Current Structure of Landholdings and Importance of Small Farms In Pakistan
Keywords:Land Holdings, Small Farms, Family Farms, High Value Commodities, Pakistan
In agrarian economies like Pakistan, agriculture structures especially, the pattern of ownership of land and size distribution are the crucial indicator and principal form of wealth and political power. Despite two land reforms (1959, 1972), to reform the feudal agrarian structure of the country, agricultural lands are highly skewed in favor of large farms. This dominance of large farms in owning means of production leads to severe inequalities in the distribution of wealth and income which is the major obstacle in the provision of the basic need to a large proportion of the population. Tenancy, a problem in the past because poor tenants were handicapped in accessing different institutes and services, is solved somehow. Despite different consolidation programs in the past, the fragmentation issue is there, 34 percent of the total farm area is fragmented in Pakistan. A majority of farms (58%) in Pakistan are small farms, so for the prosperity of the country, well-being of small farms is very important. Due to the diversification of agriculture from cash crop to high-value commodities, and concepts like tunnel farming, organic agriculture, horticulture and livestock, small farms tend to offer some opportunities. On the other hand, natural disasters, pest attacks, access to financial markets, unfavorable macroeconomic policies are threatening the prosperity of small farms.