Determinants of Higher Wheat Productivity in Irrigated Pakistan

Muhammad Iqbal, M. Azeem Khan, Munir Ahmad


While agriculture plays a vital role in overall performance of
the economy of Pakistan, its crop sub-sector contributes the major
portion to total value added in the sector. Wheat constitutes the most
important crop that contributed 12.1 percent towards value added in
agriculture and accounted for 37.18 percent of the total cropped area in
the country during 1999-2000 [Pakistan (2001)]. The performance of wheat
crop affects the overall growth rate, import bill, and nutritional
standard of our people especially, the urban poor. It occupies a pivotal
position for attaining national food-security goals. Wheat management in
complex farming systems is influenced by time conflicts in the
harvesting of preceding crops and the sowing of wheat, and interactions
due to residual effects on succeeding crops [Byerlee, et al. (1986].
Conventionally, less dynamism is found in wheat management practices,
especially when it is grown after cash crops like cotton, rice and
sugarcane. The rabi 1999-2000 was an exceptional season for wheat as
rice, cotton, and sugarcane crops succumbed to market forces which
ultimately resulted into heavy economic losses to the farming community.
Timely announcement of a quantum increase in the support price of wheat
is assumed to induce the farmers to deviate from usual wheat management
practices for better production. The payback to the presumed transition
in conventional wheat production practices was unprecedented.

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