Agriculture forms the backbone of the economy in Pakistan. It contributes with 21% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an annual growth of 2.7%.1 Although the contribution to the GDP is not impressive, but it generates productive employment opportunities for 44% of the country’s labor force and 62% of the rural population still depends upon this sector for livelihood.1;2 Agriculture in Pakistan plays a vital role to ensure food security for a relatively huge and growing population of 185 million people; ranking 6th globally.2 Besides that it is one of the major suppliers of raw materials to the industry, especially for cotton. Around 80% of the country’s total export earnings comes from agro-based products,3 showing the essential role of Agriculture within the economy of Pakistan.

The farm sizes in Pakistan are very small as in most of the other Asian countries. Approximately 89% of the farms in Pakistan are below 5 HA and cover 55% of the cultivated area.4

The main province for the agricultural production in Pakistan is by far the Punjab province. Punjab covers about 69% of the total cropped area of Pakistan, contributing a major share in the agricultural economy of the country by providing about 83% of cotton, 80% of wheat, 97% of the fine aromatic rice, 63% of sugarcane and 51% of maize to the national food production.3 The second most important province for agricultural produces is Sindh, especially for tomatoes, chilies and banana its contribution is higher than the province of Punjab. In addition all other cash and major food crops play also a significant role for the farmers in Sindh.

Most of the commercialized farms in Pakistan have access to water. In general around 80% of the cropped area is irrigated and 90% of the agricultural output comes from irrigated land.5 Besides the irrigation facility also the monsoon season play a key role for the agricultural production in Pakistan.

In Table 1 and 2 a short overview of the main agricultural facts and crops are highlighted for Pakistan.

Table 1: Key agricultural common characteristics of Pakistan

Table 2: Key agricultural commodities of Pakistan and their global ranking

Basically Pakistan has two crop seasons: 1. “Kharif” (first sowing season from April – June and harvested during October – December) with the main crops such as rice, sugarcane, cotton and maize and 2. “Rabi” (second sowing season from October – December and harvested in April – May) with main crops such as cereals and oil seeds.1

For the crop protection industry cotton is by far the main crop in Pakistan. It is planted in the province of Punjab (72% of cotton area) and Sindh. For the farmers in Pakistan it is an important cash crop – known as “white gold” – significantly contributing to the national economy. Based on the recent Kleffmann Group computations, the market share for cotton in the total Pakistan Market for crop protection products is around 60%, with insecticides as the main segment contributing approximately 66% to the total cotton market. Therefore by segments insecticides has the biggest market share in total, contributing around 70% to the Pakistani market.

The recent development indicates that the cultivated area decreased in comparison to last year around 0.2% around 2.8 Million HA during the season 2013-14. The major adoption of BT-varieties is the significant attribute for such a development. Interesting is the fact that BT-varieties were officially introduced in 2010,6 but the farmers were planting smuggled BT varieties from its neighbor country at least since 5 years, which can be even confirmed in the first AMIS (= Agricultural Marketing Information System) cotton study in Pakistan conducted by the Kleffmann Group in 2008, where many BT varieties could be identified. Currently 84% of the cotton area is cultivated under BT (see chart 1), whereas the BT penetration on the province level is different.

Chart 1: BT Cotton adoption in Pakistan 2011 and its provinces

(Source: amis®4you)

In 2012 more BT varieties were approved by the government of Pakistan; however these varieties do not express the most recent technology.6

The results from the Kleffmann Group amis® study indicates, that BT-121 is the most popular cotton variety, cultivated on 21% of the cotton area in Pakistan. On the provincial level, BT-121 seems to be very popular in Punjab (24% of the cultivated area), whereas in Sindh it covers 11% of the area.

In general it can be addressed that due to the adoption of BT technology, farmers could reduce their input costs for especially bollworm sprays (Bollworms or in general chewing pests are very challenging to control and cause massive destruction to the cotton crop), whereas the seed cost increased, but the decline for the crop protection product costs was higher, so in total it was a profitable adoption for the farmers in Pakistan.6 On the other hand the market for crop protection products against sucking pests, such as white fly is still significant, due to the easy possibility to be control such pests by strong agrochemical products.7

Besides cotton, rice and maize are two of the crops becoming more prominent in Pakistan.

Rice is on the one-hand the second most important food crop after wheat but on the other hand a very interesting cash crop for farmers. The recent development shows the increase of 3.6% of the cultivated area during the year of 2014 in comparison to the previous year. Rice was under 2.9 Million HA cultivation in Pakistan during the 2014 season.8 Its contribution to the agrochemical industry is around 12%.9 It is important to state that Pakistan is one of the two known countries producing high quality of fine aromatic (basmati) rice for the domestic and global market and therefore the availability of quality inputs (varieties, agrochemicals, fertilizers etc.) is essential to meet the domestic as well as the global standards.

Maize is currently one of the most profitable agricultural crops in the country. It is planted in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (mainly rain-fed) and Punjab. In the season of 2014-15 the production decreased by 5%, mainly due to less sown area in comparison to previous seasons.1 However according to the projection of experts few years back the maize production continuously grew until the last season of 2013-2014.10 For the Maize production, seed has been and still is the most important limiting factor; only 34% of improved seed is available in Pakistan.10 Therefore the potential for the seed companies by offering high quality seed is huge. Currently farmers in Pakistan are urging the government of Pakistan to approve GM or BT Maize varieties, for commercial farming, but no decisions have been made until now.

Besides the above mentioned crops also wheat, sugar cane, potatoes, fruits (especially Mangoes and Citrus) and vegetables are very important to farming in Pakistan.

Although Pakistan is an important player for global agricultural production for various crops such as cotton, wheat and rice, with its huge infrastructure for irrigation and its favorable climatic conditions, it is still away from the global and average yields per HA for its major crops. An illustration of the yields per HA from the main crops of Pakistan in global and different regional comparison (i.e. Europe, Africa and Asia) are demonstrated in the following (see chart 2).10 The message of the chart is, that Pakistan in comparison to global or regional averages is underperforming in the production for its major crops, due to low level of yields. For all demonstrated crops its average is below the Global, Asian and European yield average.

It is clear that with better farm management and practices, especially using quality seed and quality crop protection products and the governmental and institutional support it will be able to feed its growing population but also contribute to the wellbeing of its farmers.


1Pakistan Economic Survey 2014-15; 2World Bank Data 2014; 3www.agripunjab.gov.pk; 4Agriculture Census 2010 Pakistan; 5Bhatti et al. 2009; 6Nazli et al. 2012; 7Rao 2009; 8FAOSTAT; 9amisAgriGlobe; Tariq and Iqbal 2010;

1 CIA World Factbook; 2World Bank Data 2014; 3FAOSTAT; 4amis®Agriglobe®; 5Ministry of Agriculture 2010; 6James 2011; 7CNBC TV Program from 19.01.2013; 8Institutes of Pesticides Formulation & Technology; 9Agricultural Census (2005-06 &2010-11)


India is currently one of the fastest growing economies of the world. Measured by its country size, India is ranked at 7th position and by its population, which is estimated to be around 1.2 billion people, it ranks 2nd at the global comparison.1 Keeping the large population in mind, one can assume the importance and role of agriculture within the Indian economy. On the one side agricultural production is the key for the national food security and on the other 68% of the population still lives in rural areas by employing 50% of the total labor force.2 Besides that agricultural production is a major supplier of raw materials to the industry, especially in the case of cotton.

The value added by agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is around 18% with an annual growth of 1%.2 In total approximately 10% of India’s total export earnings are based on its agricultural sector.

One of the biggest resources of India is its arable land. With approximately 157 Million HA of arable land India ranks 2nd on the global comparison. Although India has a large arable area for its crop production, but crop yields are generally low in comparison with other countries (see Graphic); two main identified factors for the low yields according to experts are lack of adequate water supply and a poor rural infrastructure. In terms of total irrigated area, India ranks first,3 which is 41% of its arable area. The majority of the crop area in India depends on rainfall, where the monsoon season plays a significant role for the agricultural output.

The farm sizes in India are very small and tend to decline. The recent Agricultural Census (2010-11) reported that the average farm size in India is around 1.16 HA. In the last Census (2005-06), it was around 1.23 HA. 85% of the farms in India are below 2 HA and cover 44% of the operated area. Whereas the farms between 2 – 10 HA accounts for 14% by covering 45% of the area. The relatively large holdings (10 HA and above) account for 1% only but covering 11% of the total operated area.

Basically, India has two crop seasons, one “Kharif” (summer season, mainly affected by monsoon) and “Rabi”. Similar to the agricultural production in the region, “Kharif” crops are mainly rice, cotton, sugarcane and maize and main “Rabi” crops are cereals and oil seed crops, i.e. mustard and rape. As already indicated above the majority of the crop area in India depends on rain, whereas around 65 Million HA are equipped with irrigation. This is 41% of the arable area and besides that the biggest irrigated area worldwide.3

In Table 3 and 4 a short overview of the main agricultural facts and crops are highlighted for India.

Table 1: Key agricultural common characteristics of India.

Source: World Bank Data 2014

Key agricultural commodities of India and their global ranking. 

Source: FAOSTAT 2013

For the crop protection industry rice is the most important crop by value. Experts are of the opinion that its contribution is between 35 to 40% for the crop protection industry, where insecticides are the biggest segment.4 Also for herbicides and fungicides the current usage – according to experts – in India is very low in comparison to other rice producers and therefore in future both segments will be in an important role.

Besides that the seed business is becoming very interesting. Different research studies and reports have been recently published claiming that rice yields can be raised at least by 15 – 20% by adopting hybrid rice varieties.5 The reported area under hybrids in India is around 3%. Just for the comparison, in China, who is the biggest rice producer globally, the area under hybrid rice is around 53% and approximately 58% of its production depends on hybrids. Also the yields in India are very low. China, for example is looking to introduce new super hybrid varieties for rice by targeting 15 t/ha, whereas the yields in India are around 3.5 t/ha.3

There is also a current discussion about the introduction of BT rice varieties that appears close to commercialization in India, which may take some value from the insecticides sector. But until now, no announcements by the Government of India regarding BT rice have been made.

Cotton used to be the most important crop for the Indian crop protection market, but now has been overtaken by rice, due to the decline of its value as explained by experts mainly impacted by BT cotton. On the other hand BT cotton area and its trend are positive. India belongs to the 15 biotech-mega-countries (ranking 4th globally) and planted in 2011 a record area of 10.6 Million HA of BT cotton which occupies 88% of the total cotton planted area in India.6

In general, the development in the seed business has been very positive but due to the BT adoption, the value of insecticides decreased and the market for herbicides is estimated to be at a relatively low level in India for cotton. One of the main reasons is the low consumption of agrochemicals in general in India.

Cereals in India are the third most important crop by its value for the crop protection industry. The main segment is herbicides. Although the cultivated area is in a decreasing trend, but the crop protection market value is growing in experts’ perspective. On the global level, India is one of the top producers of for cereals. According to FAOSTAT rankings, India is the biggest producer for Sorghum and Millet and second biggest for Wheat, by keeping in mind, that India is still a low yield producing country.

In chart 2, it is clearly visible that the yields in India in comparison to global and regional averages are very low. Thus the potential in production increase due to yield increase in India is massive.

Besides that other crops such as fruits and vegetables (especially for exports, i.e. apples, grapes and mangoes) and oilseed rapes are also gaining importance and the crop protection markets are significantly moving towards a positive direction.

In total, according to experts the outlook for India, especially in the long-term is very positive. On the one side, new varieties and the adoption of GM crops is gaining importance within the public and private sector, but on the other side one should not ignore the potential of the agrochemical market. There is still a huge potential for the crop protection industry, especially by knowing that the current agrochemical consumption per HA by India is far from the world average, thus in India the current consumption is around 600g per HA in comparison to the 3000g per HA World average.7 Besides that the agrochemical consumption and its penetration amongst farmers is significantly low. The current agrochemical consumption in India is limited to 25% of the arable land.8 The main reason for this low level of consumption is basically the lack of awareness among farmers regarding the benefits of the use of crop protection products.

In general, it can be addressed that with more governmental support for agriculture and by providing a sustainable infrastructure, it is just a matter of time, when India will become the top producer for major agricultural commodities and the leading market for the seed and crop protection industry. The potential of the country is visible but has to be correctly utilized by the public and private sector together.

Chart 2: Comparisons of yield (t/ha) for major crops in India and Pakistan with different regional and global averages.

Source: Own illustration based on FAOSTAT


Tasleem Ahmed

Regional Manager Africa & Middle East

Kleffmann Group 



1 CIA World Factbook; 2World Bank Data 2014; 3FAOSTAT; 4amis®Agriglobe®; 5Ministry of Agriculture 2010; 6James 2011; 7CNBC TV Program from 19.01.2013; 8Institutes of Pesticides Formulation & Technology; 9Agricultural Census (2005-06 &2010-11)