Agriculture posts meager 0.85 percent growth on reduction in cultivation area

ISLAMABAD: The agriculture has posted meagre 0.85 percent growth in 2018/2019 against the target of 3.8 percent, said Economic Survey 2018/2019 on Monday.

It said that the performance of agriculture during 2018/2019 remained subdued.

The under-performance of agriculture sector hinged upon reduction in the area of cultivation, lower water availability and drop in fertilizer off take. The crops sector has witnessed negative growth of 4.43 percent against the target 3.6 percent on the back of decline in growth of important crops by (-6.55) percent.

Sugarcane production declined by (-19.4) percent to 67.174 million tons, Cotton (-17.5 percent) to 9.861 million bales and Rice (-3.3 percent) to 7.202 million tonnes while production of Maize crop increased by 6.9 percent to 6.309 million tonnes and production of wheat crop marginally increased by 0.5 percent to 25.195 million tonnes. Other crops having share of 11.21 percent in agriculture value addition and 2.08 percent in GDP, showed growth of 1.95 mainly due to increase in production of pulses and oilseeds.

Cotton ginning declined by 12.74 percent due to decrease in production of cotton crop.

Livestock having share of 60.54 percent in agriculture and 11.22 percent in GDP, recorded the growth at 4.0 percent against the target of 3.8 percent.

The Fishing and Forestry sector having share of 2.10 percent each in agriculture value addition grew by 0.79 and 6.47 percent, respectively.

The strong growth in forestry is due to increase in timber production in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the range of 26.7 to 36.1 thousand cubic meters.

The gram production increased by 35.6 percent on account of higher yield due to favourable weather condition prevalent at the time of sowing. The production of Bajra increased by 3.2 percent.

The production of Barley, Rapeseed & Mustard and Tobacco remained constant while the production of Jowar witnessed a decline of 2.6 percent.

The production of Onion and Chillies witnessed increase of 2.0 percent to 2.12 thousand tonnes and 0.4 percent to 148.7 thousand tonnes respectively, as compared to production of last year.

However, the production of pulse Mash (Lentil), Moong and Potato decreased by 5.5 percent, 3.4 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively compared to last year’s production. While the production of Masoor pulse remained the same as last year’s production.

The total availability of water for the Kharif crops 2018 recorded 59.6 Million Acre Feet (MAF), which means it remained short by 11.2 percent against the average system usage of 67.1 MAF and by 14.9 percent as compared to Kharif 2017. During Rabi season 2018-19, the total water availability was recorded at 24.8 MAF showing an increase of 2.5 percent over Rabi 2017-18 and a decline of 31.9 percent from the normal availability of 36.4 MAF.

The domestic production of fertilizers during 2018-19 (July-March) increased by 2.6 per cent over the same period of previous year. This increase is due to functioning of two urea manufacturing plants (Agritech& Fatima Fertilizer) as supply of LNG was available on subsidized rates.

The imported fertilizer increased by 4.8 percent. Therefore, total availability of fertilizer increased by 3.2 percent during current fiscal year. Total off take of fertilizer nutrients decreased by 7.3 percent.

Nitrogen off take decreased by 2.89 percent and phosphate by 18.2 percent. Potash off take recorded an increase of 4.55 percent during 2018-19 (July-March). Reduction in fertilizers off take was due to its high prices.

In line with government’s priority for agriculture sector development, Agricultural Credit Advisory Committee (ACAC) has set the indicative agricultural credit disbursement targets at Rs 1,250 billion for FY 2018-19 to 50 agriculture lending institutions including 19 commercial banks, 2 specialized banks, 5 Islamic banks, 11 microfinance banks and 13 microfinance institutions/rural support programs (MFIs/RSPs).

During FY 2018-19 (July- March), the agriculture lending institutions have disbursed Rs. 805 billion which is 64.4 percent of the overall annual target of Rs. 1,250 billion and 20.8 percent higher than the disbursement of Rs. 666.2 billion made during corresponding period of last year.

The outstanding portfolio of agriculture loans has increased by 15.5 percent to Rs. 70.7 billion by end March, 2019.

Further, the agriculture outreach in terms of total borrowers has increased to 4.0 million, showing a rise of 8.2 percent over 3.72 million borrowers as of end June, 2018.

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