What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Pakistan?

Rock salt that was mined in the Philippines.
Rock salt that was mined in the Philippines.

Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia and spans an area of 340,509 square miles, making Pakistan the 33rd largest country in the world. Pakistan has a population of more than two 212 million people making the country the 6th most populous country in the world. In 2016, it had a nominal GDP of $271 billion and GDP based on purchasing power parity $946, 667 million. In the same year, the per capita GDP was $1,561.According to economic complexity index the country was ranked the 67th largest country in export items. The fiscal year of 2015-2016 the country's exports were valued at $20.8 1 billion, and import stood at $44.76 billion. According to the World Bank, the country is endowed with resources and has the potential of developing. Pakistan has numerous natural resources that are found across the country ranging from arable land to minerals.

Arable Land

One of the main natural resources in Pakistan include arable land and the size of the arable land in the country has been fluctuating for several years, and in 2015 it was approximately 39.5% of the total land area. Agriculture in Pakistani plays a significant role and account for 20.9% of GDP as of 2014-2015. The principal crops cultivated and Pakistan includes rice sugar cane, cotton, and wheat, and all of them account for over 75% of the total crop output value. According to FAO, wheat is the most significant food crop produced in Pakistan and in 2005 the country produced an average of 21.6 million metric tons which was more than what was produced in the whole of African continent which was 20 million metric tons and almost as much as what was produced in South America which was 24.5 million metric tons. 


The livestock sector in Pakistan plays a critical role and contributes almost half of the value added in the agricultural sector, which is equivalent to almost 11% of the country’s GDP and it slightly higher than the crop sector. It is believed that Pakistan has about 56.7 million goats, 26.3 million buffaloes, 24.2 million cattle, 24.9 million sheep, and 0.8 million camels. All these animals produced about 29.4 72 million tons of milk, ranking the country the world’s fourth largest producer of milk. 


Fishing in Pakistan play a significant role in the country's economy, and the country has a coastline with stretches for a distance of about 650 miles. Fish is a major export item in the country, but fishing is still underdeveloped and still has the potential to develop and even more money to the country. The maritime zone in Pakistan is approximately 30% of the land area. Besides, the marine fisheries resources, Pakistan also has inland fishery resources, and it is estimated that the country has a potential of harvesting more than 1 million tons of fish every year from the marine sources alone, which include about 250 demersal fish and 85 pelagic fish species.


Forests in Pakistan cover approximately 4% of the total land area in the country, and they serve as the main source of paper, lumber, food, firewood, medicine, latex as well as serving as places of conservation for wildlife and ecotourism. The different types of forest spread out across Pakistan include the coniferous forests which are found in regions of altitude between 3,200 feet and 13,100 feet above sea level and subtropical dry forests which are found in areas of altitude of up to 3,200 feet above sea level and they are found mainly in Islamabad Gujarat, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, and Attock districts of Punjab. Other forests in the country include the tropical rainforests, the rivarian forests, and the mangrove wetland forests.

Environmental Challenges In Pakistan

In Pakistan environmental issues has been a major concern for a long time and the government has made some efforts to create a balance between economic development and environmental destruction.The country is a major importer of renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, and it is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels. In Pakistan, the Ministry of Environment is responsible for the conservation and protection of the environment. The major challenges facing Pakistan include pollution of water particularly from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural chemicals. Most of the population in the country has no access to potable water. Other major problems facing the country include desertification, soil erosion, and deforestation.


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