Crop Situation in Pakistan. The agricultural sector plays a significant role in Pakistan’s economy, contributing to value addition and the country’s GDP. In the past year, important crops faced various challenges, including climate change impacts and other factors affecting their production and yield. Let’s delve into the crop situation in Pakistan, focusing on important crops while excluding the livestock and poultry section.
Wheat, a staple crop in Pakistan, experienced a 0.7% increase in cultivated area to 9,043 thousand hectares during the 2022-23 season. Wheat, one of the most important crops in Pakistan, has remained relatively stable in terms of cultivated area and average yield over the past five years. However, the total production has fluctuated, with a peak in 2020-21 and a slight decrease in the following year. Currently, in 2023, wheat contributes significantly to value addition in agriculture (8.2%) and GDP (1.9%). Wheat production witnessed a growth of 5.4%, reaching 27.634 million tonnes compared to 26.208 million tonnes in the previous year. This increase can be attributed to the government’s initiatives, such as the Kissan Package-22, aimed at mitigating the impact of losses caused by Flood-2022. The government also increased the Minimum Support Price (MSP), ensuring better economic returns for farmers.
Rice is the second main staple food crop in Pakistan and a significant export commodity after cotton. Coarse types of rice production have been increasing as farmers bring more areas under coarse hybrid types. However, during the 2022-23 season, rice cultivation declined by 15.9% to 2,976 thousand hectares, and production decreased by 21.5% to 7.322 million tonnes compared to 9.323 million tonnes in the previous year. This decline in production, combined with high input prices, led to an increase in paddy prices.
Maize cultivation contributes to value addition in agriculture and GDP, accounting for 3.0% and 0.7%, respectively. In the 2022-23 season, maize cultivation expanded by 4.1% to 1,720 thousand hectares. Production also increased by 6.9% to 10.183 million tonnes compared to 9.525 million tonnes in the previous year. The increase in production can be attributed to expanded cultivated areas and improved yield.
Crop Situation in Pakistan. The cotton crop in Pakistan suffered substantial damage during the 2022-23 season due to climatic changes. Rising temperatures of 7-10⁰C between March and May, coupled with irrigation water shortages, resulted in severe heatwaves. These adverse conditions affected cotton germination, seedling growth, and caused leaf wilting problems. Cotton cultivation has seen a fluctuating trend, with a peak in total production in 2017-18, followed by a decrease in the following years. However, the trend has been increasing again, with a peak in 2021-22. During 2022-23, despite an increase in cotton area sown to 2,144 thousand hectares (a growth of 10.7%), floods in Sindh and Balochistan led to a significant decline in production, which dropped by 41.0% to 4.910 million bales compared to the previous year’s 8.329 million bales. Insect pests, including Pink bollworm, Whitefly, and Thrips, also remained prevalent during the season.
Sugarcane cultivation is prominent in Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and serves as a vital raw material for Pakistan’s sugar industry. Sugarcane has seen a fluctuating trend, with a peak in total production in 2016-17, followed by a decrease in the following year. However, the trend has been increasing again, with a peak in 2020-21 and 2021-22. It contributes to employment and acts as a source of livestock fodder during the winter season. In the 2022-23 season, sugarcane cultivation expanded by 4.7% to 1,319 thousand hectares compared to the previous year’s 1,260 thousand hectares. The increase in cultivated area can be attributed to lucrative market prices. Production also rose by 2.8% to 91.111 million tonnes, compared to the previous year’s 88.651 million tonnes.
Pakistan heavily relies on imports for edible oil, with 2.681 million tonnes of edible oil worth Rs 826.482 billion (US$ 3.562 billion) being imported during FY2023 (July-March). The local production of edible oil during the same period is provisionally estimated at 0.496 million tonnes, bringing the total availability of edible oil to 3.177 million tonnes. Sesame cultivation has been increasing steadily since 2016-17, with a significant increase in cultivated area and average yield in the past two years, resulting in a significant increase in total production. Sunflower cultivation has seen a fluctuating trend, with a peak in total production in 2019-20, followed by a slight decrease in the following year. However, the trend has been increasing again, with a peak in 2021-22. To address various issues in the oilseed sector, the government has taken steps such as forming a Sub-Group on Oilseeds under the Agriculture Task Force and developing a comprehensive National Oilseed Policy. This policy aims to enhance edible oil production, reduce dependence on imports, improve profitability for growers, provide access to credit facilities, ensure availability of quality sowing seeds at reasonable prices, disseminate approved production technology, and improve the quality of edible oils.
Mungbean cultivation has also been increasing, with a sharp increase in cultivated area in 2021-22, resulting in a significant increase in total production. Mashbean/mash cultivation has decreased dramatically over the past few years, with a sharp decrease in cultivated area and total production. Tomato cultivation has seen a steady increase in cultivated area and average yield over the past five years, resulting in significant increases in total production. Chilli cultivation has also seen a fluctuating trend, with a peak in total production in 2021-22, following a significant increase in average yield.
Gram cultivation has been fluctuating in terms of both cultivated area and total production over the past few years. Potato cultivation has been increasing steadily, with a significant increase in cultivated area and total production in 2021-22. Onion cultivation has fluctuated in terms of cultivated area and total production, with a peak in 2020-21 followed by a significant decrease in 2021-22. Lentil cultivation has been decreasing sharply over the past few years, with a significant decrease in cultivated area and total production in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
Apart from the important crops mentioned above, several other crops witnessed varying production trends. Gram production declined by 24.7% to 238 thousand tonnes due to a decrease in cultivated area. On the other hand, the production of rapeseed & mustard, bajra, and tobacco increased by 98%, 13.3%, and 0.1%, respectively. However, Jowar and barley production declined by 23.4% and 2.6%, respectively. The production of potato increased by 4.8%, while moong, chillies, mash, onion, and masoor experienced a decline of 48.9%, 43.1%, 31.1%, 18.3%, and 2.6%, respectively in 2023.
The crop situation in Pakistan during the 2022-23 season has been challenging for important crops like cotton and rice due to climatic changes and other factors. However, crops such as sugarcane, maize, and wheat have shown positive trends in terms of cultivation and production. To ensure sustainable agricultural growth, it is essential for the government and relevant stakeholders to continue implementing measures to mitigate climate change impacts, provide support to farmers, and promote research and development in the agricultural sector.
Muhammad Abdullah Saleem1, Asif Iqbal1, Umair Gull1, Muhammad Amir Iqbal2, Rana Nadeem Abbas1, M. Shahbaz Naeem1, Abid Shehzad1, Wajeeh-Ur-Rehman1, Saira Jamil3, Muhammad Waseem1, Iqra Akram3, Saba Ashraf3, Rukhsar Saleem1, Binish Ali1, Maaz Aslam1, Mehboob Ali1
1Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
2Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Poonch, Rawalakot, Pakistan
3Department of Botany, Faculty of Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan