Determinants of Higher Wheat Productivity in Irrigated Pakistan

Publication Year : 2001

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.