Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Poverty across the Agro-Ecological Zones in Rural Pakistan

Arif, Ghulam-Muhammad and Ahmad, Munir (2001): Poverty across the Agro-Ecological Zones in Rural Pakistan. Published in: Irrigation Against Rural Poverty: An Overview of Issues and Pro-Poor Intervention Strategies in Irrigation Agriculture in Asia. (Ed) Intizar Hussain and Eric Biltonen (2001): pp. 177-186.

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Thc major objective of this paper was to review the studies relating to poverty analysis in Pakistan. The results of these have shown that the poverty has increased during the 90s overall as well as in rural and urban areas, after experiencing downward trends during the 80s. Besides, the gap between rural and urban poverty has also widened. The recent estimates show that morc than one-third of our population lives in extreme poverty, and around 70 percent of these unfortunate people reside in rural areas. The results based on agro-ecological divisions of the country indicate that poverty is lowest in the barani arias of the Punjab because or better opportunities in terms of employment in other sectors, particularly, the services sector as well as overseas migration. The highest is observed in Balochistan may be due to nonavailability of irrigation water and low rainfall making dwellers more vulnerable to droughts seriously affecting the crops and the livestock which are the main sources of their livelihood.

Poverty is widely spread in irrigated areas of the country particularly in Southern Punjab and Sindh where feudal system still prevails. Job opportunities outside agriculture are limited and migration within the country or overseas is not a common phenomenon in these areas of the country. On the one hand there is a need to carry out more research to understand better the phenomenon of poverty across the agro-ecological zones, and on the other, poverty alleviation programs should focus on those areas where the incidence of poverty is alarmingly high.

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