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Agriculture and Pakistan

The WTO’s Agriculture Agreement was negotiated in the 1986–94 Uruguay Round and is a significant first step towards fairer competition and a less distorted sector. It includes specific commitments by WTO member governments to improve market access and reduce trade-distorting subsidies in agriculture. WTO members agreed to initiate negotiations for continuing the agricultural trade reform process one year before the end of the implementation period, i.e. by the end of 1999. These talks began in early 2000 under the original mandate of Article 20 of the Agriculture Agreement. At the November 2001 Doha Ministerial Conference, the agriculture negotiations became part of the single undertaking.

Agriculture is one of the most contentious issues in the DDA negotiations as the major WTO member countries have vast differences mainly on the issues of Domestic Support (subsidies) and Market Access (tariffs). Developing countries want reduction/removal of various forms of subsidies and reduction in tariffs so that the prices in international markets are not distorted and developing countries get reasonable market access in the developed markets.

Pakistan is member of the Cairns Group (an alliance of 18 countries looking for ambitious outcome in the Market Access areas), G-20 (group for safeguarding interest of developing countries in agriculture negotiations) and the G-33 (group of developing countries and LDCs aiming to get preferential terms in Market Access and Special and Differential treatment).

 

Why does Agriculture matter for Pakistan?

Agriculture continues to be the single largest sector, a dominant driving force for growth and the main source of livelihood for 66 percent of the country’s population. It accounts for 20.9 percent of the GDP and employs 43.4 percent of the total work force. As such agriculture is at the center of the national economic policies and has been designated by the Government as the engine of national economic growth and poverty reduction. Agriculture contributes to growth as a supplier of raw materials to industry as well as a market for industrial products and also contributes substantially to Pakistan’s exports earnings. Thus any improvements in agriculture will not only help country’s economic growth to rise at a faster rate but will also benefit a large segment of the country’s population. 
 
 

Production of various Agricultural commodities: Pakistan’s ranking in the World (Source: FAO STATS) 
Sr. No Commodity World Rank
  1 Buffalo Milk 2  
  2 Chick-Peas 2  
  3 Indigenous Buffalo Meat 2  
  4 Indigenous Goat Meat 2  
  5 Roots and Tubers nes 2  
  6 Okra 3  
  7 Apricots 4  
  8 Goat Milk 4  
  9 Mangoes 4  
  10 Dates 5  
  11 Onions, Dry 5  
  12 Pimento, Allspice 5  
  13 Spices nes 5  
  14 Sugar Cane 5  
  15 Pulses nes 6  
  16 Fruit Tropical Fresh nes 7  
  17 Sesame Seed 7  
  18 Cauliflower 8  
  19 Oilseeds nes 9  
  20 Spinach 9  
  21 Wheat 9  
  22 Indigenous Sheep Meat 10  
  23 Pistachios 10  
  24 Tobacco Leaves 10  
  25 Berries nes 11  
  26 Rapeseed 11  
  27 Eggplants 12  
  28 Oranges 12  
  29 Rice, Paddy 12  
  30 Tang.Mand.Clement.Satsma 12  
  31 Jute-Like Fibres 13  
  32 Lentils 13  
  33 Wool, Greasy 13  
  34 Almonds 14  
  35 Cantaloupes&oth Melons 14  
  36 Eggs, excluding Hen 14  
  37 Peas, Green 14  
  38 Sunflower Seed 14  
  39 Fruit Fresh nes 15  
  40 Pumpkins, Squash, Gourds 15  
  41 Castor Beans 16  
  42 Cow Milk, Whole, Fresh 17  
  43 Jute 17  
  44 Millet 17  
  45 Peas, Dry 18  
  46 Safflower Seed 18  
  47 Vegetables Fresh nes 18  
  48 Garlic 20  
  49 Nuts nes 20  
  50 Walnuts 20  
         
  F = FAO estimate | * = Unofficial figure