Most of the population in developing countries living under the poverty line belong to rural areas. It has been indicated from major sources and surveys that in Asia and Africa, about above 80% of the poverty population belongs to rural areas. Pakistan being a developing state in Asia is no exception. Poverty is rampant in rural areas of Pakistan where people are in shortage of income, clothing, housing, health care, education, sanitation facilities, and human rights.
Pakistan being an agricultural state have certain common traits regarding rural poverty and agricultural development. Rural areas are the major reservoir of poverty in Pakistan and agriculture is the main activity on which most rural people depend on their livelihood. The levels of poverty in rural areas are significant than those in urban areas which is not a special case of Pakistan.
On the contrary, Agriculture has always been important to the economic growth and development of Pakistan. Agriculture accounts for 20.9 percent of the country’s GDP and its workforce 43.4 percent. Most notably, 65.9 percent of the population living in rural areas either directly or indirectly depends on agriculture for their livelihood.
The region accounts for half of the country’s workforce, supplies substantial investment in the country’s manufacturing sector, generates a significant share of export revenues, and has a rapidly growing population. In addition, there is a vast rural economy beyond agriculture, which includes non-financial activities such as small corporations, transportation services, village retail outlets, local schools, and clinics, which account for 40 to 57 percent of all rural households’ income. However, increasing population, declining farmland, increasing demand for water resources, widespread land degradation and lack of infrastructure are the main concerns of the agriculture sector in Pakistan.
Data from various sources predicted that in the late 19 century, rural poverty elevated parabolically. Moreover Inflation, unemployment and growth rate were the main appetizers responsible for rural poverty. Also if we see the main reason responsible for the rural poverty in all four provinces of Pakistan, Interestingly the multidimensional linkages of certain issues bring out the idea of core problems that have remained constant hurdles for the prosperity.
Unequal distribution of land, lack of assets in rural areas and most importantly, lack of regulations of the rural population has constantly added a proportionate amount, not only in increasing problems for the population living in rural areas but also for agricultural development.
It was around 2005-2007 when the government of Pakistan sincerely added their contribution towards rural and agricultural development during which farmers were handed over special promotional techniques, they were given the due attention, agriculture was the main priority, rural revolution was on the top of the list, technical schools in villages were spreading light, hospitals, schools, and industries were planted to help the rural join the national interest by contributing towards it rather than being a simple underrated proportion of the country.
But with no surprise, with the change of government, the interests and priorities got changed and given the importance of rural activities, the slow growth of agriculture in recent years – an average of 2.8 percent between 2010-2018 – is a concern for Pakistan. The agricultural sector and rural economy which were supposed to assist regarding the country’s economic situation have been put on their knees which were supposed to be on the shoulders.
Pakistan being one of the most heavily affected countries from climate change in regards to weather conditions must tilt attention towards the concern of agriculture development and rural poverty in order to prosper further. Being led by Imran Khan, who came into power with the manifesto of rural advancement and green and clean Pakistan, the government should put up practical measures to make the place not only good for the residents of rural areas but also for the public in common. However, elimination of rural poverty is impracticable unless the economy generates opportunities for investment, entrepreneurship, job creation, and sustainable livelihood.