Agriculture is the main industry of Pakistan. More than three-fourths of the people live on agriculture, or on industries connected with it. In Pakistan, old methods are still followed in cultivating land, and the better scientific methods are being slowly introduced. The produce can be greatly increased by these methods, the old methods are wasteful. Agriculture depends on water, and rain being uncertain, wells and canals are dug to irrigate lands. Wells are very costly, and the old wheel with which they were worked was very cumbersome and slow. It is now being displaced by iron wheels, iron chains, and iron vessels. The latter are lighter, draw more water, and are very economical, for they can be worked by one bullock only. Then in the sowing of seeds, the weeding, and the cutting, also, there is much room for improvement. Selection of seeds, proper manure, and deep ploughing are other directions is which newer methods might be employed with advantage.
The Government has an important Department staffed by experience in agriculture, who manage experiments, and find out new methods of improving agriculture. Of late, considerable progress has been made in the growing of American cotton, better wheat and sugarcane, and several diseases and pests have been scientifically examined, and their remedies discovered.
Pakistan agriculture has a bright future before it. Canals have played an important part in the development of agriculture. Vast areas of waste lands have been reclaimed and brought under cultivation. In Pakistan not only extensive but intensive cultivation is needed. We must make two blades grow in place of one. While other professions are overcrowded, agriculture can provide useful employment for thousands of people, but it is a pity that educated young men do not take to agriculture, because they dislike manual labour.
One great defect which stands in the way of progress is the indebtedness of the agricultural classes. The causes of this indebtedness of the agricultural classes are many. The peasants are not, as a rule, spendthrifts, their wants are few and simple, but still they have to borrow money, which means that the produce of their lands does not suffice for their needs. It is also true that on marriages, they sometimes spend beyond their means. Litigation, corruption of officials, high rate of interest, these are some of the causes of their poverty. Cooperative Banks and spread of elementary education will go a long way towards ameliorating the condition of the farmers.