Agricultural Crops of Pakistan
Agricultural activities in plain areas of Pakistan are performed in two seasons.Those crops which are cultivated before the beginning of winter season and harvested in early summer are known as “Rabi Crops”.They include wheat ,barley ,grams,oil seeds,pulses e.t.c.But those crops which are grown in the beginning in summer and their picking or harvesting takes place in early winter are called “Kharif Crops”.These may include Rice,Sugarcane,Millets,Maize etc.The following are the main crops cultivated in Pakistan:
Sugar Cane (Cash Crop)
Sugar cane is an important cash crop of Pakistan.All available evidences indicate that Sugar Cane originated in Indo-Pak sub-continent.The description of sugar cane is found in the Indian mythological literature of 1000 B.C.
It is a type of long grass “perennial” in nature.The first crop is called “plant cane” and the succeeding crops are called “Ratoon Crops”.Although it is a plant of tropical regions but it can also be cultivated in sub-tropical areas.
Uses of Sugar Cane
Sugar cane is used for sweetening purposes.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 are as fuel and cattle food.
Favourable Conditions For Its Growth
Sugarcane is a crop of wet tropical lands .From eight to twenty four months elapse between 65 degree F to 85degree F.Little or no growth takes place at a temperature below 60 degree F.Frost is very dangerous to young cane and sever frost during the period of ripening causes inversion of the sucrose.The sugarcane needs a minimum of 250 frost free days.
Heavy precipitation is beneficial during the early and intermediate stage of crop growth,but a dry season is desirable before harvest.It grows well in areas having rainfall of more than 40 degree annually.It is very sensitive to dought conditions.Stagnant water is very damaging.In our country Sugarcane is cultivated in canal irrigated areas since the rainfall is below 20″ which is not sufficient.
Sugarcane can be grown on a variety of soils ranging from sandy loams the heavy clays but sill loams and clay loams are most suitable.It is grown primarily on both alluvial and red soils.The soil should contain some elements of lime,potash and nitrogen.
The best land for sugarcane is flat or undulating and fertile with topsoil that retains moisture and sub soils that permit drainage.Therefore the main Sugarcane area in Pakistan is located in the canal colonies of the fertile Indus valley.
In Pakistan,Sugarcane is cultivated in the spring season in the month of February or March.It is harvested in November or December .Sugarcane is included in both Rabi and Kharif Crops.It is a “perennial ” crop.The first crop is called “plant cane” and the succeeding crops are called “ratoon crops” .Generally good yields from ratoon crops are obtained only in one or two years.
Sugarcane Growing Areas
In Pakistan,a sub tropical continental climate milltates against the growing of thick canals.All the areas of our country are not suited to the growth of Sugarcane.It is mostly cultivated in canal irrigated areas of Punjab,N.W.F.P and Sindh provinces.
Faisalabad,Sargodha,Multan,Bahawalpur,Lahore and Gujranwala division are famouse for Sugar cane production.
Hyderabad division ranks first and Sukkur division second in the production of Sugar cane .
Mardan and Peshawar districts are at the top and some amount of Sugar cane is also produced in the districts of Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan.
Average And Production
The following table shows areas,production and yield per hectare of sugarcane during the last three years:
Period Area……………Production………..Yield Per Hectare
(000 Hectares)…………….(000 Tones)………..(Tones)
1989-90 854 ………………35494……………..41.56
Cotton (Cash Crop)
Cotton is considered to be the most important cash crop of Pakistan.Pakistan,ranks fifth in world cotton production.It is outstanding among vegetable,animal and synthetic fibers,accounting for approximately one half of the all materials that are made into cloth.Besides the preparation of a number of its products ,we also earn a large amount of foreign exchange from its export to other countries .Its importance may be estimated from the fact that it contributes 15% to the G.N.P The entire textile industry directly or indirectly depends upon it.It provides employment to 2/3rd of industrial labour force.
Biological And Historical Reference
Cotton is also known as the “Silver Fiber” .It is a wooly fibre surrounded around the seeds of the plant the longing to genus “Gossypium”.It is known to have been produced in the Indus plain since 3000 B.C.
Favourable Conditions For Its Growth
Humid tropical and sub-tropical savanna climates are both conductive to cotton growth .At the time of cultivation it requires temperature ranging between 80 degree F to 100 degree F but at the time of picking 50 degree F to 60 degree F temperature remains sufficient.Frost or severe cold is dangerous for its growth.As produced commercially,cotton requires a growing season of atleast 180 to 200 frost-free days.
A minimum precipitation amount of 20″ and a maximum of 40″ per year is considered to be the optimum requirement for cotton cultivation.The annual rainfall in Pakistan is less than 20″ which is insufficient ,so without artificial irrigation,cotton cultivation is not possible.It is for this reason that canal and tube well irrigated areas of Sindh and Punjab are devoted to cotton cultivation.The moisture should be comparatively even throughout much of the year but retarted during the harvesting period.
Cotton grows best on soils which retain moisture at their upper levels and are well drained at lower depths.Its favours alluvial soil but can do quite well on tighter soils if sufficient moisture is present to prevent excessive compaction around the plant roots.The use of natural or artificial manure is essential to maintain the fertility of soil.
Sea breeze is very helpful for the production of quality cotton.For this reason low lands near the sea (Sindh areas ) are considered to be ideal situations for its cultivation.
Cotton is a Kharif crop in Pakistan and is cultivated in the summer season.Sowing is mainly broadcast and begins in April in Sindh and in May or June in Punjab.In Sindh,picking starts from August.Whereas in Punjab it begins in September or October.Cotton mostly grows in rows and the minimum distance between row to row is kept about 11/2 feet .Similarly the minimum distance between plant to plant remain about 6″.
Cotton Growing Areas:
In Pakistan cotton is grown in canal irrigated areas of Punjab and Sindh and also in some parts of Baluchistan and N.W.F.P.
The province of Punjab has a network of canals leading out from the mighty river Indus and draining the are. (0 % of the crop depends Bahawalpur,Dera Ghazi Khan,Faisalabad,Sargodha,Lahore and Gujranwala constitute the cotton belt .In these areas the well-known variety of medium staple cotton is grown.A small quantity of Desi quality cotton is allowed to be grown for domestic use.Punjab produces a surplus quantity of cotton and after meeting the local requirements the rest of it is exported.
The province of Sindh also produces a considerable amount of cotton.The canal irrigated areas of Sindh,constituting Hyderabad and Sukkur division are the main cotton centres.Here both the American medium staple and Desi qualities of cotton are grown.Sindh also produces surplus quantity of cotton which is more than the local requirements.
Average And Production
The following table shows area,production and yield per hectare of cotton during the last three years:
Period…………..Area……………Production………………..Yield Per Hectare
……………….(000 Hectares)……..(000 Tonnes)…………………(kg)
1989-90 – 9550
1990-91 – 9553
1991-92 – 5916
(July to March)
Rice (Food Crop)
Importance of Rice in Pakistan:
Rice holds an important position among the cash crops of Pakistan.It fulfills the food requirements of our country but we also earn a lot of foreign exchange from its export.Besides it is an important raw material for manufacturing starch,paper ,sandals,hats,mattresses etc.grain as well as its husk is also used as fodder for cattle.
Biological and Historical References
Rice belongs to the genus “Oxygen”,two species of which are cultavated,”Oryza Glaberrima” and “Oryza Sativa”.The former is found only in tropical west African while the latter is found all over the rice growing areas..The exact origin of rice is not known but most of the research workers give this credit to South East Asi.After 1468 it was introduced in Italy from where it spread to european and many other contries of the world.
Favourable Coditions For Its growth:
Rice is a tropical plant.it requires high temperature during the growing season of 4 to 6 months.The temperature should be more than 80 degree F and in no way less than 70 degree F even for the quick maturing varieties.In Pakistan rice is cutivated only one a year i.e.early summer.Its cultivation is not possible in areas of severe cold or where the temperature goes below freezing point.
Rice is known as a plant of water.Its cultivation requires large amount of moisture.The annual rainfall should not be in any way leas than 40 “.The root of the rice plant should remain submerged in water for a long time.For 75 days the rice fields should have 6 ” of slow moving water.When the rice crops mature ,less water is required and during ripening season,the field should be almost dry so that it can be harvested easily.
The rice growing areas of Pakistan have an average annual rainfall of less than 20 ” .So the deficiency of rainfall has been met by the artificial arrangements of irrigation water through canals and tube wells etc.
With the exemption of sandy soils which are very permeable ,rice can be grown successfully on soils ranging from silt loam to clays .Alluvial soil is the most suitable soil for the rich growth of rice.Heavy clayey sub soil with water retaining capacity gives best results.
The flooding of rice fields requires level land and therefore river valleys,deltas and coasted plains are suitable areas,otherwise terracing is required.
System of Cultivation
There are two methods of rice cultivation:
1.Broad Cast Sowing:
This involves direct plantation of rice plants in the fields.
In this case sowing is first done in nursery beds.When the plants attain a height of 4 ” to 6 “,they are transplanted into big fields.This method is also called the Japanese method.It is the most scientific and beneficial method.By its practice ,the per acre production increases considerably.
Rice is mostly cultivated in rows and the distance from row to row is kept about 6 ” and from plant to plant remains 3 “.
Rice Growing Areas
Cultivation of rice is mainly confined to the low lying parts of the Punjab plain and the flooded rivers and canal areas of Sindh.To a small extent it is also grown in the submountain districts in the North and the canal irrigated areas.Rice cultivation in N.W.F.P .Baluchistan and Azad Kashmir areas is not more than 1 % to 2 % of their total areas.
In Punjab,the division of Lahore and Gujranwala rank at the top.Best equalities like Basmati,Parmal,Sukhdari,Irri-six etc. are grown in this part of Punjab.Besides somu rice is also cultivated in Shakhupura,Sargodha,Faisalabad,Multan and Bahawalpur divisions.
In the province of Sindh,the districts of Sukkur division are most famouse for good quality rice cultivation .Larkana district ranks at cultivated in Khairpur,Nawabshah and Hyderabad districts.The main qualities of rice which are common in the province of Sindh are Kangni,Beghi,Irri-8 etc.
Average And Production
The following table shows areas,production and yield per hectare of rice during the last three years:
Period…………Area………..Production…………….Yield Per Hectare
…………….(000 Hec)……..(000 Ton)……………….(kg)