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ISLAMABAD: The agriculture sector in the country witnessed 2.8 percent growth July-March 2021 as per Economic Survey 2020-21 against 2.7 percent in the compared period of 2019-20, the Survey says.

The Survey noted in the chapter on agriculture that it grew by 2.77 percent however in the statistical appendix it noted the growth at 2.8 percent (the target set for the year). The growth of major crops including wheat, rice, sugarcane, maize and cotton during the year registered 4.65 percent.

Cotton production declined by 22.8 percent - to 7.064 million bales from 9.148 million bales last year. It suffered mainly due to decline in sown area, heavy monsoon rains and pest attacks, the Survey noted. Cotton ginning declined by 15.58 percent due to fall in production of cotton crop.

Production of major Kharif crops 2020 such as sugarcane, maize and rice indicated considerable improvement compared to last year and surpassed the production targets. The production of sugarcane increased by 22.0 percent to 81.009 million tons from 66.380 million tons, rice by 13.6 percent to 8.419 million tons from 7.414 million tons and maize by 7.4 percent to 8.465 million tons from 7.883 million tons.

Wheat, the most important crop of ‘Rabi’, showed a growth of 8.1 percent and reached a record high production level of 27.293 million tons as compared to 25.248 million tons last year. The wheat cultivation area increased to 9.178 million hectares.

Other crops, with a share of 11.69 percent in agriculture value addition and 2.24 percent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), registered growth of 1.41 percent because of increase in production of fodder, vegetables and fruits.

The overall crops sector, with a share of 35.81 percent in agriculture value addition and 6.87 percent in GDP witnessed a growth of 2.47 percent due to increase in growth of important crops by 4.65 percent.

The survey revealed that during the year 2020-21, cotton crop was cultivated on 2.1 million hectares, reflecting a contraction of 17.4 percent as compared to last year’s sown area of 2.5 million hectares. Production declined by 22.8 percent to 7.064 million bales against production of 9.148 million bales.

During 2020-21, sugarcane crop was cultivated on 1.2 million hectares; an increase of 12.0 percent compared to last year’s sown area of 1.0 million hectares. Production increased by 22.0 percent to 81.009 million tons against 66.380 million last year.

Rice contributes 3.5 percent of value added in agriculture and 0.7 percent in GDP. During 2020-21, the crop was cultivated on 3.3 million hectares, reflecting an increase 9.9 percent as compared to last year’s sown area of 3.03 million hectares. The current year witnessed a record production growth of 13.6 percent to 8.419 million tons against 7.414 million tons last year.

Area under cultivation wheat increased by 4.2 percent to 9.2 million hectares over last year’s sown area of 8.81 million hectares. Wheat crop recorded historic high production of 27.293 million tons showing an increase of 8.1 percent over 25.248 million tons’ production of last year.

Maize is the third important cereal crop of Pakistan after wheat and rice. During 2020-21, maize was cultivated on an area of 1.42 million hectares reflecting an increase of 1.0 percent over last year’s 1.4 million hectares. Its production increased by 7.4 percent to 8.465 million tons compared to last year’s production of 7.883 million tons.

During 2020-21, Gram production declined by 47.6 percent to 0.26 million tons on account of decline in area, yield and unfavourable weather conditions. The production of bajra and jowar also witnessed a decrease of 30.7 percent and 20.0 percent respectively due to a decrease in area under cultivation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021