Pakistan: Agriculture is the most ignored sector of the economy

June 19, 2007 | By | Reply More

pakistan_agriculture.jpgLAHORE: A complete transformation of the economy has hit hard the agriculture sector, which has suffered badly due to lack of interest by the government in developing the sector in accordance with the modern techniques.The latest Economic Survey reveals that the share of agriculture has reduced to 20.9 percent from the earlier 24 percent and experts fear further decline in case no tangible effort is made to develop this sector on modern lines.

Interestingly, Pakistan’s economy is growing at a rate of 7 percent annually over the last few years and agriculture, its mainstay, is losing its share as a percentage of GDP resulting in a supply shortage of food items to the public. The federal government had allocated Rs 18 billion for the sector in 2006-07 and it spent Rs 10 billion. The remaining Rs 8 billion, said experts, has again been clubbed with another Rs10 billion to re-allocate Rs 18 billion for the current fiscal year.

In Punjab, the government allocated over one billion rupees in the fiscal year 2006-07 and increased it to Rs 2.8 billion in fiscal year 2007-08 but if one compares it with the allocation for education of over Rs 21 billion, allocation for agriculture seems a paltry sum. While most of the youngsters leave their education unfinished as soon as they are able to share the burden of cultivation in the rural economy. Therefore, heavy spending on education, according to some agriculture experts, would go unnoticed and the government would not only lose heavily in the education sector but it would also end up with a deteriorating agriculture sector.

“I strongly believe that even an allocation of Rs 2.8 billion for agriculture would not be spent properly, as agriculture is not on the top of government’s priority list,” said Ibrahimkernal_rice.jpg Mughal, Chairman Agri Forum Pakistan.

He also lambasted the federal policy makers for not extending required attention to the sector.

“They are actually interested in eliminating the sector, as imports suit them,” he said.

According to him, the economic managers of the government are giving all credit to the services sector in the national economy without realising that growth of the financial sector was dependent on the loans extended to industries related to the agriculture sector like textile, sugar and flour mills.

Dr Salman Shah, in a recent interaction with the media, pointed out that the government has injected billions of rupees in the rural economy by announcing lucrative support prices for crops like wheat and sugarcane. However, he was not able to satisfy reporters when he was asked what the government had done so far to modernise the agriculture sector.

According to some economists, the policy of announcing support prices has made the agriculture sector inefficient, as farmers have not given attention to enhancing crops’ per acre yield or improving the quality of crops. Instead, priority was given to those crops where they were getting high premium due to government’s intervention. As a matter of fact, the strategy of support prices has not only made agriculture sector inefficient but has also made the related industries sick on one hand and on the other hand, has made the consumers pay high price for food items.

Though, Dr Salman Shah does not admit that the development of agriculture sector on modern lines has been ignored over the last five years but policymakers in Punjab do admit the fact. According to them, the current fiscal year is the ‘year of agricultural reforms’ and further capacity to absorb would be created throughout the year.

Written By Hamid Waleed


Category: Knowledge for Development

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  1. that’s why it will never wor. Karolyn Leanne.

  2. raju balami says:

    Dear visiter

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    Bast Regards
    Raju Balami

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