ISLAMABAD – The neglected avenues in the agriculture sector, if explored, can boost agriculture growth in the country.
“Floriculture, horticulture and edible oilseeds are some of the examples”, according to annual plan 2012-13. It said that edible oil seeds production and oil extraction has been neglected for many years.
Pakistan presently imports more than 2 million tons edible oil annually (worth over US $ 1.9 billion) against 2.2 million tons of local production. The country presently produces only about one fourth of domestic demand, the annual plan added.
It further said that there is a large scope for edible oilseeds production. In Sindh sunflower cultivation has been successful and the support price of Rs 2220 per mound is also an incentive for small farmers to diversify their cropping patterns.
In Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, special initiatives for cultivation of olive are the steps in right direction. Particularly, the Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company’s (PAMCO) project of declaring Potohar region as an olive valley can be a significant development.
In this regard, PAMCO has taken an initiative to develop certified nurseries through private sector starting from Potohar including Attock, Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jehlum and Khushab districts. Investments in such avenues will boost long run agriculture growth and save foreign exchange by reducing edible oil imports.
The annual plan further said that the agriculture sector is expected to grow by 4 per cent in 2012-13 on the basis of expected contributions of major crops (3.8pc), minor crops (4.5pc), livestock (4.2%), fishery (2pc) and forestry (2pc).
The projection for major crops assumes wheat and rice to rech their potential level achieved in the past under normal circumstances, and no drastic fall in cotton and sugarcane output. The underlying assumption for minor crops growth is revival of chillies, edible oil and gram for convergence to their normal production, and recovery in production of pulses.