Agricultural ‘Crisis’ in Pakistan: Some Explanations and Policy Options (The Distinguishedl Lecture)

Publication Year : 1997

This paper is about public policy and agricultural growth in Pakistan. The author takes the position that, in a historical perspective, public policy has been a large part of the erratic, maybe unsustainable, growth of agriculture in Pakistan. The most important policy issue, therefore, is to radically restructure the existing bureaucratic, patronage-ridden, rent-seeking, and wasteful system of institutions and services. Governments have been far too active in some areas and far too inactive in others, affecting perversely farm productivity and farmers’ economic well-being. The flaws in public policy reflect two important aspects of governments: (i) their inability-reflecting both inadequate will and administrative capacity-to implement what needs to be done and (ii) their wrong diagnosis of, hence prescription for, the problems.