This article discusses the meaning, different forms, and importance of agriculture in the context of Pakistan.
What does the term agriculture refer to?
In a broader sense, the term ‘agriculture refers to the practice of crop farming, animal rearing, fish farming, poultry farming, and horticulture. Narrowly, the term can refer to just crop and livestock farming.
What is the importance of agriculture in the context of Pakistan?
Agriculture forms the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy. More than 70% of people in the country depend upon agriculture for their livelihood. Similarly, its contribution to the GDP of the country is 24% which is the highest among all others. It is the source of employment for more than 40% total labor force of the country. Moreover, agriculture dominates the exports thus bringing the largest foreign exchange earnings for the country along with fulfilling the food needs of an increasing population.
What are the forms of agriculture practiced in Pakistan?
In Pakistan, two forms of agriculture are in practice i.e. small-scale subsistence farming and Large Scale Commercial Farming (Cash Crop Farming and Large Livestock Farming).
1. Small Scale Subsistence Farming
In this form of farming the agricultural productivity hardly helps meet the subsistence needs of a family. Rarely there is any surplus of agricultural produce or no surplus at all.
The majority of farmers in Pakistan are practicing small-scale subsistence farming as they have few fields to grow vegetables, crops. Similarly, few animals like goats, cows, hens, etc. are reared by farmers mostly. Such an agricultural practice only helps meet basic requirements of food i.e. vegetables, wheat, maize, eggs, milk, etc. of the family.
Unlike, large-scale farming, the processes of small-scale subsistence farming are executed with the manual labor of family members. Work demanding more power is done by men whereas women do what is physically suitable to do i.e. feeding animals, milking, collecting eggs, cooking, and bringing a meal for their men working on fields.
This indicates that the majority of the farmers in Pakistan are living an economically tough and poor life. To cover up to further expenses of their daily needs they engage in informal labor like working as a stonemason, carpenter, blacksmith, etc.
2. Large Scale Commercial Farming in Pakistan
Pakistan is a feudal country. Most of the arable land is held by few landlords. They grow crops for sale within and outside the country. Crops which are cultivated to earn cash are known as a cash crop. Important cash crops of Pakistan include cotton, rice, wheat, sugar cane, etc. which are planted in huge farms in the Indus plain spread in both Punjab and Sindh. Thus Cash crop farming is an example of Large Scale Commercial Farming.
In Pakistan, people rear animals in large numbers for the production of milk and meat. Pakistan is one of the countries to export meat to gulf countries.
Unlike small-scale subsistence farming, modern techniques of agriculture are employed. This has helped improve both the quality and quantity of the agricultural produce maximize profitability. The use of HYV seeds, fertilizers, skilled labor, and modern technology is a common feature of Cash crop farming.
Cash crop growers also receive incentives in form of subsidies, loans, tax holidays, etc. to maximize productivity and exports so that Pakistan gets much-needed foreign exchange.