THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Public Policy and Agricultural Transformation in Pakistan (Invited Lecture)
Successive governments in Pakistan have claimed that most of their policies were aimed at alleviating rural poverty and improving the income-earning capacity of “small” farmers. However, a close examination of almost all of the major policies seems to indicate that the beneficiaries have been mainly the large landowners and even traditional landlords. This paper will argue that by promoting policies favourab le mainly to these groups governments have contributed to persistent income inequalities and rural poverty without raising the efficiency levels or increasing the tax revenues for the services needed by agriculture in general and the rural poor in particular. A major part of the argument will be that certain key policy options have not been used effectively and that the others that have been used are contradictory to the goals of maximizing efficiency , equity and revenues.