Decline in wheat production to lower GDP growth
By Saad Khan
KARACHI: The GDP growth rate of Pakistan is expected to decline further as the wheat production target would be missed by 6.8 percent, initial estimates of wheat production show.
Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) on Thursday informed that initial estimates showed 23.3 million tonnes wheat production against the target of 25 million tonnes.
Any change in the agricultural productivity sends a ripple effect throughout the economy
affecting the vital macroeconomic indicators.
This decline in production is in spite of the fact that the wheat sowing target was surpassed. The government had fixed the target of wheat sowing at 8.610 million hectares, while wheat is sown on 8.749 million hectares, an increase of 1.61 percent.
“The GDP growth would further decline to 2 percent, which is the lowest in the past 38 years of Pakistan’s history,” Dr Shahid Hassan Siddiqui said while talking to Daily Times.
“There is a need of structural changes in the economy. Without introducing land reforms, one should not expect any substantial rise in productivity,” he said.
The problem on the technological front is that the yield per acre is not increasing and there is a need to establish connection between the farmers and the agriculture scientists. “Only increasing the wheat support price would not solve the problem,” Dr Shahid maintained.
The use of conventional farming methods by the farmers seems to be the most important factor responsible for low yield of crops in Pakistan. The modern technology is capital intensive and can only be adopted if adequate capital is available for the investment in farming.
The alternative is to increase crop yield per unit area, which can be achieved through the adoption of proper technology by the farmers. Any improvement made in yield of this crop will be of great help to the people of Pakistan.
Since 2000, the per annum increase in wheat production is a paltry 0.44 percent. Besides the economic dimension, there is a more important Human dimension to this problem. Since our population growth rate is approximately 2.3 percent, the consequences for the food security can be grave given this dismal growth rate. Pakistan ranks 61 out of 85 countries in the 2008 Global Hunger Index.
The 2008 global hunger index report comes at a time of dramatic changes in World food markets, with high food prices threatening the food security of millions of vulnerable households.
Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Nazar Mohammad Gondal said that these are initial estimates and expressed the hope that production of wheat might be increased with final estimates arriving after harvesting.