Agricultural production declined significantly during H1-FY23 after the countrywide torrential rains provoked devastating floods in the year 2022, reports WealthPK. The heavy monsoon rainfall during the months of June, July and August inundated almost one third of the country, resulting in severe crop losses.
The floods coincided with the Kharif season. Consequently, all important crops sustained damages. Compared to the last year, rice reported the highest losses followed by cotton. Sugarcane and maize reported relatively lesser losses. According to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R), production of cotton and rice fell by 24.6 and 40 percent, respectively.Damages to important crops and livestock along with supply chain disruptions caused food shortages and worsened the food security situation by limiting the affordability and availability of food.
The damages were more pronounced in the Sindh province. Talking to WealthPK, Principal Scientific Officer at the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) Dr. Muhammad Iqbal said, “Pakistan has faced various challenges in recent years, impacting its agricultural sector's productivity and sustainability. Factors such as water scarcity, outdated farming practices, insufficient investment, and climate change have collectively contributed to the sector's stagnation. We need to revitalize our agriculture sector to boost its production.” Dr. Iqbal emphasised the modernization of agricultural practices, stating, "It is crucial for Pakistan to adopt advanced farming techniques and technologies to optimize production and mitigate the impact of climate change.
Implementing efficient irrigation systems and promoting sustainable farming practices, such as crop rotation and precision agriculture, can significantly enhance yield." He also highlighted the importance of investing in research and development to develop disease-resistant crop varieties and improve livestock genetics. "Investing in research is pivotal to ensuring food security and increasing the income of farmers," he added. Furthermore, Dr. Iqbal emphasized “the need for provision of adequate support to the farmers in the form of subsidies, access to credit facilities, and extension services.” "The farmers should be encouraged and incentivized to adopt modern farming methods. This can be achieved by providing them with the necessary resources and knowledge," he said.