Need to improve Agri Yields
yield per acre of gram has dropped by 50 percent: from 5
maunds per acre to 2.5 maunds per acre, according to Ibrahim
Mughal Chairman of the Agri-Forum Pakistan.
This statistic would
surprise no one in the wake of a 2011 United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 2011 report.
That revealed that
Pakistan was behind regional as well as global yields per
acreage for nearly all crops including wheat, rice,
sugarcane and pulses.
The report added that
while Pakistan is one of the ten major producers of wheat in
the world, around 24 million tons, with 24.5 to 25 million
tons of total output projected in the current year.
Yet our per acre yield is
only 2.6 tons per hectare while India's yield is 2.8 tons
and China's 4.7 tons per hectare.
The highest wheat yield is in
the UK at 7.7 tons per hectare; however, its cycle is spread
over one year against five months in Pakistan. Wheat exports
have varied - from 52.7 million rupees in July-April 2012-13
to 112.7 million rupees in 2011-12.
Rice yield in Pakistan was
calculated at 3.1 tons per hectare with a total output of
around 9 million tons making Pakistan one of the ten largest
producers of the crop world-wide.
Rice exports have accounted
for as high as 11 percent of our total exports accounting
for almost 1.7 billion rupees in 2011-12. In contrast,
India's yield per hectare is 3.3, Bangladesh's 4.2 and Sri
Lanka's 4.1. China has the highest yield - 6.5 tons per
Pakistan's sugarcane yield
per hectare is 52.4 tons, in comparison to India's 66.1 tons
which is the regional leader followed by China's 65.7 tons
per hectare and Bangladesh's 43.8 tons per hectare. Brazil
is the world leader at 79.2 tons per hectare.
In coarse grains, Pakistan's
yield is 2.2 tons per hectare, India's is lower at 1.2 tons
per hectare and Italy has the highest yield at 7.6 tons per
Pakistan's yield for pulses
is 0.6 tons per hectare, India's per hectare yield is 0.7
tons, Bangladesh's 0.9 tons per hectare and the highest
yield in pulses is in the UK at 3.9 tons per hectare.
Pakistan, however, has the
highest per acre yield of 21.6 tons per hectare in roots and
tuber production, India's yield is 20.6 tons per hectare,
China's 17.8, and Bangladesh 17.7.
However, Pakistan is far
behind the US registering where per hectare is 42.1 tons.
The FAO report highlighted
the reasons for the low yield in Pakistan in comparison to
regional countries as well as globally: water shortage,
absence of high yield varieties of seeds and lack of
research and development.
However, in this context it
is relevant to note that FAO's data takes account of the
national average while the yield per hectare of different
crops varies from province to province.
Punjab remains the food
basket of the country and its yield is on average higher
than the national average.
provinces yield varies markedly between subsistence farms
and those operated by the rich landlords whose yield per
acreage is closer to the regional average.
Be that as it may, it is also relevant to note that the
Indian Punjab has a higher yield per hectare in most crops
relative to the Pakistani Punjab.
What is perhaps required is
for the provincial governments, given that agriculture is a
provincial subject, take cognisance of their farm sectors
and initiate appropriate measures based on studies in high
yield countries on how to increase yield.
Assistance in this regard can
be sought from China, the US and the UK as well as Brazil
the world leaders in yields in specific crops.