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Punjab’s agriculture growth registers steep fall: report


THE share of agriculture sector, which has traditionally been the mainstay of Punjab’s economy, has registered a fall in the gross provincial product from 31 per cent to 20.3 per cent between financial year 1991and financial year 2007 and water has become scarce both for irrigation and drinking needs in this land of five rivers, according to Punjab Economic Report 2007 issued by the Department of Planning and Development here on Tuesday.

The only consolation, says the report, is that “the manufacturing and services sectors have registered an increase”. Overall, however, Punjab’s Gross Provincial Product (GPP) in fiscal year 2007 grew at 7.8 per cent over the previous year which, in absolute terms, amounts to Rs 3,067,033 million, making it 58% of the national gross domestic product (GDP). The ultimate figures of the report show that the “services sector is by far the largest sector, contributing about 54% to gross provincial product. Agriculture accounts for 20.3% and industry 25.7%”. Changes in the sector-wise breakup of GPP over the years are indicative of “structural changes away from a reliance on agriculture. The data indicates that the share of agriculture has declined considerably, from 31 per cent to 20.3 per cent between financial year (FY) 1991 and 2007 while that of manufacturing and services have increased.” The structural changes that are taking place in Punjab’s rural economy over time have important implications, particularly for employment. About 44% of Punjab’s labor force is employed in the agricultural sector. It is also the only sector, other than construction, where the labor force absorption rate (as measured by the percentage of total labor employed in that sector) is higher than its share in the provincial economy.

While the impressive growth of the services sector serves to boost GPP, growth in agriculture has a far more wide-ranging effect on incomes, employment and incidence of poverty in the province.

In 2007, the province accounted for 62.6 per cent of community and social services, 61.3 per cent of wholesale and retail trade, 57 per cent of agriculture and 58.2 per cent of industrial value-added in the national GDP. Overall Punjab contributes over 50 per cent of the country’s GDP in almost every sector in the national accounts. It was stated in the report that the Punjab Government has estimated the decline in poverty headcount to have been about11.25% between fiscal year 2002 and 2005.
Curtsey:The News, Wednesday, January 16, 2008 

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