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
As a result of these developments among the small-farm households,
numerous forms of multiple employment emerge:
- 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
as craftsman or shopkeeper, or in the vicinity.
- In other households, one or more sons take up an off-farm
locally or in distant places, permanently or whenever they
find work and
give part or all of their income to their family. Sometimes,
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
When the latter becomes too old, the son takes over the
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
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.
- Nuclear families maintain close social and economic relations
members of the extended family although they migrated permanently
of the village. Branches of the family living in the urban
for example, some of their basic foodstuffs from their parents'
support or for sentimental reasons. Moreover, the right
to return means an
important social security in case of unemployment. Inversely,
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
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.
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:
- Larger farms (landlords) of more than 60 ha with a wide
variety in quality
and intensity of cultivation,
approximately 13,500 = 0.3 %.
- Medium farms of 10 to 60 ha, most of them cultivated
approximately 300,000 = 7.3 %.
- Small farms of 3 to 10 ha, whose management quality and
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 %.
- Marginal farms of less than 3 ha, which only guarantee
tence in combination with non-agricultural incomes, or are
the basis of life
for aged persons,
approximately 1,600.000 - 39.5 %.
- Tenants' farms of more than 5 ha. which are usually well
approximately 240,000 = 5.9 %.
- Tenants' farms of less than 5 ha, often traditionally
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.