Economics

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Pakistan?

Pakistan has numerous natural resources that are found across the country ranging from arable land to minerals.

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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. In 2012, the country produced between 23 and 25 million metric tons of wheat. For a long time, the country has been a net exporter of food except for some few years when it was adversely affected by drought. The significance of agriculture as a principal contributor to the GDP is country has declined over the years since the country gained its independence, and at the time it accounted for approximately 53% of the GDP. In 1993, agricultural harvest in the country was a so poor and the government introduced agricultural policies such as increasing support prices and expanding agricultural credit. As a result of these agricultural policies, the agriculture sector in the country grew by approximately 5.7% from 1993 to 1997. However, it has now declined to approximately 4%. Although agriculture is widely practiced throughout the country, it is more prevalent in the fertile regions, particularly in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab, which have been principal areas of agricultural practices for several centuries.

Livestock

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. Pakistan is largely a rural and agriculture-based country, and therefore animal husbandry plays a critical role in the country's economy, and it has been a major primary source of livelihood for thousands of farmers across the country. It is estimated that between 30 and 35 million people of Pakistan current labor force are engaged in livestock rearing.As of 1998, the livestock sector in the country accounted for about that 7% of the total agricultural output and about 9% of the country's GDP.

Fishing

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. Besides, there are also about 15 species of shrimp which is commercially exploited and 12 species of cephalopods, and 15 different types of lobsters. The inland water bodies in the country include dams, reservoirs, water locks, lakes, Rivers, and ponds, which cover a combined area of 8 million hectares. Fishing in Pakistan is under the management of the Fisheries Development Commissioner (FDC), which is under the ministry of agriculture livestock.

Forests

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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