Pakistan stands 20th worldwide and 5th amongst the Muslim countries in farm production. The major crops produced are wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane. Pakistan also produces fruits and vegetables besides pulses, ghee and milk.
To increase the yield, the Government has chalked out policies and set up institutes to help the farmers. One such is example is the Zarai Taraqiati Bank formerly known as the Agriculture Development Bank. It has a network of branches which provide easy loans to the farmers to purchase high quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and machinery.
The government of Pakistan has also established The University of Agriculture in Faisalabad where modern techniques are studied, researched and then practically implemented to improve the production of various crops.
Livestock farming is also widely practiced in Pakistan. Cattle, sheep, goats, buffaloes and poultry are reared for their meat, milk, hides and eggs. Pakistan is the fifth largest milk producer in the world.
Fishery also contributes to the national economy. Besides providing livelihood to scores of people, it also brings in foreign exchange. Lobsters and shellfish are the major exports.
The province of Punjab in Pakistan is blessed with rich alluvial soil. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Punjab. The tributaries of River Indus flowing through the province have made farming easy. It also has the world’s largest canal system to supply water for irrigation purposes to far flung areas. Punjab produces 68% of the food grain of the country and for this reason is known as the Bread Basket of Pakistan.
Wheat and cotton are the major crops and are grown on a large scale. Other crops include rice, sugarcane, pulses, millet, corn, oilseeds, vegetables and fruits.
Cotton and rice are cash crops and are exported abroad and so is tobacco. The citrus fruits grown (keno) and mangoes of Punjab are also exported to the Gulf countries.
Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rahim Yar Khan, Sahiwal, Sargodha, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Okara, Khushab are some regions where wheat, cotton and rice are grown. Tobacco is mostly grown in Multan, Sialkot and Gujranwala.
NWFP (now KPK- Khyber PakhtoonKhwah) experiences severe cold weather. The heavy snowfall makes farming impossible. In some places people migrate to warmer places as well. As most of the area is mountainous, “terrace farming” is practiced here. In terrace farming, steps are cut out in to steep hills and the edge of the slope is bordered with stone walls called “bunds”. The bunds check water and soil from flowing away.
As agricultural resources are scarce, there is not much agricultural production in KPK.
Fruits, mostly dry fruits, are grown here. A variety of apples is grown here. Besides apples, apricots and dry fruits like almonds, walnuts and pine nuts are also grown here in abundance. Potato breeding also takes place in the NWFP (KPK). Research is being done on varieties of potatoes.
Among crops small variety of wheat, maize and oilseeds are grown here. Sugarcane and tobacco are grown on a larger scale. Tobacco and sugar cane are the chief cash crops also responsible for the industrialization of the area.
Main areas on which crops are grown are Mansehra, Peshawar, Mardan, Swabi etc.NWFP (KPK) contributes a lot in the production of fruits in Pakistan. A lot of fruits consumed in Pakistan and exported to other countries is grown in KPK.
Balochistan is a land of diversity. Not only are there dissimilarities in the topography of the region, the climate varies as well.
Basically Balochistan is dry and barren and receives little rainfall thus making it difficult for people to live and crops to grow. No wonder being the largest province area wise it has the smallest population. While most of the area is covered with scrub vegetation, (short thick bushes) some regions of Balochistan are blessed with extremely fertile soil. The temperature of Balochistan ranges from temperate to tropical.
The rich soil along with the suitable temperature is ideal for the growth of fruits. As a matter of fact, Balochistan produces a variety of fruits in surplus and is nicknamed as “The Fruit Basket” of Pakistan. Out of the total fruit crops of Pakistan, Balochistan produces;
FRUITS PRODUCED VARIETIES GROWN TOTAL PERCENTAGE
APPLES 52 34
CHERRIES 15 90
ALMONDs 05 90
APRICOT 32 60
POMEGRANATES 04 60
GRAPES 22 90
DATEs 130 70
PEACH — 60
OLIVES 11 —
PLUMS 30 —
PISTACHIO 04 —
Because of their high quality, the fruits are also exported abroad especially to the Gulf States.
Although wheat and rice are grown in Balochistan but due to the lack of resources and shortage of water the production is quite low. The wheat and rice grown here are not sufficient for Baluchistan’s own needs and it relies on Sindh and Punjab to fulfill its requirements. The recent successful attempts to grow sugarcane and cotton have been encouraging for both the government and the people. If proper measures are taken then agriculture can also flourish in Balochistan.
Pakistan depends largely on agriculture for its economic development. A contribution of 30% to the GDP (Gross Domestic Production) makes Sindh the 2nd largest supplier of agricultural products. In the province of Sindh, only 40% of the land can be cultivated. The rest comprises of the rugged and barren Kirthar Range and the sandy Thar Desert.
The climate of Sindh is sub-tropical. It experiences long summer spells with temperature shooting up to more than 45oC during May to August. Winters are cold with a minimum of 2oC during January-December. Rainfall is unpredictable and occurs mostly during July and August. With erratic rainfalls the only reliable source of water is the River Indus. Three barrages namely Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri are constructed over the Indus to supply water for irrigation.
Major areas where crops are cultivated are Khairpur, Nausharo Faroz, Nawabshah, Mirpur Khas, Larkana and Sukkur.
The fertile lands of the Lower Indus Plains along with the temperature are ideally suited for crops like wheat, rice, cotton and sugar cane. Sindh produces 35% of rice, 28% of sugar cane, 20% of cotton and 12% of wheat of the total production. Apart from these cash crops, fruits are also grown in the orchards of Sindh. Mangoes, bananas, dates, guavas and citrus fruit trees are grown here.
Sindh is especially known for its Sindhri Mangoes which are exported abroad as well. Sindh is also the largest chilies producer of the country. The red hot variety grown here is very much in demand across the globe.
A variety of flowers are grown for commercial scale for extracting essential oils and for oil-seeds.
The government of Pakistan has set up the Sindh Agricultural Department which provides assistance and guidance to the farmers.