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Small Farmers’ Low Productivity Trap

Needless to say that the green revolution, brought about through introduction of modem inputs like fertilizers, new seeds and pesticides, has so far affected only a segment (mainly irrigated area) of the potential culturable land. Even so it has already raised questions of availability and cost of energy obtained from fossil fuels and their economic viability. Barani or rainfed agriculture is only marginally, if at all, affected by new technology. Unless advancement in agriculture affects the small farmers and landless wage labourers who represent the overwhelming majority among the rural population, this sector’s development will not be so meaningful from societal viewpoint. It is not sufficient to focus just on a simple productivity ratio, i.e. per unit of land. A second ratio relating to production per man is equally important. It is therefore imperative to raise the capability and productivity of the small farmer to improve his living standard and the environment in which he lives. It is strongly felt that small farmer has lived for too long outside the influence of institutions serving agriculture. The crux of the problem is that he is caught in a “low-productivity trap”. He needs technology suited to his needs, i.e. a technology which is highly divisible (fertilizers, irrigation water, seeds, pesticides, etc.) and is simple to adopt. More importantly, there is an urgent need of adequate infrastructural support system to facilitate adoption of technology and necessary funds with the surety of due return.


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Source: Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: Present Scenario and Future Strategy, Mohibul Haq Sahibzada. Republished with permission.