Major crops output remained on upward trajectory in 3 years
ISLAMABAD: The production of all major crops witnessed significant increase during the last three years of the present government, according to the “Three Years Performance Report 2018/21”, launched by the government on Thursday.
The government’s special emphasis on agriculture sector resulted in an increase in the production of all major crops, and the government introduced several measures to promote import substitutes.
The government had also launched 13 mega developmental projects under the Prime Minister National Agriculture Emergency Programme for the overall development of the agriculture sector and steps were also taken to facilitate exports and enhance local exports of agriculture goods.
The export facilitation actions helped in restoration of exports of citrus and guava to the UK and Norway in compliance with their Sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, which were suspended since 2014.
To enhance the local exports of fruits and vegetables, the government had also established hot water treatment facilities for mango and resultant increase in exports of the fruit, besides record export volumes of onion in 2020, which was registered at 24,503 tonnes.
Meanwhile, rice exports increased 11 per cent during 2018/2020 and a record increase in the production of major crops was witnessed such as wheat increased 8.1 per cent, as the total wheat production reached 27.293 million tonnes as against 25.249 million tonnes during the same period last year.
Meanwhile, a 7.4 per cent increase in maize production was recorded, as the total output of maize registered was at 8.465 million tonnes, compared with 7.883 million tonnes during the same period of the last year.
The local production of rice, which was another major cash crop of the country and vital component of exports earning grew 13.6 per cent and the total production was recorded at 8.419 million tonnes as against 7.414 million tonnes of the last year.
During the period under review, sugarcane production increased 22 per cent and the total production was registered at 81.009 million tonnes as against 66.380 million tonnes last year.
During its first three years tenure, the present government had also introduced policy initiatives, including subsidy on Rabi and Kharif crops worth Rs6 billion for fertiliser, seed and pesticides, besides a markup subsidy worth Rs4 billion at 10 per cent for all farmers holding 12.5 acres land through Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited.
The government also ensured food security in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic and maintained strategic wheat reserves through timely procurement and import, besides ensuring certified seed availability of wheat and cotton crops to the growers.
The Locust Emergency and Food Security Project (LEAFS) worth $200 million has been approved and signed by the government and is being made operational for institutional strengthening of the Department of Plant Protection, the report said.
The government had also concentrated to reduce the huge reliance on imported edible oil, which was consuming billions of dollars every year and in three years undertaken several initiatives for the promotion of olive cultivation on commercial scale in Pakistan.
Other initiatives included the cultivation of olives on more than 1,000 acres of land across the country and installed drip irrigation system on 1,639 acres, as water saving technology to conserve swiftly depleting very important natural resources for bringing more area under the high-value crop production.
The government has also established five weather stations and three value addition labs for the promotion of the agriculture sector.
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