July 28, 2012: Agriculture is the mainstay of our country’s economy. According to Pakistan Economic Survey 2011-12, the agriculture sector is critical for growth, exports, incomes and food security, and for industrialisation. It is the second largest sector of economy and contributes about 21 percent to the GDP, generates productive employment opportunities for 45 percent of the country’s labour force while 60 percent of the rural population depend directly or indirectly on this sector for their livelihood. According to the Survey, Pakistan’s agriculture grew by 3.1 percent against the targeted 3.4 percent. Major crops accounted for 31.9 percent of the agricultural value-added and experienced a growth of 3.2 percent in the fiscal year 2011-12.
Agriculture is continuously witnessing a downward trend as it has registered an overall decline of 10 percent in several major and minor crops during the last three years. Reasons for the decline have been floods in the country during 2010 and heavy rains in Sindh during 2011. Also, lack of research, insufficient funds allocation and lack of encouragement for domestic varieties are among the few major impediments in the development of agriculture. Climate change is becoming a threat for the country. Also, increasing population and decreasing resources may pose a threat for our future generations. Therefore, farmers should implement their knowledge and improve food security through sustainable agriculture. Promotion of sustainable agriculture will not only save environment, but also boost farmers’ incomes.