Agriculturists all over the world have developed certain unusual methods by which they successfully cultivate the crop plants. It is only in recent year’s plant physiologists discovered how plant hormones can be effectives used in agriculture, horticultures, pomiculture and other related fields. As described earlier, plant hormones have a wide variety of effects and most of these responses are concentration dependent. Fortunately phyto chemists have also identified many synthetic hormones, some of which are more potent than natural hormones. Experimentation and experience have shown that the judicial use of hormones or combination of hormones can be employed in agriculture and related industries to get the maximum benefit. Quantity and quality of agricultural products are very important factors in the agricultural economics. How best the phytohormones can be utilized in this direction requires imagination and training.
There are many areas in agriculture, horticulture, pomiculture, moriculture, etc., where phytohormones can be used in successful cultivation to obtain greater yield. The high percentage of germination of sown seeds in the field has a bearing on the output. Pretreatment of seeds with IAA, NAA, GA, etc. has been found to be very effective not only in increased the percentage of germination but also in the total yield of the crop plants. Suitable concentration and combination have to be determined for each and every crop plants.
The overall growth of plants, number of tillers and branches that produce from every plant in the field contribute to the total yield. Use of GA or IAA greatly enhances the growth of plants and total area of leaf surfaces. Some morphactins can also be used to produce more tillers. In the case of sugar cane, use of GA has been found to increase the length of the internodes and also the sugar content.
Plants can be multiplied by vegetative propagation. Many horticultural plants are propagated by this way. The success of this method depends upon rooting. Hormones like NAA and IBA are very effective in inducing roots in stem cuttings. These hormones can also be used fro in grafting propagation. This way most of the plants can be propagated in large numbers and is quick time.
Use of hormones like IAA, NAA, IBA and Gibberellins ensures fruit setting and many of the fruits which develop from such hormone treatments are seedless, larger in size and sweeter in content. In many cases the total yield will be very high. Quantitatively and qualitatively such products yield more income to the farmer. Grapes, apples, oranges, mangoes and other fruit yielding crop plants can be treated with some of these phytohormones for the better yield. Furthermore, these hormones prevent premature falling of fruits, otherwise nearly 50-70% of the set fruits fail to mature and most of them fall off because of the formation of abscission layer in their stalks.
Preservation of agricultural products before marketing is another area in which hormones can be used effectively. Tubers, rhizomes, bulbs and such products sprout while they are stored. This will affect the farmer in terms of financial gain. Some of the synthetic hormones like NAA, maleic hydrazide can be used to preserve the said products for quite a period of time, thus one can improve the keeping quality of agricultural products.
Another judicial use which can be commercially exploited is the use of GA and other hormones in inducing flowering in unseasonal periods. But one should known which hormone is effective on which plant; otherwise phytohormones fail to produce the desired results.
Today farming is labor oriented and economically it is becoming impossible. Particularly removing weeds in the field is a nuisance, costly and time consuming. However specific synthetic hormones are available in the market to destroy the weeds selectively. 2, 4-D, 2, 4, 5-T can be sued in paddy fields to destroy weeds. Similarly, monocot grasses can be destroyed by using specific weedicide hormones. Sometimes, water hyacinth and such water plants grow and multiply so fast they spread and establish their population in large tracts of tanks and streams. This causes considerable damage to water storing capacity of tanks. For example, 2 methyl 4 chloro 5 isopropyl phenoxyacetic acids can be effectively used to destroy water hyacinth and save the tanks. Thus one can use different hormones for different purposes; it can be far good or far bad. It is left to the man who uses it.
Application of plant hormones:
Since the days of Haberlandt attempts to grow plant cells, tissues and organs in an artificial but defined nutrient medium have met with great success. Various methods have been established to raise plantlets starting from single cells, pith, leaf, roots, etc. By modulating the nutrients and hormonal concentration, it is possible to regenerate the entire plant body from any living cell from any part of the plant body, which suggests that all cells are totipotent. Hormonal concentrations play a significant role in culturing explants into undifferentiated callus and callus to differentiate into roots, shoots or the entire plant from eh callus.
Plantlets from Callus:
Tissue culture techniques have been very well exploited in understanding the role of different hormones and their interaction in organogenesis. Such systems offer excellent experimental materials for biochemical or molecular studies. Tissue explants in the presence of a particular concentration of auxin, proliferate and produce an undifferentiated mass of cells called callus. However, further growth of the callus depends upon the availability of cytokinin, for the callus by itself cannot synthesize cytokinins.
The callus cells can be further induced to develop into shoots, roots or both by providing auxins and cytokinins in a defined ratio. As shown in the figure, at high ratio of auxin to cytokinin callus produces only shoots, at lower ratio the callus induces only roots, but at an intermediate ratio both shoots and roots develop. In certain tissues, by manipulating the concentration of auxin, cytokinins and gibberellins one can induce flowering directly from the callus.
Tissue culture methods can be employed in propagating somoclonal variations from the same callus. By inducing numerous plantlets from the single callus, the plantlets can be transplanted to field conditions and then desirable varieties can be elected in a shortest possible time. This is because cells in the callus show cot of variation in the chromosomal number. Tissue culture systems also provide an opportunity to understand the effects of each hormone, nutrients, interactions between the hormones and their effects on plant systems. Using the same methods, it is also possible to study molecular events that lead to organogenesis. The potentiality of this technique in the applied fields like horticulture, agriculture and other related fields is great; actually thee is not limit. These methods can be employed to create haploid plants from pollen grains, which is very useful in hybridization techniques.
Somatic Cell Hybridization
Protoplasts: Plant cells from leaves, stem and roots, for that matter from any source, can be separated from one another by subjecting the tissues to certain cell wall digesting enzymes like pectinases. The enzyme pectinase digests the middle wall, thereby the cells get separated. Once the cells are freed from one another, cellulase can be used to remove the surrounding cell walls. The resultant cells lacking is cell walls are called protoplasts which contain only plasma lemma as the outer membrane and such cells assume spherical shape.
Insolated protoplasts can be used for single cell cultures in a defined medium and the calluses can be obtained from such cells. Further, embryoids or organs can be raised from such callus tissue. For every plant species the defined nutrient medium has to be determined for obtaining callus and plantlets.
Protoplasts obtained from two different species can be forced or induced to fuse with one another by various methods. It can be done by treating the protoplasts with polyethylene glycol (PEG) or (X) viruses. These agents make the cell membrane labile and favor the binding of the membranes between two protoplasts. Once the cells bind to each other, the membranes fuse with one another leading to the fusion of cytoplasm between the cells. If the protoplasts thus fused belong to two different species variety or genera, the product is called as somatic cell hybrid.
It is also very important to note that just fusion of two cells by their cytoplasm is not an end. The fusion of nuclei is also very important. Once the nuclei fuse, the hybrid cell is ready for propagation. Such cells can be plated onto a defined medium which is suitable for the development of both the species. In such a medium the hybrid cell divides and redivides to produce the callus; again by manipulating hormonal combinations and nutrient media, it is possible to induce plantlets from such callus. The success of these methods requires a large number of trial and error experimentations, where one has to determine the suitable media for each species and then one has to obtain another proper medium to make the hybrid cells to respond. The success of these techniques required efforts and imagination and lastly the luck.
Introduction of recombinant DNA into protoplasts:
Protoplast culturing techniques can be very well exploited in incorporating exogenously supplied DNA into protoplasts. When protoplasts are incubated in a known medium containing DNA, the cells take up DNA slowly. The amount of DNA that is incorporated into the cells has to be determined. More than that, the entry of DNA into the cell is not enough; the DNA has to reach the nucleus and it has to be incorporated into the host chromatin. The DNA that is supplied may belong to different species or it may be recombinant DNA of a known gene or gene(s). The DNA can also be injected into the nucleus directly by simple injecting transgenic techniques. If the protoplasts incorporate such supplied DNA into their nuclei, then the protoplasts can be cultured. One can develop a new species from the said techniques. However, one has to find out suitable factors for the expression of incorporated genome. These methods have been successfully employed in many laboratories.
In recent years the technique of cloning of known or desired gene has been perfected. A cloned gene can be transferred to a bacteria or a phage easily and the same can be made to express. The same technique can be used to transfer known genes into animal cells by directly injecting the known genetic material into zygotes and by transplant back into uterus it possible obtain the offspring with the exogenously supplied DNA incorporated into the chromatin material unfortunately plant cells are not amenable for such techniques. However, the plasmids from Agrobacterium tumefaciens (which causes can be like tumors are plants) have been isolated and characterized. Methods have been developed to inactivate the plasmid into harmless structure, but such plasmids are still active when transferred as exogenously supplied genetic material. By transferring known genes with using such plasmids it can be used as an effective vector to transfer genes into protoplasts or to the living plant itself either by rubbing the plants into wounds or by using a gene gun. By this was many desirable games can be introduced into different plants.
Application of somatic cell hybridization techniques:
Somatic cell hybridization is a reality, but this is a technology of the twenty first century. The success of this technology has raised new hopes in mankind. Already plant technologists have succeeded in fusing different species of tobacco protoplasts and also they have obtained a complete plant put of such somatic cell hybrids. The fusion of potato and tomato protoplasts has produced pomato. But this hybrid has yielded plantlets which are capable producing a tuber like structures in the terminal region than at the base of the plant. What one wishes is to obtain hybrids which can yield two crops by a single plant.
The most ambitious project that man is
thinking of is to develop plant and animal cell hybrid. In fact, the hybrids between HeLa cell (Human cell line) and an yeast cell has been achieved. What futurist plant genetic engineers expect is to fuse a plant cell with an animal cell and make the plants to produce animal tissue. Ex. Plants producing pork or animal cell proteins can be used as vegetables. Though the wishes are wild the success of such dreams are becoming a reality.
Similarly introducing of recombinant DNA into protoplasts has generated great expectations in the field of agriculture. For example, if nitrogen fixing genes are introduced into cereal crop plant cells, the plants obtained from such experiments do not need nitrogen fertilizers. It saves the farmer from providing nitrogen fertilizers and saves him lot of money. Similarly, introduction of some protein coding genes, which yield proteins of good nutritional value, should be performed for the good of the people. It is of immense help in saving man from malnutrition. So the application value of this technology has no limit. Many industries have been established to develop new varieties of plants and plant products which have a greater commercial value. The present world’s population is reaching seven billion. The food crop plants are monocot grass family members. Agricultural land area is shrinking for industries are using such lands. Farmers are finding it difficult manage faring for the income is not good and sustainable. Their children are moving out villages to cities for easy jabs. The only way that one can increase to yield is to use genetic engineering technology. There are many half backed people or scientist appose without knowing the details.
Rice research remains an important global undertaking to ensure an adequate food supply for sustainable food security of the poor. Improved technologies for rice productivity growth are critical for achieving food security and reducing poverty in the face of increasing competition for land, labor, and water and the challenges posed by global warming.
WASHINGTON, December 15, 2017– The World Bank today approved $300 million to modernize agriculture in Punjab province, Pakistan to raise farmers’ incomes, give consumers better quality and safer food at lower prices, create jobs on farms and agribusinesses, and improve the use of irrigation water.
The resources provided by the World Bank will be part of a larger program by the Government of Punjab that aims to better harness the enormous potential for farming in the province, with its fertile soils and extensive irrigation system. It addresses the paradox that while Punjab’s farmers earn too little, people pay high prices for low quality food. This situation is largely the result of farm policies that have hardly changed in the last 50 years. These include extensive subsidies that are inefficient and ineffective, and government spending that does not provide widespread benefits and results in wasteful water use.
“Agriculture in Punjab has great potential but requires a paradigm shift to unlock growth opportunities,” said Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “The Government of Punjab is determined to help farmers grow high-value crops and significantly increase their incomes. The program is estimated to create 350,000 jobs and lift 1.7 million people from poverty. The Bank stands ready to support the Government of Punjab in this exciting endeavor.”
The World Bank-supported Strengthening Markets for Agriculture and Rural Transformation (SMART) project will support much-needed reforms for agriculture and livestock productivity, improve agriculture’s resilience to climate change, and foster agribusiness in Punjab over the next five years. It will also reduce inequality and expand opportunities for women and youth.
The project will shift PKR 55 billion (about $520 million) a year that is currently spent on inefficient and ineffective subsidies towards ‘SMART’ input subsidies for small farmers, agricultural research and farmers’ training, and support for high-value and climate-smart agriculture. Additionally, SMART will help improve the sustainability of agricultural production by strengthening the management of irrigation water, and help tackle ground water depletion.
“Key reforms supported by the project include the transition towards high value agriculture, which will substantially raise farm incomes and employment in Punjab,” said Hans Jansen, Senior Agriculture Economist at the World Bank. “This will be done by shifting resources away from ineffective subsidies towards supporting farmers to produce higher value products such as vegetables, fruits, pulses, oilseeds, milk and meat, whose demand is growing many times faster than lower value crops such as wheat.”
The SMART project is supported through the World Bank’s Program-for-Results (PforR) financing instrument. PforR’s unique features include using a country’s own institutions and processes, and linking disbursement of funds directly to the achievement of tangible results.
Certain forward-thinking people square measure reinventing farming as we all know it. Indoor, organic urban farms growing food vertically victimization husbandry and aquaponic principles, square measure maturation round the country. The push for different ways of raising food follow partially, on the heels of native governments outlawing owners from growing vegetable gardens in their yards, and forcing folks to tear out existing, healthy gardens. supplying the wheels of amendment square measure the county, state and central wittingly making an attempt to destroy the organic phenomenon with chemtrails, pesticides, growth hormones and GMOs, as they alter the terribly molecular nature of our food. These actions move the guts, stimulate rage, emotion and worry, and force humans to vary to survive or die.
Looking for alternative routes to feed themselves and also the community, massive and little different husbandry ventures square measure shooting up all over. Smaller ventures like the Urban Hydro Project in state capital, Tennessee is that the farm-child of Jeffery Orkin; and his efforts square measure paying off. A demand community support in late 2012 raised over $3,300 in donations, enough cash for Orkin to shop for materials to increase his fledgling indoor organic garden on the highest floor of a domicile building in state capital. though the Urban Hydro Project has solely a hundred thirty five sq. feet of floor house, the space has twelve foot ceilings, and Orkin plans to plant to the ceiling. lovely organic vegetables square measure mature victimization farming, wherever no soil is employed. Orkin says this is often a additional economical methodology of production, and one that produces higher yields and higher tasting organic food year spherical.
While the Urban Hydro Project continues to expand and thrive in state capital, FarmedHere up up outside of Chicago and claims the respect of being the most important indoor vertical farm within the U.S.. based by Jolanta Hardej, it’s placed in a very Brobdingnagian ninety,000 square measure abandoned warehouse in Bedford Park, Illinois. Hardej had the vision as so much back as 2008 to grow contemporary, organic manufacture victimization aquaponic techniques, and no soil. Like Orkin, Hardej says the vegetables square measure higher tasting than once historically mature. Plants at FarmedHere square measure mature in multiple stacked levels and fed by mineral-rich water circulated throughout the system from fish tanks containing hormone-free genus Tilapia fish.
FarmedeHere is trying to provide over a million pounds of contemporary, organic foliate greens, freed from chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and GMOs.
Indoor farming provides property choices As additional tight government rules square measure place in situ dominant individual freedoms, and larger efforts square measure created to change the essence of food by companies like Monsanto, the provision of organic, life-staining foods can diminish. because the air and land square measure poisoned chemically and different corrupting parts in a trial to marginalise life, different means that of growing food are going to be required for people who square measure willing to fight to survive the system.
· Indoor husbandry comes like these et al round the country manufacture organic food year spherical, beneath excellent temperature, wetness and lighting conditions
· because of the controlled growing atmosphere, indoor farms offer property agriculture for all — the house gardener, native tailgate markets, and huge food chains such Whole Foods, inexperienced Grocery, and different massive grocery chains tightened organic foods
· Growing manufacture with farming is feasible for individual owners by fixing a special growing station in their homes, garages or sheds. Some vertical growing instrumentality is moveable and may be captive outside in hotter weather if desired.
· Indoor vertical farming incorporates a little footprint, permitting people to grow food victimization aquaponics or farming off from curious government eyes. in addition, little or massive indoor community gardens square measure attainable in smaller-sized buildings, allowing teams to make gardens, purchase provides and share contemporary vegetables along.
Trade between Pakistan and India should be promoted by protecting the rights of stakeholders particularly the growers. It was recommended by the roundtable conference titled “improving economic governance in agricultural sector through trade liberalisation between Pakistan and India” arranged at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. The recommendation was made by the UAF Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan while Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Pro Chancellor Syed Babar Ali, MNA and Parliamentary Secretary Rana Afzal, Farmers Association Pakistan President Tariq Bucha and other progressive farmers were present on the occasion. While informing the audience about recommendations, the Vice Chancellor suggested the identification of the seasonal window for the commodities. He quoted the examples of potato which has peak season in August and September in India and in Pakistan it has the peak season in October and November. The conference also recommended that trust deficit between the two countries needs to be bridged through dialogue. The strengthening of the domestic production market is also essential to tap the potential of the sector. The Vice Chancellor said India is the big market of around one billion of the people. He said the trade with the seasonal window would open up new chapter of progress. He also sought the policy interventions in this regard to flourish the sector in Pakistan. He said India is providing the highest subsidy on the electricity. Even in the Indian Punjab, the subsidy on tube wells is amounting to Rs 1trillion. Syed Babar Ali said we need to tap the potential in flourishing the agricultural sector by promoting the state-of-the-art technologies in the country. He said China has made tremendous work in the garlic. Our country can do the same. We have to get the benefit from others experience. He said 70 percent of the population is directly or indirectly linked to the agricultural sector that must be strengthened. He also suggested setting up entrepreneurship cell at the UAF in order to equip the youth with the skill and to transform the knowledge into goods and services. MNA Rana Afzal said the Government is making all-out efforts to strengthen the agricultural sector in the country. He said the recommendations to be made before the government. He said agriculture is the backbone of our economy, contributing 21 percent in the Gross Domestic Product. Tariq Bucha urged the government to take the tangible steps to address the issues of the farming community. He said at least ten percent of the budget must be allocated for the agricultural sector. He said in the process of trade policy formulation, the farmers must be taken on board. ORIC Director Professor Dr Asif Ali, Dr Abdul Ghafoor, Dr Waseem Ahmad, Dr Mubashair Mehdi, Director Ayub Agriculture Research Institute Dr Abid Mehmood, Aiwan-e-Zarat President Dr Sadique Naseem and others also attended the meeting.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan enrolled 19 companies in corporate agricultural farming last month. Most of them are in seed, poultry and feed businesses. It is, however, not immediately clear if any of these plan to invest in the vegetable and crop sector.
Nevertheless, a growing number of companies are enrolling in corporate farming, which has revived hopes of fresh investment in different areas of agriculture in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Major business groups are investing in corporate farming,” says Afaq Tiwana, one of the key architects of the policy framed in the early 2000s to attract foreign and domestic corporate agriculture farming.
“Numerous corporations have invested in dairy farming and halal meat since the adoption of the policy, and I expect many to invest in vegetables soon. I also know that several major textile companies are considering joint investment in cotton crop to grow quality fibre [to meet the requirements of foreign customers].”
The corporate agricultural farming ordinance was drawn to offer wide-ranging incentives to corporations to attract foreign and domestic capital in large-scale agricultural production.
It was hoped at that time that investors from Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE will lease or buy large tracts of barren and uncultivated state and private land, and invest their capital to grow food crops to be exported back home. But the plan didn’t work out according to the script.
“Initially, some Gulf investors showed their desire to lease and buy land for corporate farming. Most were interested in productive, fertile land. But the plan could not pick momentum due to deteriorating security conditions in the country,” says Midrar ul Haq, a Peshawar-based agriculture and environment consultant.
Corporate agricultural farming is believed to have tremendous promise for attracting foreign investment, as many countries try to achieve food security. The South Koreans, Chinese, Saudis, Japanese and others have acquired farmlands in Laos, Cambodia, Madagascar, Burma, Uganda, Ethiopia, Brazil and other Central Asian countries in recent years. Large Indian companies like Tata and Reliance are also said to have invested heavily in this area.
The law adopted by Pakistan offers numerous attractive incentives to potential investors. It declared corporate agricultural farming as an industry, made sufficient bank credit available for corporate entities, gave several fiscal and tax concessions like zero-rating imports of machinery (not manufactured locally), did away with the upper ceiling on landholding for registered agricultural companies, allowed 100pc foreign ownership with checks on repatriation of investment and profits, and exempted transfer of land from taxes.
“It is one of the most attractive and liberal packages offered anywhere in the world to corporations and investors,” a Punjab agriculture department official argues. “If no foreign investor has come, it is not because of any flaw in the incentive package, but because of insecurity and political instability gripping the country for last 7-8 years.”
Meanwhile, Afaq Tiwana clarifies that the incentives were not necessarily meant for foreign investors.
“The law was enacted to comfort investors that the legal cover is there, so they can come and invest in this sector. It was essentially meant to allow corporations to own and lease land for agricultural farming. Many major local investors like Mian Mohammad Mansha and Jehangir Khan Tareen have put money in it.
“Foreign investors demand very large tracts of land, which are difficult to acquire from private landowners. Only the state can provide such large tracts, which the government is not prepared to give,” he says.
Corporate agricultural farming has many advantages. It helps transfer modern technology, raises output, cuts input costs, improves food security, prevents fragmentation of cultivable land, creates much-needed — backward and forward — linkages between agriculture production, processing and marketing, and pushes industrial growth.
Nevertheless, the promulgation of the ordinance triggered a debate against the government’s decision to encourage corporate farming. Many said it would displace small landholders, create massive unemployment and increase poverty. Afaq dismisses these apprehensions.
“Those who invested in corporate dairy farming imported technology, management and animals. This is the route that other sectors of the economy also need to take to progress,” he argues. “I don’t agree with people who say that development of corporate farming will create unemployment or make people landless,” he says.
“Corporate farming speeds up the development of the services sector, which will create thousands of better paying jobs and urbanise our rural population. In America, for example, only 2pc of the population is actively involved in the fields. But a far bigger number of people are earning their livelihood in the services and industrial sectors, which are connected with and dependent on agriculture through backward and forward linkages.
“We have to decide if we want to keep our [rural] people the way are, or improve their living conditions and give them better jobs and increase their access to urban facilities. This will happen when only a fraction of them are producing food and other crops and the rest of them will be working in the services and industrial sectors,” he says.
Pakistan’s agriculture seed market is worth almost $ 1500 million and it has huge potential and opportunities for investors. DG Federal Seed Certification & Registration, Syed Muhammad Nasir Ali expressed these views while talking to APP here on Sunday. He said that investment in agriculture seed and supply of certified seed was important not only to boost agriculture sector but also overall economy of the country. He said the value of seed produced in Pakistan was $ 500 million while the value of imported seed was $ 300 million which showed a market gap for investment of $ 700 million. He said certified seed availability of major crops in Pakistan was just 20 per cent while authorities had set a target for certified seed availability of 30 percent for the next year. He said the share of the public sector in seed availability was 22 per cent while private sector’s share was 78 per cent. He said that there were four public sector seed organisations while five multinational seed companies and 789 national seed companies were operating in the private sector.
1.1 General The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is an ancient Southern Asian country, bordering the Arabian Sea to the North, with India on the East, Iran and Afghanistan on the west, and China in the north. Pakistan mainly comprises of four provinces, Balochistan, North West Frontier, the Punjab and Sindh Pakistan.
Despite movements of the population from farms to cities, the country remains predominantly rural. Almost three fourths of the population lives in rural areas. The literacy rate of Pakistan in 2004 was estimated to be 54 percent (of which 66.25 percent is male and 41.75 percent is female), which is still behind other countries of the region.
Pakistan’s economy is characterized by a predominance of agriculture, a strong industrial base with a large domestic market, and an ample supply of skilled human resources. In general, Pakistan enjoys a well developed physical infrastructure and good communication facilities.
The population in Pakistan, since its inception in 1947, has more than quadrupled to 164.74 million, as of July 2007. The production of wheat, a staple food crop, has increased only three fold. The gap between food supply and demand requires great effort to increase agricultural production while ensuring self-sufficiency in food commodities.
1.2 Agricultural Mechanization Agriculture plays a pivotal role in Pakistan’s economy. About 22% of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 44.8% of total employment is generated in agriculture. It also provides a substantial base to Pakistan’s export. Agriculture also contributes to the growth as a supplier of raw materials to the industry, as well as the market for industrial products. Nearly 65.9% of the country’s population living in rural areas is directly or indirectly linked with agriculture for their livelihood. Whatever happens to agriculture, it is bound to affect not only the country’s growth performance but to a large segment of the country’s population as well.
The major crops grown in the country are wheat, rice, maize, cotton, and sugarcane. The area under these crops are 8.35, 2.51, 0.98, 3.2, and 0.97 million hectares, respectively. The annual production of wheat, rice, and maize are 21.61, 5.02, and 2.79 million metric tons, respectively, whereas the annual production of cotton and sugarcane are 14.26 million bales and 47.24 million metric tons, respectively (Anon., 2005-06).
Agricultural mechanization is selective in Pakistan and the only operations that are mechanized are those for which there is a constraint of labor or power, or a combination of both. The effects of mechanization are positive overall: it has not only increased on-farm income and labor productivity but also generated off-farm employment in manufacturing, supply/servicing of agricultural machinery, supply of other inputs and post-harvest handling of increased agricultural production. The most popular forms of agricultural machinery in Pakistan are bulldozers, power rigs, tubewells and tractors with cultivators, wheat threshers, sprayers and trailers. Mould board ploughs and disc ploughs for deep tillage are also gaining popularity.
The bulldozers and power rigs are operated and maintained by the public sector on subsidized rates to farmers whereas tractors and other machines are owned by some farmers themselves. Farmers with medium-sized farms generally share their tractors and other farm machines with their neighboring small farmers on a rental basis. So far, agricultural engineering research has proved to be successful in Pakistan; a number of imported machines were modified by the research institutes and adopted by the farming community. In addition, a few machines/techniques were invented to assist the growers of different crops.
Area: total: 803,940 sq km land: 778,720 sq km water: 25,220 sq km
Climate: mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north
Terrain: flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m
Natural resources: land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone
Natural hazards: frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)
Current environmental issues: water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification