The World Bank's Work in Pakistan - Agriculture
Current Situation: Pakistan has achieved impressive agricultural growth in the past few decades. Yet this growth is unsustainable because it has been achieved mainly through an increase in area of cultivated land, rather than productivity increases. Government intervention -- such as price controls, public sector output marketing and trading farm inputs as well as provision of rural financial services has not been effective. The intervention has removed incentives for technological advancement, efficiency improvements and private sector participation. Efforts to control salinity and water-logging have not yet reversed the declining trend in soil and irrigation water quality.
While agricultural growth has lowered food poverty in rural areas, it has not led to widespread increases in income. It has benefited large landholders more than small landholders and the landless. The growth in total income has not resulted in better access to health and education services for the poor in rural areas.
World Bank Support
The World Bank provides support by financing individual projects and providing technical advice to the government on ways to improve the performance of the agriculture sector. Current World Bank support is provide through several projects in the water sector, forestry and natural resources management. The largest of these projects, the National Drainage Program, is aimed at to improving the efficiency of the irrigation and drainage system.
World Bank Country Assistance Strategy 1995 to present
The previous World Bank assistance strategy focused on three main areas: improving water use efficiency through support for irrigation and drainage in the Indus Basin system (IBS) and in minor irrigation in non-IBS areas; support for agricultural research and extension; and the strengthening of institutions in the forestry and natural management areas. The interventions in the water sector have been relatively more successful because they incorporated beneficiary groups in the implementation of the programs
World Bank Proposed Country Assistance Strategy for 2001-2003
The World Bank's proposed plan is to help Pakistan improve agricultural productivity for the majority of farmers as one way of helping Government meet its goal of reducing poverty and improving the quality of life for the rural poor. It will focus on supporting:
* agricultural policy reform to ensure market based pricing
* Improved services for agricultural research and extension
* support for the development of environmentally sound farming systems;
* growth of the rural non-farm sector (e.g. through credit programs, link to markets)
* participatory and gender sensitive development
* restructuring of public expenditure for agriculture to support essential rural infrastructure and services
* increased partnerships with NGOs, the private sector and other sectors
forging partnerships among government, NGOs and donors
Reforms Needed from Government
* more selectivity in public sector interventions in marketing
* increasing the role of beneficiaries in decision making
* increased cost recovery to finance quality agricultural/irrigation services to farmers
* increasing the role of the private sector in agricultural development.