Dynamics of Wheat Market Integration in Northern Punjab, Pakistan

The economy of Pakistan is largely dependent on the agriculture sector which contributes about 21 percent to the GDP and employs about 43.4 percent of the labour force. Agriculture and agro-based industrial products contribute about three fourth of the total foreign exchange earnings from export [Pakistan (2007)]. About 66 percent of the population lives in rural areas of Pakistan and directly or indirectly depends on agriculture for its livelihood. The welfare and participation of the rural population in the economy is therefore, central to the country’s progress. Despite the importance of agricultural sector in the national economy, there is a wide gap between food supply and demand due to low performance of agriculture [FAO (2000)]. The country is not producing enough commodities like wheat, rice and edible oil etc. to meet even the basic food needs of the population and as a consequence poverty is on the rise, particularly in the rural areas. In order to reduce poverty, agriculture has to grow faster and at a sustainable basis.