The paper at hand explained that agriculture in the 90s is
not the same as 30 years ago. Instead of households which
uniformly applied their labour an the land and lived an the
proceeds of the land, today, we have a wide differentiation
in agriculture or among the landcultivating households.
While in former times the focus of all households was an the
land, and differences in access to land caused differences
in income, today, these differences concern not only the control
of land, but also the basis of livelihood and interest in
Nowadays, not everybody who cultivates some land is really
interested in agriculture. Not every young man, especially,
is happy if he can continue to cultivate his father's land.
He may do so if the land is of sufficient size and of good
quality. But if the land is small, and soil and irrigation
are poor, he may more likely feel forced to continue cultivation
in the absence of alternatives. However, many of them will
continuously look for alternatives, or at least for a mix
of income sources, and hundreds of' thousands are successful
sooner or later.
Under such conditions of differentiation in agriculture and
in the cultivators' interest. a transition from the sectoral
approach to a more regional approach in the development efforts
seem to be indicated. Moreover, a more careful analysis of
target groups regarding their conditions, interest and requirements
is a precondition if policies are to be successful.
This offers the opportunity to concentrate resources and instruments
of agricultural policy where they are needed, wanted and effective
in increasing the income of cultivators and the production
of foodstuffs. For the other areas, where instruments of agricultural
policy cannot be effective because of different circumstances
and requirements of the people concerned, let us not waste
the scarce resources of agricultural policy, but apply other
policies to those whose main focus is outside agriculture.
This differentiation will economize development funds and
make them more effective as far as productivity impact as
improvement of livelihood is concerned.
This is the more important as the differentiation process
has progressed differently in various regions, but has advanced
considerably overall. Already at the time of the 1980 census,
of the 4 million land cultivating holdings in Pakistan, probably
more than 75 % belonged to the group not having sufficient
land and whose interest in agriculture and agricultural policy
measures is, therefore, limited. This means that, for more
3/4, not agricultural policy proper, but other Instruments
are appropriate for meeting their requirements and improving
If this development continues and all indications make me
believe that it will continue , we may well be experiencing
today the last generation practicing real peasant agriculture
in this country.
In this case, the answer to the question `What is agriculture?'
has to differ today from that given 30 years ago. And, together
with this answer, the mix of policy Instruments for the rural
population has to change constantly.