Agriculture is a vital sector of Pakistan’s economy and accounted for almost 30 percent of GDP annually, according to government estimates. The sector directly supports three-quarters of the country’s population, employs half the labor force, and contributes a large share of foreign exchange earnings. The main agricultural products are cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, and vegetables, in addition to milk, beef, mutton, and eggs. Pakistan depends on one of the world’s largest irrigation systems to support production.
The following are the main crops cultivated in Pakistan:
Wheat is a staple food used in manufacture of baked products. It is grown on Barani lands. Wheat is grown in Punjab, Sindh and some parts of K.P.K for cultivation of wheat. The temperature is favorable from October to May for the production of wheat. It does not need a lot of water. Pakistan is not self sufficient in wheat production and has to import wheat from foreign countries. It accounts for over 70% of gross cereals and over 36% of the country’s acreage is devoted to wheat cultivation.
Rice is a Kharif crop and needs a great deal of water and heat. It is known as “crop of water”. It is grown in Punjab and Sindh. North-eastern Punjab and Larkana district are main rice growing regions. The Irri, Basmati and desi varieties are grown in Pakistan. Basmati is the most famous variety of rice grown in Pakistan. Its highest acreage is in the north eastern part of Pakistan. Pakistan is the world’s fourteenth largest producer of rice. Pakistan produces about 6 million tons of rice a year.
Sugarcane is included in both Rabi and Kharif Crops. It is an important cash crop of Pakistan. It is a type of long grass “perennial” in nature. It is the most important and cheapest source of refined sugar. Gur,Alcohol and Desi Shakkar are also prepared from Sugar cane.The left out stalk fibers (bagasse) are used in the paper industries. It is cultivated in the spring season and harvested in November-December. It is mostly cultivated in canal irrigated areas of Punjab, KPK and Sindh provinces.
Cotton also known as the “Silver Fiber” is the most important cash crop of Pakistan. It is known to have been produced in the Indus plain since 3000 BC. Pakistan, ranks fifth in world cotton production and earns a large amount of foreign exchange from its export. It accounts for approximately one half of the all materials that are made into cloth and provides employment to 2/3rd of industrial labour force Cotton is a Kharif crop and is grown in canal irrigated areas of Punjab and Sindh and also in some parts of Baluchistan and KPK.