The rural interface

Published March 22, 2015

COMPARED to their urban counterparts, the needs of people in rural Pakistan are less, but there are some other factors that merit consideration, believe economists and farmers in southern Punjab.

Former Chairman of Economics Department at Islamia University, Bahawalpur, Dr Karamat Ali, says the appreciation of rupee against the dollar and reduction in petrol prices have only marginal impact on the life of agricultural labourers for they do not depend on the market for their everyday food requirements, including grains and vegetables as well as poultry and livestock. The need for electricity, gas and even schoo­ling is not big either, he says rather realistically.

Unemployment, lack of land reforms, and distribution of income-generating resources are the three major elements that rural Pakistan needs, he asserts.

Allah Dita, an agricultural labourer from Layyah says he only has to buy tea, washing soap and sugar from the outside. But what he needs big time is money to buy agriculture inputs. “For everything else, I clear my dues every six months when I get my wages in shape of grains or cash from the landowner,” he explains.

Qazi Abdul Raazzaq, a progressive farmer, takes the argument further. “The prices of inputs are higher than even in the international market, and on the other hand, farmers are being exploited by the middlemen, mill owners, pesticide and fertiliser manufacturer and importers.

Published in Dawn March 22nd , 2015


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