Pakistan is heavily reliant on agriculture, with the important crops (wheat, rice, sugarcane, maize and cotton) accounting for 4 percent of GDP and over 20% in value addition (Ministry of Finance). Yield per hectare has shown only marginal improvement in recent years. Overall yield is highly dependent on fluctuating availability of water for irrigation. Past ACIAR research focusing on reducing water inputs and improving soils is still being applied today to sustain Pakistan’s double cropping systems.
"Kharif" is the first sowing season starting from April-June and is harvested during October-December. Rice, sugarcane, cotton, maize, mung bean, mash (black gram), bajra (pearl millet) and jowar (sorghum) are “Kharif" crops. "Rabi", the second sowing season, begins in October-December and is harvested in April-May. Wheat, gram (chickpea), lentil (masoor), tobacco, rapeseed, barley and mustard are "Rabi" crops.
Several of the minor crops are underproduced, including pulse crops, causing reliance on imports. This is reflected in ACIAR’s current research priorities in Pakistan, while disease resistance in wheat remains vital.