The Agriculture sector uninterrupted engages in game of Pakistanis financial system since independence. In the early time, it considered a dominant sector however because of the declining its performance because of the political, social, environmental and local weather stipulations its production yield goes down step by step and now it is the second greatest sector in Pakistan.
It accounting for over 21 % of GDP, 45 percent of total labor force engaged with this sector. Around 63 percent of country population are living in rural spaces is not directly or without delay related with this sector for their livelihood. Agriculture sector have Strong linkage with the rest of the financial system this is ignored in statistics.
While on the Other hand, it’s the primary supplier of raw fabrics to downstream industry, that contributing considerably to Pakistan’s export; it’s the largest marketplace for commercial manufactured goods equivalent to insecticides, fertilizers, tractors and agriculture equipment’s.
Predictor variable contains 5 sub-sectors come with Major, Minor vegetation, livestock’s, fisheries and forestry. Major crops include cotton, rice, wheat and sugarcane and many others. and give a contribution 6.5% solely to the GDP. Cotton is the principle non-food crop this is used as a uncooked material for the textile industry. Pakistan is the fourth biggest producer of cotton.
Rice and Wheat are the
most important meals crop out of which rice may be one of the crucial primary
export pieces of the rustic. Sugarcane is another important crop grown for
sugar and sugar related products. Minor vegetation include oil seeds, greens,
pulses, chilies and other small crops. Oil seed plants include cottonseeds,
rapeseed/mustard, sunflower and canola and so forth.
Role of Agriculture in Economic
Agriculture have great
role in economic construction and prosperity. Following are some essential
contributions of agriculture as;
Contribution to National Income
Source of Food Supply
Pre-Requisite for Raw Material
Provision of Surplus
Shift of Manpower:
Creation of Infrastructure:
Relief from Shortage of Capital:
Helpful to Reduce Inequality
Based on Democratic Notions
Create Effective Demand
Helpful in Phasing out Economic
Source of Foreign Exchange for the
Contribution to Capital Formation:
Employment Opportunities for Rural
Extension of Market for Industrial
Role of Agriculture in GDP of Pakistan
Current GDP of Pakistan
is 305 billion. Contribution of main crops in agriculture sector is about to be
25.6 % and contribution of major crops in GDP is sort of 5.four% in keeping
with the economic survey of Pakistan. Wheat contributes approximately 10.3% in
agriculture. Sugarcane is also a cash crop and food crop.
for 18.9 % of GDP and employed bulk of the full paintings power. Agriculture
sector recorded a expansion of 3.46 percent in FY 2017 as compared to the
expansion of zero.27 percent last 12 months. The vegetation sub sector contains
of 37.22 p.c of agriculture sector and is the elemental motive force of
enlargement of the agriculture sector as well as GDP.
Problems in Agriculture of Pakistan
Agriculture is the
backbone of Pakistan’s economic and going through a cyclones of troubles in
The fresh extraordinary building up in international meals
and commodity costs has focussed attention, both home and world, on how perfect
to cope with the immediate have an effect on of those increases at the poor and
the inclined households who spend just about four-fifth in their incomes on
food. Indeed, FAO (2008) estimated that in 2007 globally around 75 million
people joined the number of hungry because of the build up in meals costs.
Several subsequent studies have strengthened the findings that millions of people have develop into food insecure and being driven into poverty across the globe because of increases in food grain costs (IFPRI et.al. (2009), DFID(2009), UN (2008) and Ivanic and Martin (2008a). Studies on Pakistan have also drawn the same conclusion (Chaudhry and Chaudhry (2008). While the fast center of attention of attention has rightly been on cushioning this have an effect on on poverty and hunger, the agriculture sector as a whole is now being tested in its entirety now not best on how absolute best it may well ensure that meals safety and fight starvation but additionally its function in economic development in a globalized economic system.
For if this build up in food and commodity costs indicators an earthly alternate in the global phrases of business in favour of agriculture, and there is explanation why to believe that is so given the worldwide upward shift in demand for meals grains, then the agriculture sector can turn out to be the foremost engine of monetary growth and construction particularly for growing international locations like Pakistan. Also the normal argument that expanding economies of scale are discovered simplest in trade because innovation and technical trade drives productivity growth basically in this sector, is also no longer increasingly more true.
Agriculture may be witnessing massive and sustained will increase in productivity because of the advent of hybrid seeds, new forms of cultivation and other technical and scientific advancements. In Pakistan the new democratic government is giving the best possible precedence to developing agriculture as well as assigning it a leading position in the development technique being formulated for the impending 10 th Five Year Plan (2010-15). This Note identifies a few of these crucial challenges that coverage makers face in assigning agriculture this main position in addition to examines how carried out economic analysis and studying from different countries reports can lend a hand provide steerage to probably the most solutions that the coverage makers desperately search.
KEY ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
Agriculture Pricing : Should the Government be within the business of administering costs? Neo-classical (now neo-liberal) economics is relatively transparent that prices of agricultural commodities must be made up our minds by means of market forces and no restrictions should be positioned on their motion both within the domestic marketplace as well as on their exports and imports. Such a unfastened market regime would make certain that prices closely mirror world prices and result within the optimum utilisation of sources. Reality, then again, could be very other.
In Pakistan in its youth after independence in 1947 the
process of industrialisation (or “primitive accumulation of capital”) used to
be financed not directly through an import-substitution and pricing regime
which modified the phrases of trade in favour of manufacturing and towards the
agriculture sector (Amjad,1982). This resulted in rapid industrialisation and a
rustic with hardly any industries at independence saw by the tip of the 1950s
the emergence of a significant client excellent commercial base. Even despite
the fact that in subsequent decades the location faced by means of the
agriculture sector quite advanced as the economy spread out and value controls
had been gradually diminished together with the abolition of the meals
rationing machine within the 1980s, agricultural prices remained on average
lower than 30 consistent with cent of world prices.
A Contemporary study (Salam, 2009) has calculated that
because of price controls and business restrictions the resulting distortions
resulted in an annual reduction in earnings of the major plants by means of
virtually $1.7 billion on average throughout 2001-08 (see Table 1 and a pair
of). This can be almost 15-20 according to cent of the price of those major
Table 1: Average Annual Transfers from Selected Crops
$ / metric ton
Source: Salam, Abdul (2009).
Table 2: Annual Resource Transfers
from Selected Crops ($ million)
Source: Salam, Abdul(2009).
Fixing Price of Wheat 2008-10 Wheat is the staple meals of the folks of Pakistan and accounts for just about 40 in keeping with cent of value added within the crop sector. In a decisive transfer the brand new democratic executive that took over in March 2008 decided to boost procurement prices2 of wheat for the incoming wheat harvest in Spring 2008 at Rs. 625 according to maund3 from the cost of Rs.425 in line with maund fixed via the last government to make sure higher returns to farmers. This was once additionally in part a response to the fiasco that had resulted from the insurance policies followed by the last executive which had fastened the cost well under international costs for the Spring 2007 wheat crop. Believing it had a bumper crop the then govt had first allowed the export of wheat, however since it had fastened the cost of wheat smartly below global prices a big a part of the wheat crop was once smuggled into neighbouring international locations leading to acute shortages.
The government ultimately used to be compelled to import wheat
at much upper costs than it had exported. In solving the upper value of wheat
for the Spring 2009 crop the government relied amongst others on the
suggestions of a Task Force of eminent mavens that recommended fixing prices as
close to as international costs and saying them well earlier than the wheat
sowing season.4 A wheat worth of Rs. 950 introduced by way of the government in
September 2008 was once almost 52 % higher than its earlier worth. This ended
in a bumper crop, as farmers shifted land to wheat manufacturing as well as
used extra inputs, forcing the government to buy huge quantities of wheat to
care for costs it had fixed.
This ended in a big
building up in executive reserves for which it had neither the godowns to
retailer nor had allocated sufficient price range to pay for their storage.
Also prices in neighbouring countries were decrease so no wheat was smuggled
out. Also international prices of wheat had begun to fall in order that the
government could simplest export wheat at a loss which it was once now not
prepared to do. In announcing the upper worth of wheat for Spring 2009 crop in
line with world costs although welcomed through the farmers ended in different
issues. First and important it adversely affected the poor in urban spaces and
the landless labour and really small farmers (who do not grow sufficient to
meet their wishes) in rural areas.
It also fuelled inflation within the economic system that was
then working at over 25 in line with cent. The govt in part tried to offset
this through providing direct income improve to poor households in both city
and rural spaces (of Rs 1000 in line with family in keeping with month via the
Benazir Income Support Programme).
Announcing the price of
wheat for the Spring 2010 crop once more posed a predicament to the federal
government as international wheat costs had fallen to nearer Rs. 700 per maund.
However, the government may just no longer cut back the price it had mounted
earlier and determined to care for wheat costs at Rs. 950 in step with maund
much to the discontentment of the farmer lobby.
This review of
government interference in solving the price of wheat lately to bring them
consistent with global prices in addition to ensuring better returns to farmers
is an representation of the challenges a govt can face when it intervenes in
agricultural markets. The new government has also fixed minimal prices of rice
in the closing two years with limited procurement goals and confronted
In a comparable transfer the Supreme Court of
Pakistan upheld an order of the High Court that fixed sugar costs at Rs. 40 in
step with kilogram (Kg) which was smartly below the prevailing global value.
The outcome was once that sugar disappeared from the marketplace and was once
available in restricted quantities at nearer Rs. 60-70 in line with Kg even if
the government bought its sugar stocks thru Public Utility Stores at Rs. 40
consistent with Kg. Once the Supreme Court order receded sugar is now available
in the market at around Rs. 70/- in step with Kg.
Some of the important
thing questions that rise up from the Pakistan’s enjoy may also be posed as
Should the govt interfere in agriculture
markets or go away them completely to marketplace forces?
If it does intervene what must be the
root on which costs will have to be fixed?
If it does fix costs with regards to
global costs how should it take care of problems coming up from large fluctuations
in international costs?
How do you reconcile incentives to
farmers thru higher prices with reasonably priced coverage to the deficient and
susceptible households who spend round 80 in step with cent of their earning on
If farmers are paid world costs for
their merchandise should they not also pay income tax (from which they’re these
days exempted in Pakistan) as do different source of revenue earners in the
country? How is that this executed in different nations?
What are the possibilities of opening up
trade in meals grains in South Asia and the revel in thus far together with the
putting in of a Food Security Bank?
Research and Sharing of Country Experiences
The problems outlined
had been much researched but within the present international milieu there may
be need for severe re-assessment. At a minimum analysis can lend a hand
coverage makers realise the prices and benefits of the selections they take.
Also how different developing nations are selecting those issues would assist
policy makers learn from each and every others studies. The downside this
present day is that the IFI’s, namely the World Bank and in Asia the ADB, have
very inflexible perspectives on these issues (i.e. leave it totally to market
forces and not using a industry restrictions) which can be for most developing
countries neither politically possible nor essentially economically the best.
Also fairness issues don’t lend themselves to easy solutions when such policy
regimes are followed. The seek will have to center of attention on second
absolute best answers which come as shut as imaginable to ensuring efficient
results in addition to meeting needs of the deficient and inclined.
Reducing Rural Poverty: Empowering the Poor
While there remains
substantial debate on ranges and trends in poverty in Pakistan especially
post-2001 where legitimate estimates recommend a vital decline to round 22
according to cent in 2005-06 as compared to nearer 35 in step with cent in
2001-02, there is no disputing the stark finding that poverty in rural spaces
is far upper as compared to city areas. Rural poverty used to be estimated in
2005-06 at 27 consistent with cent which is nearly double that of urban poverty
at 13.1 in step with cent (Pakistan Economic Survey, 2008-09). Also there is
proof to signify that poverty is upper amongst females as compared to males.
Estimates for 2007-08 which have no longer been formally recognized suggest
that poverty levels could have further decreased to round 17 in keeping with
cent total which appear to be rather counterintuitive given a significant
slowing down in the economy in that yr and with inflation being at 12 in
keeping with cent.
financial system is characterised by means of an extremely skewed ownership of
productive property, in particular land and water. There are a lot of small,
resource deficient and subsistence farmers (86 per cent of 6.6 million farm
families) who own lower than 50 consistent with cent of the land and water
resources and a small collection of massive farmers (14 in line with cent of
the total) proudly owning more than 50 in line with cent of the assets. About a
third of the agricultural labour power is composed of landless labour which
along with very small farmers (2 hectares or less), especially tenant farmers
tend to be the poorest in the country. (see Annex Table I and II).
The problem is to plan
insurance policies which make agriculture more equitable for small farmers and
This is again a far
researched house but there are two primary initiatives by the newly elected
democratic executive on which sharing of country experiences could be
specifically helpful. These relate to distributing state lands among the
landless and the second is poverty alleviation via small holders farm animals
and diary construction.
Distributing State Land Among the Landless and Small Tenant Farmers
There is a rising body
of research in Pakistan (drawing at the New Institutional Economics) that
argues that a main factor hindering economic development is the limited get
right of entry to nature of its underlying social order.6
This college argues
that poverty in Pakistan is not merely the result of adverse resource
endowments but since the poor are locked “into a nexus of power which deprives
the poor of their actual and potential income.”7 This energy construction which
contains state establishments and native robust elite discriminates in
opposition to the deficient in gaining get admission to over productive
belongings, finance, public services and governance selections which makes it
virtually unimaginable for them to wreck out of poverty.
For them to break out
of poverty requires first providing access to land for the landless labour in
addition to tenant families to shop for land and then offering them through
establishments over which they’ve regulate key inputs such as credit, seed,
fertilizer, water extension services and get right of entry to to markets.
In Pakistan’s case it’s
endorsed shifting the estimated 2.6 million acres of state land to the landless
at the side of the availability of credit score to tenant farmers to enable
them to buy land. This would make a significant dent on bettering prerequisites
of landless and tenant farmers.
Pakistan has experience
of distributing state land to retiring senior government functionaries each
civilian and armed forces. However most effective in recent years has this
transfer been made as an immediate intervention for lowering poverty.
The Punjab executive in
recent years dispensed over 1 million acres to landless labour in the province
in holdings of 12.5 acres below plenty of schemes and equipped necessary inputs
to those farmers to ensure just right returns from the land. While no detailed
find out about on these schemes had been revealed the overall impression has
been that they’ve been successful on the subject of vital improvements in
living standards and human development indicators of households who gained
possession rights to this land.
More lately the brand
new democratic provincial govt in Sind has additionally put in place a scheme
to distribute state land to poor girls (under the Benazir Behan Basti
Programme) who are receiving direct source of revenue strengthen below the
Benazir Income Support Programme). No analysis has yet been finished of this
scheme which used to be introduced in 2009.
The creator is not
aware of any present or previous schemes that lend a hand tenant farmers in
getting access to lands they these days domesticate regardless that this
proposal is contained in the Approach Paper to the 10th Five Year Plan
(2010-15) (see Planning Commission, June 2009).
The problems related to
land distribution through land reforms or resettlement programmes in new lands
introduced beneath cultivation has been extensively analysed. However, there
are a number of key issues which want in-depth research from which policy makers
may just benefit together with via other country studies. These relate to:
Understanding the operating of rural
agriculture land markets and how such land may well be made accessible to the
poor landless and tenant farmers.
Successful enhance programmes for
offering key inputs to settle farm households who have been given land rights
and particularly the ones programmes in the operating of which they are at once
Programmes which distribute state land
to poor women for cultivation and housing.
Poverty Alleviation through Smallholders
Livestock and Dairy Development
Only when it dawned on
economic planners that livestock accounts for 52 in keeping with cent of
agriculture sector GDP (Pakistan is the fifth biggest milk producer in the
world) that critical consideration has been given to encourage its
construction. The non-public sector has, on the other hand, been energetic in
the putting in place of cool chains including international companies (eg.
Nestle) which gather milk from designated points in rural spaces and then
promote as packed milk in urban areas.
Again what is not
sufficiently recognized is that landless labour which account for nearly
one-third of agricultural households depend on livestock as crucial supply of
source of revenue, which provides an ordinary waft of money source of revenue
on day by day foundation and livestock conserving which is principally
completed through unpaid feminine household participants is the most important
for meeting their nutritional needs. Available proof also signifies that extent
of reliance of farm households on farm animals is inversely similar with farm
measurement. The Government in Pakistan thus sees small holder dairy
construction specifically for landless as providing considerable attainable for
Given acute scarcity of
available village land and top costs for land the landless to find it extremely
tough to find suitable area for their milch animals. Other constraints faced
via them come with insufficient diet, veterinary health and synthetic
insemination coverage. They also are exploited by “dhodies” (milk dealers) and
also via overseas firms who offer low milk prices to them. Given that land
isn’t available many landless labour stay their milch animals at “deras”
(enlarged residing quarters) of huge landowners and in return they have got to
work for them with little or no wages.
To alleviate poverty
amongst landless labour the government has therefore determined to release a
Smallholder’s Dairy Development Project which can assist them in increasing
milk productivity in addition to loose them from exploitation by means of
“dhodies” and large landowners. Important elements of the scheme include
provision of land and infrastructure for neighborhood farms, environment up of
farmer’s organizations, era/input fortify particularly provision of credit,
strengthen for improvement in health and breed of animals as well as fortify in
processing and advertising of milk.
enlargement and construction of the agriculture sector economists as well as
coverage makers have no longer given enough attention to the improvement of the
livestock sector which as now we have observed will also be an important method
of assuaging rural poverty. Policy makers may just be told from other countries
stories especially in devising focused programmes for small farmers and
landless cattle holders. Some of the problems that need investigation are:
Analysis of the
function of the farm animals sector in alleviating
poverty especially feminine poverty in rural spaces.
Analysis of native,
national and regional markets for milk and milk merchandise
and how livestock house owners especially small farmers and landless can tap
those markets and recover prices for the milk they promote.
as a method of offering economic enhance for deficient rural households
especially in assembly their dietary needs and the way those may be adversely
affected by more and more selling their milk for generating cash income.
Corporate Farming: Should it’s encouraged in labour surplus economies?
With a highly skewed
land distribution and labour pressure enlargement at close to three in keeping
with cent, amongst the highest on the earth, the problem of encouraging company
farming and extra not too long ago leasing out of huge tracts of land to overseas
companies or governments has grow to be a highly emotive issue in Pakistan.
The financial case for
not encouraging huge scale company farming in Pakistan has been basically in
accordance with the idea that this may result in an ejection of existing farmers
particularly tenant farmers and at the similar time scale back labour
agriculture. With job
era in the formal sector being very low these ejected farmers and landless
labour would simplest be absorbed in the city informal financial system which
already suffers from low productiveness, low incomes and extremely deficient
and unsafe operating stipulations.
The debate on corporate
farming has been intensified in recent months when with the new will increase
in food and commodity costs led many nations exploring probabilities of meeting
their meals grain needs by way of purchasing or leasing out of land in
neighbouring countries and thus ensuring food security for themselves . In
Pakistan such passion has been reputedly expressed by way of neighbouring
Middle-East international locations.
It is also claimed that
South Korea and India have leased land in African international locations for
the production of the so-called miracle crop Jatropha which has no longer quite
lived up to its expectations.
Issues associated with
corporate farming and even leasing out of enormous tracts of land to overseas
corporations or nations wishes some dispassionate analysis because the
solutions to those questions might well not be in black and white but be
conditional on land location, its bodily traits and local labour marketplace
prerequisites. If for instance Pakistan used to be to rent out semi-arid land
and those wishing to rent it are ready to make enough investment to make the
land cultivable then this would increase labour absorption and benefit the
local economy. Also the stipulations of the hire could be such that the land
would after some time revert to nationwide ownership. These prerequisites may
additionally include limits on the use of floor and underground water as well
as moving of generation and many others. Also in Pakistan some local massive
land house owners have long gone in for enormous scale company farming but
slightly than just eject those that had been already farming the land they have
got absorbed them in activities each farm and non-farm which they run.
Some of the problems
that subsequently want to be researched may just center of attention on:
– Advantages and disadvantages of huge
scale corporate farming and figuring out conditions below which it must be
encouraged or discouraged.
– Under what stipulations should
countries allow leasing of land to foreign companies or overseas governments
with out compromising on nationwide financial pastime and sovereignty.
elegance financial research on key agriculture (and business comparable) issues
Policy makers in
Pakistan are starved of data and analysis on key financial issues a few of that
have been highlighted in this be aware.
The Government is
therefore significantly taking into account putting in of an overly top high
quality research policy unit in the Ministry of Agriculture.
However, past revel in
suggests that such executive based totally analysis units are hardly ever a hit
and get mired in bureaucracy and fail to attract just right researchers even
though they are paid marketplace primarily based salaries.
Pakistan has a number
of Agriculure Universities and an excessively huge Pakistan Agriculture
Research Council but those our bodies are a lot higher at doing medical
research fairly than analysis on key economic problems.
This raises some
fundamental questions on how research should be organized that concentrates on
key economic issues equivalent to terms of business, agriculture pricing and
other such necessary issues. Currently advice on those issues is given through
the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank together with below programme
loans with conditionalities that their economic viewpoint on these issues is
strictly carried out.
Governments can learn
from each others studies in engaging in and drawing on coverage related
research in taking agriculture related decisions. Some key issues are:
– How very best can research
on key agriculture issues be organized which is each timely and related to
wishes of coverage makers?
– Should analysis be conducted in our
bodies working in government or must those be carried out in independent
analysis organizations and if the latter how should the govt make stronger the
surroundings up and expansion of such organizations.
– Role of global
organizations (eg. GDN) in providing strengthen to build up
of such analysis capability each on the nationwide level as well as via pooling
of worldwide knowledge.
Akmal Hussain, Institutions, Economic Structure and Poverty in Pakistan, South
Asia Economic Journal, Volume 5, Number 1, January-June
2004, SAGE Publications,
Akmal Hussain, An Institutional Framework for Inclusive Growth, 15 May 2009.
Amjad, Rashid (1982) Private Industrial Investment
in Pakistan 1960–70. Cambridge: South Asian Studies, Cambridge
Chaudhry and A. Chaudhry (2008)
“The Effects of Rising Food and Fuel Costs on
Poverty in Pakistan”, The
Lahore Journal of Economics,
Special Edition, 2008.
DFID (March 2009). Eliminating World
Conference on the
Future of International
Economic Wing, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL), Government of Pakistan. Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan (various
By M. Modassar Ali*, Abdullah Bin Masood*, Mujahid Ali** (*IFSN, UOS; **Horticulture, UOS)
Food security is defined as per the World Food Summit in 1996, Food security exists when all people, always, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs, and their food preferences are met for an active and healthy life. And the food Insecurity is defined as the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Food security is a major concern in the developing countries. It is a major issue in countries of Africa. Pakistan is country having a huge population confined to a limited area, and as per the census of 2016 the population of the republic was 193.2 million. There is a significant increase in population of Pakistan as comparing to the census of 1998 when it was about 132 million. The area of Pakistan is about 796098 Sq. Km. Comparing to its area, Pakistan has a vast resource in all terms. It is the blessing of nature on Pakistan. It has four seasons, a proper rainfall, readily available water throughout the year, a vast variety of fruits and vegetables readily available throughout the year, a highly fertile land and much more uncountable. Besides all the resources the state Pakistan must bear a burden of huge population. Food, Fiber and Shelter are the basic human necessities. At the time of its formation Pakistan hardly had any reliable resources. There were no proper water channels and water resources. Agriculture technology was at its dead levels. There was a poor formation of all the government institution and a list of problem to be solved. With the time being the country improved its resources and dealt with several problems. New dams were constructed under “Indus Water Treaty”. The government itself got stabilized. Agriculture sector was given a great attention especially in 1965-69. Food security, still, is one of the major problem in Pakistan but it would be true if we say that Food Security is the real problem of Pakistan. There are several areas of Pakistan where the problem of food is at its dead levels, these includes the desert of “Thar” and the areas of Sindh and Baluchistan. Natural Calamities, poor law and order, poor rate of literacy, poor organization of government departments, pollution and old technology of agriculture have led to a sharp decline in food security across the country. 21st century is the time when nations around the world are improving their Agriculture resources, technology and techniques. Their agricultural productivity is being multiplied by numbers. They are preventing disease prevalence by universal vaccination, solving the problem of environmental pollution and equipping the latest techniques and technology related to agriculture. They are managing a well-managed agricultural institutions and departments that have a key role in the development of the sector. Their farmer is educated and trained. Another addition in the food sector are GMO Foods. Developed countries are putting a great attention on GMO Foods. A lot of new and more reliable verities have been produced and work is going on for production of more. Pakistan have no national strategy and plan to counter the problems or for the improvement of the agricultural sector. Pakistan has no proper institution or councils to fix the agricultural problems. The government of Pakistan is seeking no attention for development of agricultural sector. With the massive population increase the country is leading towards the widespread famine and hunger. Food security is in fact, much more than just food production, distribution and consumption. Food is the top most priority of every living being since their inception. Food gives the energy to grow and maintain the body functions. There are certain agricultural technologies that have affected the aroma, taste and the culture of food. Use of Insecticide, pesticides, rodenticides and fertilizer have led to a couple of problems concerning food safety. Two more terms related to food security are Food safety and food sovereignty. Food Safety is related to the handling, preparation, processing, storage, and transportation in ways that prevent foodborne illness. Food can serve as a medium for the growth of microorganisms and hence can transmit diseases from person to person. The food can also get contaminated with external factor during its storage, processing, transportation and preparation. So, food safety should be a major concern while dealing food security. Food sovereignty is a broader term, it is much more complicated and is confined to a person’s choice. Food sovereignty is about the right of peoples to define their own food systems. The advocates, of food sovereignty, put the people who are related to productions, distribution and consumption of food at the center of decisions on food systems and policies, rather than the demands of local markets and local corporations that are believed to have dominated the global food system. So, the terms “Food Safety” and “Food Sovereignty” should always be associated when dealing with term “Food Security”. Food should be safe in terms of contamination (microbial, physical or Chemical), food should be safe by any means of adulteration, food should be in its pure form and it should be free from any harmful chemical fertilizers and insecticides or pesticides. The chemical fertilizers and insecticides/pesticides spoil the food, make it contaminated and then this food is not good for human consumption. Summing up, the food security is the major issue now in Pakistan. Serious attention must be given to the agriculture sector, a proper department should be formed, and check and balance must be taken. Institutions should be formed that have a concern for safety of food. So, integrated approaches, advanced technology, techniques and methods should be adopted for advancement of agriculture sector.
Trade between Pakistan and India should be promoted by protecting the rights of stakeholders particularly the growers. It was recommended by the roundtable conference titled “improving economic governance in agricultural sector through trade liberalisation between Pakistan and India” arranged at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. The recommendation was made by the UAF Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan while Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Pro Chancellor Syed Babar Ali, MNA and Parliamentary Secretary Rana Afzal, Farmers Association Pakistan President Tariq Bucha and other progressive farmers were present on the occasion. While informing the audience about recommendations, the Vice Chancellor suggested the identification of the seasonal window for the commodities. He quoted the examples of potato which has peak season in August and September in India and in Pakistan it has the peak season in October and November. The conference also recommended that trust deficit between the two countries needs to be bridged through dialogue. The strengthening of the domestic production market is also essential to tap the potential of the sector. The Vice Chancellor said India is the big market of around one billion of the people. He said the trade with the seasonal window would open up new chapter of progress. He also sought the policy interventions in this regard to flourish the sector in Pakistan. He said India is providing the highest subsidy on the electricity. Even in the Indian Punjab, the subsidy on tube wells is amounting to Rs 1trillion. Syed Babar Ali said we need to tap the potential in flourishing the agricultural sector by promoting the state-of-the-art technologies in the country. He said China has made tremendous work in the garlic. Our country can do the same. We have to get the benefit from others experience. He said 70 percent of the population is directly or indirectly linked to the agricultural sector that must be strengthened. He also suggested setting up entrepreneurship cell at the UAF in order to equip the youth with the skill and to transform the knowledge into goods and services. MNA Rana Afzal said the Government is making all-out efforts to strengthen the agricultural sector in the country. He said the recommendations to be made before the government. He said agriculture is the backbone of our economy, contributing 21 percent in the Gross Domestic Product. Tariq Bucha urged the government to take the tangible steps to address the issues of the farming community. He said at least ten percent of the budget must be allocated for the agricultural sector. He said in the process of trade policy formulation, the farmers must be taken on board. ORIC Director Professor Dr Asif Ali, Dr Abdul Ghafoor, Dr Waseem Ahmad, Dr Mubashair Mehdi, Director Ayub Agriculture Research Institute Dr Abid Mehmood, Aiwan-e-Zarat President Dr Sadique Naseem and others also attended the meeting.
Water shortage in Pakistan will increase to 31% of people’s needs by 2025 and this underlines the need for some tangible steps, including water usage charges and building of storages, to cope with the problem.
These were the views of speakers at a seminar arranged by the Department of Irrigation and Water Management Research Centre, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) in collaboration with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (Icarda) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to observe World Water Day here on Friday.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Country Representative Dr Mahmood Akhtar Cheema pointed out that India was constructing 11 big dams but Pakistan was still in a fix about building of dams and a breakthrough was yet to be made.
“Owing to climate changes, glaciers are melting. And in the absence of water conservation methods, we are experiencing heavy floods, leading to loss of many lives and damage to agriculture,” he said.
Per capita water availability at the time of creation of Pakistan was 5,600 cubic metres, but it currently stands at only 1,000 cubic metres, placing Pakistan among water-scarce countries. To tackle the situation, Cheema suggested that the government should apply reasonable water usage charges to discourage wastage of the resource.
Icarda Country Head Dr Abdul Majeed emphasised the importance of promoting water conservation techniques by sensitising people and taking fruitful measures. He said Icarda’s strategy combined continuity with change, addressing current problems while expanding focus to emerging challenges such as climate change and desertification.
South Asian Conservation Agriculture Network’s Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Gill was of the view that Pakistan was wasting two-third of its water by following traditional conservation methods and agricultural practices.
Citing examples, he said per capita water availability in the US was 6,000 cubic metres, in Australia 5,500 cubic metres and in China 2,200 cubic metres. In Pakistan, it is only 1,000 cubic metres, posing a threat to people’s lives.
He expressed concern that no authority was working for saving groundwater and suggested that off-channel water reservoirs should be set up to preserve flood water and prevent loss to life and property. “This (saved) water can be used later,” he stressed.
He said Punjab had around 1.3 million tube wells to pump out groundwater, which is bringing down the water level. Eighty per cent of the tube wells were being run on diesel, increasing the cost manifold and requiring application of alternative methods to face the situation, he suggested.
UAF Acting Vice Chancellor Dr Iqbal Zafar said water availability in 2025 would stand at around 100 million acre feet compared to the need of 135 MAF. He stressed the need for increasing water storage capacity to save people’s lives as water resources were shrinking and population was growing rapidly.
To meet the demand for water, he called for kicking off a comprehensive awareness drive to educate people about benefits of judicious consumption and consequences of wastage.
Professor Dr Allah Buksh was of the view that big dams like Kalabagh should be built to save water for coming generations and application of techniques of efficient use of water was the need of the hour to combat water scarcity.
The economy of Pakistan depends heavily on agriculture. Importance of this sector is manifold as it feeds people, provides raw material for industry and is the base of our foreign trade. Foreign exchange earned from merchandise exports is 45% of total exports of Pakistan. It contributes 26% of GDP and 52% of the total populace is getting its livelihood from it. 67.5% people are living in the rural areas of Pakistan and are directly involved in it. There are two main crops in Pakistan i.e. Rabi & Kharif. Main crops of Pakistan are wheat, rice, maize, cotton and sugar cane.
These major crops contributed 7.7% last year. Minor crops are canola, onions, mangoes and pulses which contributed 3.6% as there was no virus attack last year. Fishery and Forestry contributes 16.6% and 8.8% respectively. Though the agricultural sector is facing problems in Pakistan yet the major chunk of money comes from this sector. Let us shed some light on the problems of the agricultural sector of Pakistan of agricultural problems in Pakistan growth or development in Pakistan. One being no mechanism has been adopted to eradicate the soil erosion and even after harvesting nothing is done to restore the soil energy. Therefore, the fertility of soil is decreasing day by day. The thickness of fertile layer of soil in Pakistan is more than 6 inches but the average yield is lower than other countries where the layer of fertile soil is only 4 inches. Water in Pakistan’s rivers has gone down to perilously low levels. The reason for this is not just lack of rains. India is restricting water flow of rivers that originate from her and then flow into Pakistan, especially the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers that pass through Indian held Kashmir. Pakistan has raised objections to Indian water projects, but a World Bank-appointed and supposedly “neutral” expert rejected most of the Pakistani objections, while also advising India to make some changes to the dam’s height. Pakistani commentators, pressure groups and leaders are convinced that India is controlling the river waters to strangulate Pakistan’s agriculture, which would definitely affect Pakistani exports and increase its dependency on food imports. Despite being the fifth richest country in water resources , Pakistan is estimated to be losing 13 million cusecs [approximately 368,119 cubic meters/second] of water every year from its rivers into the sea, as it does not have enough reservoirs or dams to store water. The archaic method of flood irrigation is still in practice in whole of the country which wastes almost 50 to 60 percent of water. A new irrigation system called drip irrigation system has been introduced in many parts of the world. This not only saves water but also gives proper quantity of water according to the needs of plants. However, this system is yet to implemented in our country if we are to maximize our water utility. Furthermore, owing to traditional methods of cultivation and harvesting, Pakistan has low yield per acre that means the average crop in Pakistan is just 1/4th of that of advanced states. Where as Nepal, India and Bangladesh are using modern scientific methods to increase their yield per acre. For this purpose, these states are using modern machines to improve their yield. Also, the small farmers are increasing in our country as the lands are dividing generation by generation. So, there are large number of farmers who own only 4 acres of land. These small farmers do not get credit facilities to purchase seeds, pesticides, fertilizers etc. Additionally, a large portion of land is owned by feudal and the farmers who work on their lands, are just tenants. This uncertain situation of occupancy neither creates incentive of work hard nor attracts capital investment. On the other hand, water logging and salinity are increasing day by day. No effective measures have been taken to control it. The storage capacity of the dams is decreasing due to layers of mud accumulating at their basin so is the water availability per acre. Therefore, the farmers are installing more and more tube wells to irrigate their crops. This is why salinity is becoming a major issue in most parts of Punjab and Sindh. As the usual focus is more on land, crops and yield problems, the man behind the plough is always ignored. While formulating the 5 or 10 years plan, no emphasize has been laid on the importance of solving the problems of farmers. As most of the farmers are illiterate, poor and ignorant, even the loans issued by ADBP or other banks are used by them in other fields like repayment of debts, marriage of daughters etc, in spite of its befitting use in agricultural sector. Pakistan is rich in fertile land but this gift of good is being wasted. 79.6% million hectors of land is cultivated, where as only 20.43% million hectors is cultivated. There are two main reasons for that. 1. A major area is owned by feudals. It is difficult to manage such a huge area so only that part is cultivated which is easy to manage, the rest is left uncultivated. 2. The rise of industrialization has given threat to this sector. People are migrating to cities and cities are expanding, thus new towns and colonies are constructed on fertile lands.
Monopoly of Foreign Companies: Along with these issues, the monopoly of Foreign Big Wigs and false policies of government must not be ignored.The pesticides companies are sorting partnership with “World Bank”. These companies are selling adulterated and expensive pesticides to poor farmers thus leaving them helpless. These pesticides are not only hazardous for health but also filling the pockets of companies. By moving according to the world bank these companies are gaining their own aims. Moreover there is a conflict of interests. It is not ensured that either the company conducting the agreement is basically trying to get access to international market or just working according to their aims. Genetically Engineered Seeds: 91% of genetically engineered (GE) seeds are made and owned by one US Company called Monsanto. A vast majority of consumers around the world is against GE foods and crop as GE has been associated with health risks, loss of biodiversity, increased use of toxic weed killers and other environmental problems. 85% of GE crops are concentrated in just 3 countries i-e United States, Argentina and Canada. Globally G.E crops cover less than 1% of arable land. Farmers around the world have experienced problems with Monsanto’s BT cotton. Pakistan has asked Monsanto to provide cotton seeds which consume less water as Pakistan is facing a grave issue of water shortage. It is a notorious organization that took the farmers to courts many times as it did not give ownership right to farmers to preserve seeds. Even the seed of harvested crop cannot be used again for cultivation. Monopoly of Monsanto is clear when it is selling seed at RS 1700 per kg to Pakistan and RS 700 per kg to India . Non-comprehensive Policies of Pakistan: 18 billion in budget was allocated for agricultural sector of Pakistan but the withdrawal of subsidy on pesticides and electricity on the conditions of IMF has done considerable damage to this sector. Whereas America and European Union are giving a huge amount of subsidy to their farmers and that is a greatest hurdle in the implementation of W.T.O rules. Additionally, price policy is very weak. In Punjab sugar cane is sold 200 Rs. per 40 kilograms. It is purchased and then stocked by the Industrialists in their stores. When Brazil bought sugarcane from International Market and prices became high, the projected high demand gave Pakistani sugar mills owners a golden chance of selling sugar at high prices, resulting in Pakistan facing a severe sugar crisis. This forced Pakistan to import Sugar at high prices therefore, the prices of sugar went even higher in local markets. In order to resolve our agricultural issues, each and every problem should be looked upon thoroughly and dealt with some concrete measures. First of all, feudalism should be abolished and lands should be allotted to poor farmers. This will not only enhance the performance of the farmers but also increase the productivity and per acre yield of all the crops in Pakistan. Taxes should be levied on agricultural income but not without devising a limit of land holding. Otherwise it would directly effect poor farmers. Lack of guidance is the main reason for the farmers’ backwardness . As the only means of communication in rural areas is T.V or radio so it is urgently needed on the part of these mass communication resources to air the programmes and run ads related to the new agricultural techniques and scientific methods. But these programmes should be telecast in regional or local languages. Moreover, refresher courses should be arranged by government to equip the farmers with the latest techniques and methods in use. The communication gap between well qualified experts and simple farmers have not been bridged. Availability of these experts is not ensured in rural areas as they are reluctant to go there.
Moreover, Federal Seed Certification and Federal Seed Registration is approved but it should take responsible steps in approving seeds as it has already approved 36 new kinds of seeds. Those seeds which can create pest problem in future, should be banned. These seeds are of cotton mainly. International seed makers are providing those seeds which are not successful in our country as these seeds are not tested on our soil. A new Agricultural policy must be framed in which following steps should be focused on. 1. Small farmers must be focused. The major problems of small farmers should be solved first. 2. Provision of latest machinery , pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers to such farmers must be ensured at subsidised prices. 3. Consumer friendly policies must be formulated e.g they must be provided with accessible loans from banks. 4. Productivity enhancement programs must be constituted to adjust and support prices. 5. Different Agricultural zones should be introduced. As Multan is famous for its Mangoes and citrus fruits so it must be made Mango, citrus zone through which perishable products should be exported. Pakistan Agricultural storage & Services. 6. Corporation needs to take steps in this regard. 7. Corporate farming like giving lands to Mitchells, Nestle and Multinational companies is also a good idea that will also help those who own a large area of fertile land but can’t manage it. 8. Surplus vegetables and fruits must be exported. A scheme worth Rs.39 million has been approved for the current fiscal year for establishment of agro export processing zone for fruits, vegetables and flowers. This will also help in commercializing agriculture. 9. Latest machinery should be provided to the farmers at considerable prices to increase the per acre yield. This provision should be on easy installments so that the farmers can avoid the burden of loans. Subsidies should be given by the government for modern machinery. The irrigation system of Pakistan also needs improvement as about 67% of the land is irrigated with canals. The employment of modern techniques of irrigation can solve the problems of irrigation in Pakistan. This includes drip irrigation and sprinkle irrigation methods. By using these techniques the farmers can save a huge chunk some of money which they pay for irrigation through tube wells and tractors. Unless some rigidity and seriousness is not shown, India- Pakistan water issues may not be resolved .Thus, a mass movement must be called for to pressurise India to give up its claim on Pakistan’s water. Moreover, the government must embark on a crash program to build small dams which will play a vital role in improving the land’s fertlity, thereby increasing our per acre yirld. The rivers which are ideal for dam construction are : Indus, Jehlum and Chenab rivers. This will not only enhance the storage capacity of water and reduce the per acre cost of all the crops; but will also reduce the salinity chances of the land as less tubewell water will be flooded to the lands which cause salinity. Hence, it is not until proper attention and corrective measures are taken by both the public and private sector , that our agricultural yield may get improved and the agrarian issues may get resolved.
1.1 General The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is an ancient Southern Asian country, bordering the Arabian Sea to the North, with India on the East, Iran and Afghanistan on the west, and China in the north. Pakistan mainly comprises of four provinces, Balochistan, North West Frontier, the Punjab and Sindh Pakistan.
Despite movements of the population from farms to cities, the country remains predominantly rural. Almost three fourths of the population lives in rural areas. The literacy rate of Pakistan in 2004 was estimated to be 54 percent (of which 66.25 percent is male and 41.75 percent is female), which is still behind other countries of the region.
Pakistan’s economy is characterized by a predominance of agriculture, a strong industrial base with a large domestic market, and an ample supply of skilled human resources. In general, Pakistan enjoys a well developed physical infrastructure and good communication facilities.
The population in Pakistan, since its inception in 1947, has more than quadrupled to 164.74 million, as of July 2007. The production of wheat, a staple food crop, has increased only three fold. The gap between food supply and demand requires great effort to increase agricultural production while ensuring self-sufficiency in food commodities.
1.2 Agricultural Mechanization Agriculture plays a pivotal role in Pakistan’s economy. About 22% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 44.8% of total employment is generated in agriculture. It also provides a substantial base to Pakistan’s export. Agriculture also contributes to the growth as a supplier of raw materials to the industry, as well as the market for industrial products. Nearly 65.9% of the country’s population living in rural areas is directly or indirectly linked with agriculture for their livelihood. Whatever happens to agriculture, it is bound to affect not only the country’s growth performance but to a large segment of the country’s population as well.
The major crops grown in the country are wheat, rice, maize, cotton, and sugarcane. The area under these crops are 8.35, 2.51, 0.98, 3.2, and 0.97 million hectares, respectively. The annual production of wheat, rice, and maize are 21.61, 5.02, and 2.79 million metric tons, respectively, whereas the annual production of cotton and sugarcane are 14.26 million bales and 47.24 million metric tons, respectively (Anon., 2005-06).
Agricultural mechanization is selective in Pakistan and the only operations that are mechanized are those for which there is a constraint of labor or power, or a combination of both. The effects of mechanization are positive overall: it has not only increased on-farm income and labor productivity but also generated off-farm employment in manufacturing, supply/servicing of agricultural machinery, supply of other inputs and post-harvest handling of increased agricultural production. The most popular forms of agricultural machinery in Pakistan are bulldozers, power rigs, tubewells and tractors with cultivators, wheat threshers, sprayers and trailers. Mould board ploughs and disc ploughs for deep tillage are also gaining popularity.
The bulldozers and power rigs are operated and maintained by the public sector on subsidized rates to farmers whereas tractors and other machines are owned by some farmers themselves. Farmers with medium-sized farms generally share their tractors and other farm machines with their neighboring small farmers on a rental basis. So far, agricultural engineering research has proved to be successful in Pakistan; a number of imported machines were modified by the research institutes and adopted by the farming community. In addition, a few machines/techniques were invented to assist the growers of different crops.
Area: total: 803,940 sq km land: 778,720 sq km water: 25,220 sq km
Climate: mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north
Terrain: flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m
Natural resources: land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone
Natural hazards: frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)
Current environmental issues: water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification
“Pakistan can harness the benefits of agricultural development by putting more resources in making the agricultural credit accessible, and affordable and providing good governance in timely provision of quality inputs, taking care of backward and forward linkages and laying down a platform for innovations, and entrepreneurial activities.” This was stated by Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan, Vice Chancellor, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, while addressing a seminar on changing mindset and building capacity for innovation and commercialisation organised by Office of Research, Innovations and Commercialisation (ORIC) here at New Senate Hall. He said scientific innovation regarding increase in cropping intensity, best agronomic practices, and intervention of GMOs shorter the duration of wheat and cotton crops that enhanced the production to manifold and caused establishment of new cotton mills, ginning factories, textile mills, flour mills, and many of relevant business. He said “California US produces a range of agricultural commodities, but we remain in a fashion to grow only five crops as the political economy of Pakistan revolves around sugar industry, flour mills, various cartels and vested interests that dictate the affairs. He urged the government for setting up new cattle and grain markets with excellent administrative control so that the rights of producers and livestock farmers could be protected.” He emphasised the need for making a platform for innovation and commercialisation at national level so that innovations could pave the way for new business plans.
Gujar Khan, Pakistan – After five consecutive dry winters, Abdul Qadeer was jubilant at the prospect of a plentiful harvest of wheat after December rains soaked his farmland.
But the 39-year-old farmer’s hopes were destroyed last month by torrential spring rains and a hailstorm that flattened his wheat crop.
Qadeer is one of many farmers suffering the effects of unpredictable weather patterns and variable rainfall, which scientists believe are linked to climate change.
Now Pakistan’s government is trying to introduce crop insurance to save farmers from economic ruin. Qadeer, who farms land in Gujar Khan, approximately 55 km southeast of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, vividly recalls the unexpected volley of pebble-sized hailstones that lashed his 15-acre (6-hectare) field for about 15 minutes one day in the last week of March.
“I could clearly hear dull, clunking sounds of the hailstones that slashed through the stalks of the standing wheat crop and knocked (the ears of wheat) to the ground,” Qadeer said.
He had anticipated harvesting a good crop in the second week of April, but the unseasonal storm destroyed his wheat, causing losses of 800,000 Pakistani rupees ($8,000).
Zaman Ali, a farmer in Islamabad’s southern suburb of Chak Shahzad, says 70 percent of the wheat he was growing on 9 acres (3.6 hectares) was destroyed by strong winds and heavy rain.
Farmers are really defenceless when such unwanted torrential rains and hailstorms strike their crops. We are really completely at the mercy of the weather
Muhammad Riaz, farmer,
Ali believes the yield from the remaining wheat will reach only 60 percent of what it should have been, because the rains brought unseasonably low temperatures, preventing the grain from maturing properly. Ali described the weather as unprecedented in his 15 years of experience growing crops.
“Farmers are really defenceless when such unwanted torrential rains and hailstorms strike their crops,” said Muhammad Riaz, who lost crops worth about 1.6 million rupees ($16,000) on his 24-acre (10-hectare) farm in Haripur, 65 km (40 miles) north of Islamabad. “We are really completely at the mercy of the weather.”
Insurance coming soon?
“The solution to such grim situations that are becoming frequent lies in crop insurance,” said Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Pakistan’s former federal minister for food and agriculture. “Farmers can at least recover some of the financial damages, and are able to cultivate next season crops.”
Crop insurance is not currently available in Pakistan, but Iftikhar Ahmed, chairman of the state-owned Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), said the government is leading negotiations with insurance firms and banks to introduce a national crop insurance programme, similar to those introduced in Sri Lanka, India and Nepal. It is hoped the insurance will be available by mid-November this year.
In Pakistan, wheat is sown in mid-October and harvested in mid-April. Around 16 million acres (6.5 million hectares) are planted with wheat every year, yielding around 25 million tonnes of grain.
“Eight to 10 years ago, the spring season used to come in the first week of March and last for 25 to 30 days. Now, it comes in late March and lasts for only 15 to 20 days,” said farmer Qadeer.
Spring rain is a rare phenomenon in Pakistan, particularly in northern and central areas. The inclement weather lowered the temperature by 20 degrees Celsius to around 9 degrees this year.
“From March to mid-April, the wheat crop needs (temperatures) above 30 degrees Celsius for its healthy growth of stalk and grain, and to avoid pest attacks,” said Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, the World Meteorological Organisation’s vice president for the Asia region and a former director-general of the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).
According to PARC’s Ahmed, high moisture levels in the air have also led to fungus and insect infestations.
Officials at the federal food security and research ministry in Islamabad say they expect wheat production from rain-fed land to be 30 percent lower than normal as a result of the extreme weather.
Ghulam Rasul, chief meteorologist at the PMD, said that although hailstorms can be forecast six to 12 hours in advance, the damage they cause to crops cannot be staved off.
“We had predicted both torrential rains and hailstorms on March 23 and 24 in the upper and central parts of the country, and dust storms and intermittent rains for two to four days in the last week of March in southern and coastal areas,” he said.
“Since these untimely or unseasonal rains and hailstorm came at a time when most of the winter crops such as wheat, mustard, vegetables were near harvest, nothing could be done to save the standing crops,” he explained.
Ibrahim Mughal, chairman of Agri Forum Pakistan, a nongovernmental farmers’ body based in Lahore, said the government has consulted with representatives of farmers’ groups about ways to make a national insurance programme effective.
The views of smallholders are key because their share of cultivation is around 75 percent.
“We have suggested that, without a mass awareness campaign about the benefits of crop insurance and subsidising premiums for small or subsistence farmers…the insurance programme is unlikely to win the hearts of farmers,” said Mughal.
This article first appeared on the Thomson Reuters Foundation news service
The issue of distribution of taxation powers between the federation and federating units in
Pakistan has assumed renewed significance in the wake of 18th Constitutional Amendment and announcement of 7th National Finance Commission Award.
The provinces can now levy taxes on all those subjects that are not part of the Federal Legislative List. Elimination of the Concurrent List has paved the way for exclusive taxation by the provinces on items that were previously shared by the federation. The federation still wants to retain certain taxes, e.g. sales tax on services by using the pretext that provinces lack the capacity to collect the same. Certain quarters are also campaigning for levy of agricultural income tax under Federal Legislative List by amending Entry 47 of the Federal Legislative List. At present, Entry 47 debars the federation from levying income tax on “agricultural income”.
The provinces should retain exclusive right to collect income tax from agriculture as source of this income is land, ownership of which lies with the provinces. In British India, the right to levy income tax on agriculture vested with the provinces and not the centre. In India as well the position remains the same. In Pakistan, the tragedy is that the provinces have shown complete indifference in levying agricultural income tax from 1947 to 1996. In 1997, under tremendous pressure from foreign donors, all the four provinces did promulgate laws to this effect, but none of them understood the constitutional position in this regard. They overlooked the most vital question: What exactly constitutes “agricultural income”? If definition of this expression is not exclusive and binding, there will always be conflict between the Centre and the provinces on the question of what should be taxed under Entry 47 and what should remain out of its bound.
Framers of the 1973 constitution were aware of the sensitivity of this matter and, therefore, categorically provided what “agricultural income” was. Article 260(1) of the Constitution in respect of this expression says: “Agricultural income” means agricultural income as defined for the purpose of the law relating to income tax.
The above expression refers to income tax law, meaning by that whatever definition is provided therein, would apply where federal government gives exemption and where the provinces intend charging income tax. The federal government cannot change the
definition of “agricultural income” without taking the President’s prior consent as envisaged in Article 162 of the Constitution. It debars the federal government from presenting any bill in the assembly purporting change in the definition of “agricultural income” unless the matter is first presented to the president for approval. It is obvious that any unilateral adverse change in the definition by the National Assembly can have serious implications for provinces to collect tax from this source.
The provinces are also bound to follow the definition of “agricultural income” as given in the income tax law. Any deviation from the said definition would be unconstitutional as levy of tax on this source cannot go beyond the limits laid down in the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, which defines “agricultural income” as under:
(2) “agricultural income” means
(a) any rent or revenue derived by a person from land, which is situated in Pakistan and is used for agricultural purposes;
(b) any income derived by a person from land situated in Pakistan from-
(ii) the performance by a cultivator or receiver of rent-in-kind of any process ordinarily employed by such person to render the produce raised or received by the person fit to be taken to market; or
(iii) the sale by a cultivator or receiver of rent-in-kind of the produce raised or received by such person, in respect of which no process has been performed other than a process of the nature described in sub-clause (ii); or
(c) any income derived by a person from-
(i) any building owned and occupied by the receiver of the rent or revenue of any land described in clause (a) or (b);
(ii) any building occupied by the cultivator, or the receiver of rent-in-kind, of any land in respect of which, or the produce of which, any operation specified in sub-clauses (ii) or (iii) of clause (b) is carried on, but only where the building is on, or in the immediate vicinity of the land and is a building which the receiver of the rent or revenue, or the cultivator, or the receiver of the rent-in-kind by reason of the person’s connection with the land, requires as a dwelling-house, a store-house, or other out-building.”
As evident from above, the definition of “agricultural income” is not restricted merely to income from sale of produce of cultivated land. It also covers rent of land and any building located on such land. It is lamentable to note that all the provinces while levying income tax on agriculture violated the unambiguous command of supreme law of the land. Instead of levying tax on “agricultural income” as defined in the income tax law, the province levied tax on land – indirect tax having no nexus with quantum of income earned by a person.
The province of Punjab, while levying tax on agricultural income under the Punjab Agricultural Income Tax Act 1997 (hereinafter “the Act”), grossly violated the command of the Constitution by providing that cultivated land would be deemed to be agricultural income. By doing so, agricultural income tax was converted into land revenue based on acreage.
The rates provided in the First Schedule to this Act says that if ownership is up to 121/2 acres there will be no tax, where it is more than 121/2 but less than 25 acres, Rs 150 per acre and beyond 25 acres, it would be Rs 250 per acre. From 1st July 2001, however, by virtue of section 3(3) of the Act, agricultural income tax in the real sense was provided by suggesting progressive rates on net income basis in the Second Schedule.
After allowing minimum exemption of income of Rs 80,000, rate of tax where income does not exceed Rs 100,000 it is 5% of total income; where income exceeds Rs 100,000 but does not exceed Rs 200,000 it Rs 5,000 plus 71/2% of amount exceeding Rs 100,000; where income exceeds Rs 200,000 but not Rs 300,000, it is Rs 12,500 plus 10% of amount exceeding Rs 200,000 and in the last slab where total income exceeds Rs 300,000 it is Rs 22,500 plus 15% of the amount exceeding Rs 300,000.
With the introduction of net income taxation, the acreage tax should have been abolished but section 3(4) of the act says that out of net profit tax and acreage tax, the greater would be payable. Here lies the great catch. Nobody is filing return of net income and by paying paltry acreage tax, is posing as if this is greater than tax on net income. Under the First Schedule to the act, rich absentee landlords are happy paying merely Rs 250 to Rs 300 per acre.
The self proclaimed Khadim-e-Aala of Punjab is least bothered to enforce progressive taxes in his domain while constantly criticising the federal government for its inactions. Under his dictatorial control, the collectors are totally disinterested in enforcing the law by asking for returns of agricultural income as envisaged in the act.
Violation of this law is evident from the very fact that even the Prime Minister of Pakistan has showed nil agricultural income tax in his declaration before the Election Commission (EC) of Pakistan, despite admitting ownership of substantial agricultural lands. Such absentee landlords-turned-industrialists dominate our economics and politics.
Most of the rich absentee landlords, having colossal agricultural income, especially in Punjab and Sindh, are not paying any personal tax, at least their declarations before the EC testify to this effect. In case, they are paying proper income tax on their agricultural and other incomes, they must produce the necessary evidence. This would inspire the people to discharge their own obligations diligently.
In case they have not done so, the process of disqualification in view of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution should be initiated forthwith. This exercise will pave the way for true democratisation of the country. All tax delinquents should be debarred from taking part in elections and those already in assemblies should be disqualified after completing due process of law.
(The writers, legal historians, authors of many books, tax advisers, are members of visiting faculty of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).