3.C. Prerequisite for a Successful Rural Development Programme:
Change in Attitudes towards and Policies Concerning Land Tenure
In Pakistan the goals in rural development are twofold:
in view of the still existing food shortage in the country,
increase in production is as important as higher welfare of
the total population. So far, rural development policy always
had a heavy bias towards the first goal, and the opinion was
that higher production can be achieved only at the cost of
welfare of the population.
It is suggested that rural development programmes will only
be successful if this opinion is changed completely. This
change is possible without sacrificing the goal of production
The generally prevailing assumption is that increase in production
is possible only by concentrating all efforts on the large
landholder* This approach resulted in a remarkable production
increase but also brought about growing differences in income
and impaired the welfare of the population.
But it should be realized that production increase is not
exclusively attached to large holdings - not to speak of large
land properties. On the contrary, numerous examples, from
Egypt to Taiwan, show that small scale agriculture can be
most intensive and productive. Even in Pakistan, small holdings
usually have a higher intensity and the centres of production
increase in the green revolution are the farms of 25 to 150
acres, and not the big estates. If it is claimed that production
is higher on large farms than on small ones, this is because
there is a confusion between production and marketed production.
The better performance of larger farms is true only under
the prevailing service structure which is highly biased in
favour of the large farm and often excludes smallholders.
Little is done to satisfy their needs. This bias in agricultural
policy explains the better performance of larger holdings.
It should be realized that this bias is the result of pressure
and influence of large landowners who, with their economic
power, achieved political power. While the desire of the landed
aristocracy to gain political power exists everywhere, there
seems to be little justification for a modern nation to comply
with this desire to such an extent as to allow a few to reap
the fruits of development and exclude the majority of the
population. This unjustified bias in agricultural and rural
development policy has to be changed.
If supported by a service structure which meets his needs,
the small holder will certainly do much better and equal the
productivity of large farms. He will substitute his labour
to these scale economies which cannot be brought to him by
proper institutions. Such a development policy has the immense
benefit of distributing the gains of progress by assuring
participation of the large majority of the rural population.
For a country with increasing employment problems, it is of
importance that a policy focussing on small holders should
provide incentives for labour intensive production. Such a
policy would soon lead to the abolition of the share-cropping
system which constrains tenants to apply more labour to improve
their performance and level of living.
Technically, it is possible to change the focus of policy
from landlord to small holder. Institutions and policies are
man-made, they are the result of historical conditions in
society. That is, they can and should be changed in time.
Society has to assess whether its existing rural institutions
and its prevailing rural development policy coincide with
its goals for development.
If the goal is "integrated rural development", it
seems that certain institutional changes and a certain shift
in policy is a prerequisite for success.
Table 1.: Land tenure categories in Pakistan
Estimated number in 1962
Percentage of agricultural
||more than 150 acres of irr.land owned *
12000 - 15000
less than 1
||25 - 150 acres of irr. land owned *
200000 - 250000
|7,5 - 25 acres of irr. land owned *
||less than 7,5 acres of irr. land owned *
|Tenant of better standing
||more than 12.5 acres of irr. land * or with some land
|| less than 12.5 acres of irr.land owned *
||no land owned or rented
| * or corresponding area of non-irrigated