Agri sector suffered Rs 219b loss in 2012
Pakistan Agri Forum Chairman Ibrahim Mughal is of the view that failure in achieving the production targets of major and small crops led to this huge loss to the national economy. “It (loss) would bring food insecurity, further unemployment and threaten already deteriorating law and order situation in the country,” he said while talking to reporters here on Thursday.
The data revealed that Pakistan produces food crops of worth Rs1050 billion per annum including wheat, rice, barley, maize and others. Sugarcane, cotton and tobacco, which are considered cash crops, share Rs 750 billion per year to the country’s economy. Similarly, pulses worth is Rs50 billion per annum, oilseed crops Rs90 billion, vegetables Rs103 billion, fruits Rs213 billion, milk Rs1104 billion, beef Rs513 billion, mutton Rs338 billion, poultry Rs 126 billion and eggs worth of Rs131 billion. The agriculture sector performance during year 2012 showed total production of agriculture and livestock sectors is Rs4469 billion which contributed 22.34 per cent to the national GDP.
According to figures provided, Ibrahim said, wheat fell short of its target of 25 million tons by 1.5 million tons in 2012, rice production remained 6.1 million tons against the target of 6.5 million tons while cotton’s target was stagnant at 15 million bales since last eleven years. In 2012, the country produced only 13.6 million bales and country had to import 1.4 million bales to meet the textile industry needs.
About minor crops, he said gram pulse, which is considered meat for poor masses, had lowest ever per acre yield during this year and irony was that present agriculture minister of Punjab province hails from the same area where this crop is cultivated. He said that per acre yield of gram in 1948 was six maunds per acre when there were no research facilities like today’s but in year 2012 it remained 2.2 maunds per acre. He said that four districts of Punjab including Layyah, Bhakkar, Mianwali and Khushab suffered Rs 22 billion loss during 2012 due to decline in gram production. He regretted that this sector which ensures food security, provides raw material for 73 per cent of the national exports and livelihood to 65 per cent of the population living in rural areas, is being neglected.
Punjab was worst-hit as it suffered Rs 40 billion loss due to decline in wheat production, Rs 17 billion in rice, Rs 39 billion in cotton and Rs 22 billion in gram crop due to production decline. In total, province suffered Rs 118 billion loss due to decline in these four crops. He said that livestock sector always registered a growth of 3.2 per cent per annum but this year it remained 1.3 per cent, milk could register only 1.43 per cent increase, which is not sufficient to meet the requirements of ever-increasing population.
“Country failed to achieve the required growth in mutton and beef sector. Though poultry sector achieved slight growth but it was not enough.”