The Economic Survey of Pakistan FY 2022-23 is out and the Agriculture Sector which contributes a lion’s share of 22.9 percent to Gross National Product has shown slight growth of 1.55 percent, against a target growth of 3.9 percent despite the devastating floods.
Crops declined by 2.5 percent with Cotton production declining by 41 percent and Rice output down 21 percent. But positive growth was registered in production of Wheat (5.4 percent), Maize (6.9 percent), Sugarcane (2.8 percent), Oil Seed Production (53 percent).
Livestock sector which contributes 14.3 percent to the GDP and 62.6 percent of Agriculture GDP surprisingly grew by 3.78 percent, up from the previous year’s 2.25 percent despite the fact that more than a million animals were lost per Government’s own done earlier by NDMA. The Forestry and Fisheries sub-sectors show positive growth of 3.9 percent and 1.4 percent respectively.
Cotton Production is down 41 percent from 8.3 million bales to 4.9 million bales primarily due to a 7-10 degree rise in average temperatures in recent years, heatwaves, drought, and floods that washed this critical crop in Sindh, Balochistan, and Southern Punjab. Cotton ginning has also been reported down by 23 percent over the previous year.
Wheat Production increased by 1.4 million tonnes to a record 27.6 million tonnes which the government claims are the result of the post-flood relief package and increase in the cultivated area due to support price hikes. It is to be noted water stored in the ground during floods also played its role in enabling higher output.
Fertilizer production that shares 30-50 percent in crop yield decreased by 8.3 percent with 11.2 percent decline in off-take due to price hikes of phosphatic and potash fertilizers.
Irrigation water availability during last year remained a major hurdle in the sowing operations of key crops. Water availability declined by nearly 30 percent to 43.3 million acre-feet from 65 million acre-feet in 2021. Production of Moong, Mash, Onion, and Chillies also declined by 50 percent, 31 percent, 18 percent and 43 percent respectively.
Livestock gross value addition is up 3.7 percent to 5.6 trillion compared to 5.4 trillion during the last fiscal year with 2.1 percent increase in exports. Government has ascribed the progress to public-private partnerships, improved animal husbandry and breeding practices and easement of other regulatory frameworks.
National Milk and Meat Production witnessed a growth of 3.2 percent and 5.4 percent respectively while the production of hides and skins that play a key role in leather exports are up by 3.3 percent and 2.3 percent respectively. The poultry sector which employs 1.5 million people experienced remarkable growth of 7.3 percent led by more than Rs 1 trillion in investments making the country the 11th largest poultry producer, globally.