Agriculture and the Rural Economy in Pakistan: Issues, Outlooks, and Policy Priorities

Agriculture and the Rural Economy in Pakistan: Issues, Outlooks, and Policy Priorities

Agriculture and the Rural Economy in Pakistan: Issues, Outlooks, and Policy Priorities

Agriculture and the Rural Economy in Pakistan: Issues, Outlooks, and Policy Priorities

Synopsis

Historically, agriculture has been crucial to Pakistan's economic growth and development and remains so even today. The sector employs almost half of the country's labor force, supplies key inputs to the country's manufacturing sector, generates a significant share of export earnings, and nourishes a rapidly growing population. Further, beyond agriculture is the wider rural economy, including nonfarm economic activities such as small enterprises, transport services, village retail shops, local schools, and clinics, all of which account for an estimated 40 to 57 percent of total rural household income. Given the importance of these rural activities, the slow growth of agriculture in recent years—averaging just 2.8 percent during the period 2010-2014—should be a source of concern for Pakistan. Can the country's agricultural sector and rural economy once again play a significant role in growth and development? Can it contribute to poverty reduction? Agriculture and the Rural Economy in Pakistan: Issues, Outlooks, and Policy Priorities seeks to answer these questions by examining the performance of both agriculture and the rural economy. The authors identify several measures that can promote agricultural productivity growth as well as wider economic and social development. These include increasing the efficiency of water use in the Indus river basin irrigation system, especially in the face of climate change; reforming policies and regulations that govern markets for agricultural inputs and commodities; and improving the provision of rural public services for health, education, women's empowerment, and community development. The analyses and conclusions in Agriculture and the Rural Economy in Pakistan will be of use to policy makers, development specialists, and others concerned with Pakistan's development.

Excerpt

Even before the Green Revolution began in the mid-1960s, Pakistan was one of several developing countries that helped demonstrate the critical importance of agriculture, providing the international community with empirical evidence that agricultural sector growth can drive broader economic development. the agricultural surpluses, rural incomes, and industrial inputs produced by millions of farm households residing in Pakistan’s irrigated plains helped fuel the country’s growth and development well into the early years of this millennium.

Now, however, Pakistan’s agricultural sector has become increasingly vulnerable to volatile weather patterns, long-term climate change, and extensive degradation of the country’s natural resources. Economic signals also suggest that persistent poverty and inequality will continue to chip away at economic growth. These signals are most apparent in Pakistan’s rural economy, where the needs of the poor remain unmet.

This book documents many of the challenges associated with Pakistan’s elusive quest for broad-based and inclusive economic growth. It is a collaborative work that illustrates the depth and breadth of IFPRI’s productive relationships with scholars and organizations working on food, agriculture, and rural development issues in Pakistan.

The contributors provide a systematic review and in-depth treatment of a range of basic issues that have received too little attention recently, including the need for policy change in support of competitive agricultural input markets, effective management of the Indus Basin Irrigation System, and commodity price management. the book also examines the role of human and social capital—particularly the needs and aspirations of rural women and . . .

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