Strategy evolved to modernise agriculture sector to achieve higher growth
ISLAMABAD – The government has devised a comprehensive plan for agriculture modernisation to enhance agriculture productivity on modern lines and help promote overall economic growth of the country.
National Action Plan specially has focus on capacity building, germplasm resources, agricultural product processing, agricultural technology extension, fishery science and technology, aquaculture, and aquatic product processing, official sources said. The action plan also includes establishment of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) free zones, market information and agricultural trade and cooperation for agricultural development.
According to official document, other initiatives proposed for fiscal year 2022-23 in agriculture sector include, corporate agriculture farming, deceleration of FMD Free Zones and local production of FMD vaccines and mechanization harvesting and post harvesting processes. Agriculture sector, the backbone of country’s economy, is expected to grow by 3.9 percent during the upcoming fiscal year (2022-23). It is pertinent to mention here that during the current fiscal year, agriculture sector exceeded its envisaged targets of Annual Plan 2021-22 (3.5 percent) given the strong crop sector performance. Agriculture sector posted growth of 4.4 percent against the last year growth of 3.5 percent. The production of important crops including sugarcane, rice and maize crops achieved record production with impressive increase in per acre yield.
Although, cotton production remained below target during 2021-22, however, it was 17.9 percent greater than the crop output of last year. Keeping in view almost 7 percent reduction in area under cultivation, the performance of cotton crop is also impressive. However, wheat yield was affected by urea availability and disruptions in irrigation water supply, increase in rust prevalence and high temperatures in the last fortnight of March (heat wave), according to the document. Meanwhile, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had assigned annual indicative agricultural credit disbursement target of Rs. 1,700 billion for 2021-22, which was 24.5 percent higher than last year’s disbursement of Rs. 1,366 billion. During the July-March 2021-22, agriculture credit of Rs. 958 billion has been disbursed, which is fractionally higher than the disbursements during the comparable period of last year. On the other hand, private investment in the crop sector of agriculture registered high double-digit growth of 25.6 percent which is close to 26 percent real growth in the crop sector attracted last year. Public sector investment inched up to, while private sector investment share in GDP remained stationary at 10 percent level, the document added.