Agriculture constitutes the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy. Despite a structural shift towards industrialization, the agriculture sector still has a great impact on our socio-economic setup. It accounts over for 21 percent of the GDP, absorbing 45 percent of the country’s total labour force. About 62 percent of the country’s population resides in rural areas, and is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for livelihood. The sector is a primary supplier of raw materials to downstream industry (ginners, spinners and processors), contributing substantially to Pakistan’s exports.
As part of its Global Conservation Programme, WWF aims to help make agricultural commodities like cotton and sugarcane cultivation part of a sustainable industry so as to make its production environment friendly and reduce its footprint on priority ecosystems. Accordingly, projects are designed and implemented under the freshwater and commodities footprint and contribute to the Market Transformation Network Initiative (MTNI) to address the commodities/market transformation of WWF International.
WWF – Pakistan, the country’s largest environmental organisation, has been working with businesses, government, farmers, research institutes and other organisations to discover and demonstrate ways of growing cotton and sugarcane in Pakistan by using less water, chemical fertilizers and pesticides since 1999 under the Sustainable Agriculture Programme (SAP). SAP is the outcome of WWF – Pakistan’s efforts towards sustainable agriculture as a holistic and scientific approach, and a participatory movement for socio-economic transformation that endorses and respects local knowledge and values for better ecosystem management.
Sustainable agriculture is an important element of the overall effort to make human activities compatible with the demands of the earth's ecosystems. Thus, an understanding of the different approaches to ecological agriculture is necessary if we want to utilize the planet's resources wisely.
Sustainable agriculture is ecologically sound, economically viable, and socially just and humane. It can be applied to all aspects of any agricultural system, from production and marketing to processing and consumption. Moreover, SAP has a clearly articulated scope with international initiatives for sustainable environment.