Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan’s economy. It contributes as much as 20 percent to the overall GDP of Pakistan. The agriculture sector provides employment to 42.3 percent of the country’s labor force. In Punjab, the food basket of Pakistan, 43.5 percent of the population is attached to this sector. Agriculture provides 65 percent of total exports of Pakistan, out of which cotton and cotton-based products contribute 73.2 percent.
Pakistan is the number 4 producer of cotton in the world. It is also one of the leading producers of wheat, rice, and sugarcane, milk, mango, citrus, and dates.Read more
With approximately 28 percent decline in cotton yield, the year 2015-16 proved disastrous for Pakistan’s agriculture economy. Independent agriculture experts and farmers have blamed genetically-modified cotton seeds as the major contributing factor which, they opine, failed to resist the pest attack resulting in colossal loss incurred by the growers’ community, as well as the country’s national economy in terms of decline in textile exports and annual economic growth.
The Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in his budget speech on June 4 this year also admitted on the floor of the National Assembly that cotton crop failure was a setback for the national economic growth in the outgoing fiscal year. The government missed the growth target which was recorded at 4.7 percent as against the set target of 5.5 percent. “During the Financial Year 2015-16 it (economic growth) has been provisionally recorded at 4.7 percent which is highest in the previous eight years. This performance could have been better if the cotton crop had not witnessed the loss of 28 percent due to which national economic growth was reduced by 0.5 percent,” conceded the federal finance minister during his budget speech.