Agriculture and the rural economy in Pakistan: Issues, outlooks, and policy priorities: Synopsis

David J. Spielman, Sohail Jehangir Malik, Paul A. Dorosh, Nuzhat Ahmad
synopses
2017

While policy makers, media, and the international community focus their attention on Pakistan’s ongoing security challenges, the potential of the rural economy, and particularly the agricultural sector, to improve Pakistanis’ well-being is being neglected. Agriculture is crucial to Pakistan’s economy. Almost half of the country’s labor force works in the agricultural sector, which produces food and inputs for industry (such as cotton for textiles) and accounts for over a third of Pakistan’s total export earnings. Equally important are nonfarm economic activities in rural areas, such as retail sales in small village shops, transportation services, and education and health services in local schools and clinics. Rural nonfarm activities account for between 40 and 57 percent of total rural household income. Their large share of income means that the agricultural sector and the rural nonfarm economy have vital roles to play in promoting growth and reducing poverty in Pakistan.