Agriculture plays a major role in Pakistan's economy contributing 25 percent to the GDP, employs 44 percent of country's workforce while substantially contributes to export earnings. This is mainly due to the presence of vast agricultural resources, which are mainly due to country's geographical location and landscape where Pakistan is blessed with fertile land and varied weather. In addition the country has well established irrigated system with the result that all types of agriculture produce are grown depending upon the climate and soil quality conditions.
Within agriculture the horticulture i.e. fruits, vegetables and floriculture is an important sub-sector of the agricultural economy. Approximate yearly production of fruits, vegetables & spices is 12 million tons. The important fruits include citrus 2 million tons, mangoes 1 million tons, dates 0.63 million tons and apples 0.4 million tons. In addition, there is a large variety of other fruits that are harvested around the year. Important vegetables and spices include potato, onion, tomato, chillies, garlic and a large variety of leafy, root and other crops. In recent years, the floriculture industry has significantly emerged as a viable non-traditional produce, particularly, in the urban centers of the country. A large number of flowers and foliage plants are now being grown for ornamental purposes.
POTENTIAL OF HORTICULTURE IN PAKISTAN
Horticulture produce holds a huge market for exports. The relative importance of this sector can be gauged with high growth rate of exports of fruits and vegetables from Pakistan due to ever increasing demand in the existing and new international markets. Some of the fruits grown have great potential for exports, which are available in volumes, varieties and are of rich flavor. These are mangoes, citrus (Kinnow), grapes, dates, apples, peaches and cherries. Other prominent fruits that have enormous export potential are plums, pears, guava and loquat. Among vegetables, potatoes and onions are vastly grown in Pakistan, hold a large global market because of competitive advantage due to superior variety, volume and price.
Horticulture related processing industry is another mentionable area, which has tremendous export potential. The demand of processed food is high in the export markets such as graded fresh fruit, citrus juice, mango pulp, tomato paste, etc.