Agriculture Jumps 6.25%: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2023-24

Agriculture Jumps 6.25%: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2023-24 – The Economic Survey for the fiscal year 2023-24, launched on Tuesday, revealed a remarkable growth of 6.25 percent in Pakistan’s agriculture sector, a significant increase from last year’s 2.27 percent.

This surge is primarily attributed to substantial growth in important crops.

The survey highlighted that major crops witnessed an impressive 16.82 percent growth. Wheat production, in particular, saw record growth of 11.6 percent, reaching 31.4 million tonnes compared to 28.2 million tonnes last year. Cotton production, severely impacted by floods and rains the previous year, rebounded dramatically with 10.2 million bales produced compared to 4.9 million bales last year, marking a staggering 108.2 percent increase. Rice production also rose significantly to 9.9 million tonnes from 7.3 million tonnes last year, reflecting a 34.8 percent growth.

Conversely, sugarcane and maize production experienced declines. Sugarcane production dropped by 0.4 percent to 87.6 million tonnes from last year’s 88.0 million tonnes, and maize production decreased by 10.4 percent, amounting to 9.8 million tonnes compared to 11.0 million tonnes last year. Despite these setbacks, the substantial growth in wheat, cotton, and rice offset the negative trends in sugarcane and maize production.

Other crops also showed positive growth, increasing by 0.90 percent compared to a decline of -0.92 percent last year. This uptick is attributed to increased production of fruits (8.40 percent), vegetables (5.77 percent), and pulses (1.45 percent). Additionally, cotton ginning, which contributes 0.32 percent to GDP and 1.34 percent to agricultural GDP, grew by 47.23 percent due to the significant increase in cotton production.

The livestock sector, which constitutes 60.84 percent of the agriculture sector and 14.63 percent of GDP, grew by 3.89 percent in 2023-24, up from 3.70 percent last year. The forestry sector, contributing 2.33 percent to agriculture value addition and 0.56 percent to GDP, grew by 3.05 percent, though this was a decrease from the previous year’s significant 16.63 percent growth. The fishing sector, representing 1.30 percent of agricultural value addition and 0.31 percent of GDP, grew by 0.81 percent, an increase from 0.35 percent the previous year.

Water availability also saw improvement. During Kharif 2023, water availability increased to 61.9 Million Acre Feet (MAF) from 43.3 MAF in Kharif 2022, meeting the requirements for Kharif crops. For Rabi 2023-24, water availability was recorded at 30.6 MAF, showing a 4.1 percent increase over Rabi 2022-23.

Fertilizer production and availability rose significantly. During FY 2024 (July-March), domestic production of fertilizers increased by 17.3 percent to 3.253 million tonnes compared to 2.773 million tonnes in the same period of FY 2023. Fertilizer imports also increased by 23.7 percent, reaching 524 thousand tonnes, leading to an 18.1 percent increase in total fertilizer availability. The offtake of fertilizer nutrients saw an 18.7 percent increase, reaching 3.957 million tonnes, largely due to the low offtake during the previous year caused by floods.

Agriculture lending by financial institutions totaled Rs 1,635.2 billion during July-March FY 2024, achieving 72.7 percent of the overall annual target and marking a 33.8 percent increase from Rs 1,221.9 billion disbursed during the same period last year. The outstanding portfolio of agriculture loans grew by Rs 105.8 billion, reaching Rs 818.7 billion by the end of March 2024, reflecting a 14.8 percent growth. The number of outstanding borrowers reached 2.70 million by the end of March 2024.

Additionally, during FY 2024 (July-April), total fish production reached 720.9 million metric tonnes, with 410.9 million metric tonnes from marine fisheries and the remainder from inland waters fisheries. Pakistan’s major fish buyers included China, Thailand, Malaysia, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, and Japan, with a total of 206.970 thousand metric tonnes of fish and fish preparations exported, earning approximately US $534.217 million.

The Economic Survey 2023-24 paints a promising picture of Pakistan’s agriculture sector, showcasing substantial growth and resilience amidst challenges, contributing significantly to the country’s GDP and economic stability.