For mechanical transportation to raise plant density from .06 million to .1 million.


SUGARCANE:
-- Sugarcane crop is a high water requirement delta crop, at a level of 15 million acre feet. It is not a competitive product.

-- As the price of domestic sugar is higher than international price there is a need value addition, generation of electricity by sugar mills, providing incentive for installation of slicing capacity for sugar beet processing.

-- Linking prices to recovery of sugarcane.

-- Timely payment to growers.


COTTON:
-- Cotton is the backbone of the agriculture system. From procurement of certified seed to the delineating process, critical interventions are required.

-- We need to up-scale the yield and also to ensure standardised graded cotton for a ready access for export.

-- Special focus be made on setting up foundation seed cells in the country. Private sector to be fully encouraged to participate in this endeavour. Strict regime will be enforced to control and check the pre release of unapproved varieties in the market.

-- Pest management at all levels during the season will be closely monitored with a contingent plan in hand.

-- Favourable support price as a stabilising measure with favourable market environment will be ensured for a good return to the grower.

-- Cotton standards will be effectively enforced labs are being revamped for proper grading and making product competitive.

-- The role of private sector will be fully encouraged .

-- Bio-safety guidelines are under deliberations with a view to encourage biogenetic techniques in accordance with our ecology.

-- Plant breeder's right Act will also work as an incentive for the private sector to supplement the governments role in producing quality certified feed.

OIL SEED:

-- It is the largest import item (over $ 800 million of foreign exchange) after petroleum (meeting 71% requirement). There is need to accelerate import substitution.

-- There has been a headway in the domestic production in the production of sunflower, canola and rapeseed mustard.

-- Strategy for the future hinges on technology transfer, developing linkages between the solvent industry, seed companies and the farmers. Introducing contract farming, facilitating quality seed introducing new crops such as oil palm cultivation coastal areas of Sindh, Balochistan and olive cultivation in NWFP and Pothohar.

-- There is a close focus on the production of sunflower and canola in Punjab and Sindh.


LIVESTOCK:
-- Livestock sector has a very rich potential. It consists of 9.3% of the GDP. Its growth can help alleviate poverty in an effective manner.

-- This sector requires per unit productivity increase through better feed, proper disease control cover genetic up-gradation, improved marketing network and liberal credit line to the farmers.

-- Programmes of artificial insemination needs further expansion by introducing healthy progenies for producing healthy animals for meat and mutton.

-- In this sector around 40% margin is appropriated by the middleman steps need to be taken to have efficient marketing system to stabilise the price and ensure good return to the farmers

-- Private sector has moved in the wheat trade through a liberal credit regime. The role will be encouraged but speculative trading needs to be guarded against the role of the private sector.


FISHERIES:
-- An important economic activity along the coast line with export from its products ranging around Rs 8 billion per annum, great potential for harvesting.

Strategy for agriculture sector by on Looker-- Deep sea fishing policy is in place.

-- Focus is on quality fish catch, through on board handling, proper transportation, training in improved practices.

-- Fish farming being promoted through aquaculture about 40,000 hectares area is already under it.

-- Need for assured credit line to promote this sub sector; more efforts needed to promote value addition, improve marketing, strengthen linkages with the private sectors and prospective investors.


FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:
-- Special efforts will be, made in collaboration with the Provincial Governments for increasing area and productivity under export quality fruits and vegetables.


AGRICULTURAL EXPORT:
-- Quality -standard for various produces need to be implemented faithfully.

-- A shift is to be made from wooden crates to corrugated carton.

-- Animal and plant quarantine facilities to be upgraded.

-- Liberal incentive to industries involved in vaccine, grading and packing of fruits and vegetables


POST HARVEST LOSSES:
-- Post harvest losses range from 30% to 40% in fruits and vegetables.

-- Preserving the quality of fresh produce and processing the samples will ensure better incentive to the growers.

-- The R&D infrastructure will be strengthened in this regard with a focus on standardised harvesting and storage techniques.

-- Cost effective, energy efficient mechanical set up for dehydration of fruits and vegetables is being developed.

-- Formulation and storage technology for milk and milk products will be focused upon.

-- Private sector may be encouraged to put up vapour heat treatment plants to meet the international standards.

-- Laboratories may be upgraded to meet for the necessary quarantine requirement.

-- Close nexus should developed between the research institutes and the expert farmer with a view to improve the quality of the product.

-- National Data Base and information on crops is the need for the future. This will be an area of close attention.

-- Institutions including the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Pakistan Central Cotton Committee are to be revamped to tune them to the upcoming challenges.

-- Legal frameworks are being upgraded and improved to cater for the emergent needs.
 

Courtesy : Business Recorder

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