Tuesday, March 29, 2005

33pc of poor live in Sindh, Punjab: ADB

33pc of poor live in Sindh, Punjab: ADB
By Our Staff Reporter
(DAWN March 29, 2005)

ISLAMABAD, March 28: Over 33 per cent of Pakistan's poor population live in agro-climatic zones of Sindh and southern Punjab where skewed distribution of land is hindering poverty alleviation measures , reveals an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report. According to the latest report of the bank's Resident Mission in Pakistan, high poverty level exists in Sindh and southern Punjab. These two zones account for over 33 per cent of the poor and 29 per cent of the country's total population (17.5 per cent in the Punjab and 11.2 per cent in Sindh). Most of the cotton-growing districts in Punjab including Lodhran, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan are classified as 'highly deprived overall' and have low employment rankings, while Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan fall in the category of "high deprivation". The ADB mission has found that the percentage of rural population living below poverty line has increased over the time, especially since late 1990s. Using recent data, the study finds that Sindh and southern Punjab are "the poorest regions" in Pakistan. During the period from 1994 to 1999, poverty increased across all regions. Between 1999 and 2002, the Punjab and the NWFP were most adversely affected by poverty. While referring to various literatures, the report says that prevailing poverty trends in Pakistan date back to 1960s. Though there has been high growth rate in the agriculture sector during the decade, the beneficiaries of agricultural subsidies during this time were large farmers. Citing various sources the report said that in 1990, 69 per cent of the farms in Pakistan were owner-operated, 12 per cent by owners-cum tenants, and 19 per cent by only tenants. However, in 2000 the proportion of owner-operated farms increased to 78 per cent whereas the proportion of farms operated by owner-cum-tenants declined to 8 per cent and those by tenants to 14 per cent. Most of the owner-operated farms are smaller than five acres (79 per cent in 1990 and 83 per cent in 2000). A large proportion of farms operated by owners-cum tenants fall in the 25-50 acres category (24 per cent in 1990 and 18 per cent in 2000). Tenants-operated farms were generally less than 12.5 acres in size. Referring to various sources, the report says in Pakistan, 55 per cent of the non-poor and 63 per cent of the poor are land less while majority of the poor owns less than 5 acres of land. The proportion of land less house holds among the poor is the highest in central Punjab (74 per cent) followed by northern Punjab (72 per cent) and Balochistan (71 per cent). The poverty head count for households owing less than one hectare is 35 per cent, while for the land less, it is 40 per cent. The report has found the highest incidence of land inequality in Muzaffargarh, followed by Multan, Rahim Yar Khan and Vehari. "Due to unequal distribution of land, an increase in crop income serves to exacerbate inequality. Due to highly skewed distribution of land in rural Pakistan, farm income was found to be an unequally-increasing source of income during the early 1990s", the report adds. It says that wheat and rice appeared the most important crops for poor households while rich households depended on sugarcane and other crops. The report says that 47 per cent of rural households depend on either farm cultivation or livestock and incident of poverty is found higher among the latter.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home