3 1977 until now - period of externally stimulated development

During the last ten years, Pakistan's economy has made remarkable progress but it appears that this is not so much the result of internal economic development but mostly dependent on foreign influences. The framework conditions are home made: A liberal, almost early capitalistic economic policy, in which the public sector is less in the forefront as previously. The propelling forces behind the economic activities are two developments outside the country, namely, the labour demand in the oil-producing countries and the war in Afghanistan. The oil-producing countries provide work to millions of young foreigners, a large number of whom comes from Pakistan. These workers' remittances - more than 2 billion US-dollars per annum - not only solved the country's foreign exchange problem but also brought much purchasing power to the country, especially to the rural areas.
The war in Afghanistan brought the burden of three million refugees but also purchasing power in form of aid funds from international organizations and. in addition, a large amount of foreign funds for investment in the military forces. Among the refugees, who enjoy relative freedom of movement in Pakistan, are also numerous people with technical knowledge that is of benefit to the local economy.

The strong increase in purchasing power influenced especially the rural areas and the lower classes. Landless families were not bound by the labour requirements of agriculture and could easily send their young members to work in the oil-producing countries. Also, they had to overcome the least cultural handicaps against taking up manual work for others.
The strong increase in purchasing power led to considerable demand for consumer goods and in construction and, thus, to a boom in the rural industries and trades which greatly expanded and created many new employment opportunities. Together, the expansion of the middle-level industries, especially for consumption goods, and a boom in construction and transport offered alternatives not only abroad but also within the country, to the youth in the rural areas. Indeed, it is not easy to find employment, but with the help of relatives and friends already working outside agriculture, the young people usually find work after a period of quest. Since the wages, in comparison with the income from traditional small-scale agriculture, are more attractive and the young people in town can free themselves more easily from the social control in the village, the youths from small farmers' families lose more and more interest in agriculture. At least, continuing farming on farms that become smaller and smaller because of the inheritance custom is no longer the only way of life but one among several alternatives. Often, the older generation supports taking up non-agricultural employment by the youth as it finds that this is a more rapid way of improving the living standard than all efforts to increase agricultural production.

As a result of these developments among the small-farm households, numerous forms of multiple employment emerge:

  1. Small cultivators take up a non-agricultural main or side occupation or
    work permanently or seasonally as agricultural labourers. The two occu
    pations are carried out by the same person, as is always necessary when no
    family member is old enough to be able to earn a living. Since farm cul
    tivation continues, the second occupation can only be carried out locally,
    as craftsman or shopkeeper, or in the vicinity.
  2. In other households, one or more sons take up an off-farm employment,
    locally or in distant places, permanently or whenever they find work and
    give part or all of their income to their family. Sometimes, agriculture
    is practised only during the second half of life. Up to the age of 45 ap
    proximately, the son works off farm whereas the father cultivates the land.
    When the latter becomes too old, the son takes over the cultivation but,
    often, his own children are of working age already. It is not rare that, in
    the second half of life, people have claim to a small pension for having
    worked in the army, police force, etc.
    This household income combination opens the possibility of taking up an occupation at distant places and of increasing the household income in this way.
  3. Nuclear families maintain close social and economic relations with other
    members of the extended family although they migrated permanently out .
    of the village. Branches of the family living in the urban areas obtain,
    for example, some of their basic foodstuffs from their parents' farm as
    support or for sentimental reasons. Moreover, the right to return means an
    important social security in case of unemployment. Inversely, services are
    also offered in return in form of remittances and help at harvest times. The
    remittances do not have to be regular but can be effected when actually
    needed for investments.

The consequences of these forms of multiple employment for agriculture are very different and depend upon the individuals' personal attitude and circumstances. Sometimes, earnings from a non-agricultural occupation are invested and utilized to modernize the small farm which is expanded by renting in additional land. But in other cases, the interest in agriculture decreases. The people

limit themselves to extensive production for subsistence and enjoy a quiet and cheap residence far from town. Especially old people, in the absence of other forms of social security, continue an extensive subsistence farming as long as they can and enjoy village life, sometimes after a life of work in the city. Villages become the home of the aged.

After migration out of agriculture had become so frequent, the social norms also changed. Belonging to a certain za.t or being cultivator is, nowadays, no obstacle to migration from the rural areas but may still influence the nature of the selected new occupation.

The experience of many small farmers' sons led to a completely changed attitude towards agriculture. Whereas it was predetermined that the fathers' generation would take over the parents' farm, for the young people of today, agriculture is only one among several possibilities. They no longer demand an equal share of landed property or 'land for everyone' (as was the goal of the land reforms) but. in the first place, equal income opportunities, wherever these are offered (in rural areas, in urban centres or abroad). This transition from demand for equal access to land to demand for equal access to income opportunities has turned the agrarian question into a problem of the overall society instead of one of the agrarian society as before. It can now be solved only within this wider framework.

Changes in the man-land relationships can also be ascertained on large farms. On the one hand, there is a differentiation within agriculture: whereas most of the farmers practise a modern, market-integrated commercial agriculture, others keep to traditional agriculture with sharecroppers and satisfy their income requirements through a strict skimming of rent instead of production increases. On the other hand, non-farmers in a sound financial position find it interesting to invest into agriculture and set up dairy farms, fattening farms for cattle and poultry, etc. Thereby, speculations, tax evasion and exploitation of subsidies play an important part.
For a qualitative assessment of all these differentiations among farms, statistics are not very helpful. By using their figures on farm sizes, tenancy, separating irrigated and non-irrigated areas, I have tried to come to the following groupings which put more light on the socioeconomic character of Pakistan's about four million holdings in 1980. Naturally, these are estimates and no exact statistics. The resulting breakdown is as follows:

  1. Larger farms (landlords) of more than 60 ha with a wide variety in quality
    and intensity of cultivation,
    approximately 13,500 = 0.3 %.
  2. Medium farms of 10 to 60 ha, most of them cultivated rather intensively,
    approximately 300,000 = 7.3 %.
  3. Small farms of 3 to 10 ha, whose management quality and future prospects
    differ and which often have members of the cultivator's family working outside agriculture or which are occupied by an aged couple, approximately 1,100.000 = 27.0 %.
  4. Marginal farms of less than 3 ha, which only guarantee sufficient subsis
    tence in combination with non-agricultural incomes, or are the basis of life
    for aged persons,
    approximately 1,600.000 - 39.5 %.
  5. Tenants' farms of more than 5 ha. which are usually well managed,
    approximately 240,000 = 5.9 %.
  6. Tenants' farms of less than 5 ha, often traditionally cultivated,
    approximately 810,000 = 20 %.

According to these figures, agriculture has developed in very different directions. Some peasants pursue the traditional way of life and apply few modern methods of production. Many of these farms wiD be given up in the future since the young generation is only partly interested in continuing farming. Or the old people will spend the rest of their life in the rural areas and cultivate the small farm which will serve as residence in their old age and gain some of their subsistence from it. If the farm has a favourable location, the land could also be used for commercial purposes by the next generation.

Other farmers adopted modern, intensive agriculture. Thereby, it is worth noting that peasant attitudes are largely abandoned and that the method of production turns to that of industry. Due to the utilization of farm inputs and to trading and processing enterprises, those farms are fully interwoven with the rest of the economy. They use the services of rural credit and transport and are, for better or for worse, an integrated part of the overal economy.

Among the changes, the increasing use of arable land for non-agricultural purposes such as building sites, commercial enterprises, roads , etc. is worth mentioning. In the absence of land use planning, it is often the best irrigated arable land that is foregone.

The fact that the increase in non-agricultural incomes in the rural areas is higher than that of the agricultural income will bring about further migration, especially from small farms and areas with poor yields like the barani areas. Farms will further be divided as a result of the inheritance custom and become smaller. Only migration of part of the population out of agriculture - not necessarily from the rural areas - can stop this process. This means that the urbanization of the country will continue.

The interweaving of agriculture with the remaining economy, the young people's striving for comparable incomes and the readiness to migrate have largely changed the position of agriculture in the overall economy and society. If agriculture used to be the focus of attention of everybody, it is now an integrated and dependent component of the economy. It is not so much the leading part of the economic development but more and more the supported one. Since agriculture is a shrinking business - at the moment, about 50 % of the labour force work in agriculture - as a result ol further migration, it will soon be practised by a minority only. Already today, in many villages not more than 15 - 20% of the families are farming. In such a situation, it is an important shortcoming that there are no powerful institutions to represent agriculture's interests vis-a-vis the government and other sectors of the economy.

The task of agriculture in society has changed again and widely expanded during this period:
It still comprises the provision of food and raw materials of a constantly higher quality. It makes a contribution to the development of the market for non-agricultural products and services. In order to achieve comparable income, it is necessary to increase labour productivity and to expand cultivated area per farm unit as well as continuously release labour. In this, there are still many frictions. Moreover, the preservation of resources and the maintenance of the cultivated area is gaining greater and greater importance.