1. Types of Farms in the 50s

During the initial years of development efforts, Pakistans agriculture consisted of a limited number of socioeconomic types of farms. Leaving out some special types that exist only in a a, small number, one had to differentiate primarily between three types

  • large landowners (landlords)
  • small farms
  • marginal farms.

The landlords usually did not cultivate their land themselves. Decentralized cultivation by share tenants was rather common. For the landowners, their property was primarily a source of power and prestige, while production was considered to be of lesser importance. Their strategy for achieving a high income was to skim off high rent, not so much to increase the yield. The rather stagnating agriculture resulted in a, low standard of living for the share tenant.

Small farmers hold family farms where the family members apply all their labour an the land (sometimes with the help of some additional hired labourers), and where the family members live off the produce of the land. Cultivation follows local customs and is controlled by the village society. The larger the Farm, the more produce can be sold, but even in the case of larger family farms, the self sufficiency requirements for the family and dependent households played a great role in determining the cropping pattern.

Marginal farms had too little land in relation to soil quality. They produced almost exclusively for self-sufficiency, but the yield was a meagre basis for existence. Whenever possible, these peasants tried to improve their income by working as labourers an larger farms. Many of the share tenants belonged to this type.

For all three types, the land and the farm were the basis of livelihood and life security and, therefore, the centre of common interest of all family members. The farm family's expectations were homogeneous and farm-centered. Differences in farm size were the main reason for differences in the standard of living at the local level.

Under these conditions, instruments of agricultural policy could be rather uniform, and defining the target group was no issue. In the case of large landlords, land reform was the first requirement for creating conditions that were more suitable for development. For a large number of family farms, the usual instruments of agricultural policy (market and price policy and supporting institutions) were applied. Those instruments were supposed to help the marginal farms as well, since these were understood merely as smaller issues of family farms. Soon, it became obvious that these very Instruments hardly attained the marginal farms, a problem which has been neglected for a, long time.

Since the early days of development efforts, the economic, social, political and technological framework, within which agriculture has been working, has changed considerably:

  • The size of farms decreased because of inheritance, population increase and land reform.
  • New technologies have been introduced in agriculture, leading to a close interweaving of this sector with other ones.
  • Non agricultural development created employment opportunities and caused too early migration to cities.
  • Mass media, and mobility of the population have integrated the rural society into the overall society.
  • Misuse and overuse of the land have led to damages to the ecosystem.

These factors are more marked in some regions than in others but have, to a certain extent, influenced the whole country. The result is an increasing differentiation in agriculture. Within the course of this process, target groups for measures of development policy have become more specific, and so has the suitability of different instruments.