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Impact of SMEs on the Rural Development of Sindh-Pakistan.

Byline: Ms. Hina Shah and Faiz Muhammad Shaikh


This research investigates the strategies for the Sustainable Rural Development in Pakistan. The current scenario is quiet dismal warrants the urgent need on the part of the governments of the world, organization, and all other stake-holders to come together to take stock of the grim situation and act collectively to protect environment in the interest of present of future generations. If we don't act swiftly at this critical and juncture the future cost of inaction would be very high perhaps beyond the means of developing countries. Data were collected from 30 organiza- tions by using simple random technique and data were analyzed by using SPSS software. It was revealed that sustainable development of the rural sector in Pakistan produces evidences of the degradation of the rural resources such as land, water, air, forest, biodiversity, ecology, and also erosion of social values.

Key Words: Sustainable, development, Rural Development


The issue of sustainable development has drawn worldwide attention in the recent years. The growth and development models, pursued by both developed and developing countries and based on principle of maximization of production, consumption and material wealth have only turned this beautiful planet earth into a place of mass destruction and deprivation. Mankind is now faced with a very serious crises of ecological imbalances and its consequential adverse effects e.g reflected to the global warming, thinning on ozone layer, vast changes in climatic pattern, melting of glaciers, losses of biodiversity, soil degradation, air and water pollution, acid rain, situations of lakes and river beds, extinct of species depletion of other known natural resources, different kind of plants and animals, genetic disorder and various kinds of diseases.

Fundamentally, environmental problems can be classified into three cate- gories viz, recourse depletion problems, pollution problems and other social problems. Through these issues sustainable development is crucial for the sur-

vival of mankind, yet a sense of urgency is lacking among nations both devel- oped and developing. The current scenario is quite dismal warrant the urgent need on the part of the governments of the world, organization, and all other stake-holders to come together to take stock of the grim situation and act collec- tively to protect environment in the interest of present and future generations. If we don't act swiftly at this critical juncture their future cost of inaction would be very high perhaps beyond the means of developing countries.

After realizing the significance the urgency of sustainable development, local and international organizations have lately stated giving serious thoughts to these issues to tackle the and arrest further the deteriorating situation by the possible means. Economic growth in Pakistan on existing pattern has resulted in growing problem of sustainability of natural resources and environment, demag- ing our eco-system. Almost all natural resources, particularly belonging to Agriculture have been reported to be in the process of degradation. We present in this section such evidences of resource degradation and other allied issues.

Land Degradation

In Pakistan Agriculture sector is still dominated and the highest share in Pakistan's economy counts through agricultural land and certainly the most important non-renewable resource for rural masses. Notably, for a large part of post-independent era, management of Land did not appear as an important thrust area of planners, all along, had been produce as much as possible for food secu- rity purposes and in turn led to non-viable pattern of land utilization. Due to excessive use of the fertilizers in Pakistan that was increased nearly 100 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Depletion of Water Resources

Water is greatly used for irrigation, industry, hydel power and drinking pur- poses. In terms of utilization, irrigation accounts 80 percent of the total avail- able water domestic and other uses accounts for 20 percent. The ground water that accounts for above one-third of the country's total water utilization is not only inadequate in many parts of the country but also depleting rapidly. With the adoption of new agricultural strategy in the 1960's, the tube well irrigation involving ground water utilization received special attention. Ground water tables have gone down significantly in many areas across the country. The prob- lem has aggravated in hill areas due to rapid deforestation. In the areas near the sea, the salinity ingress caused by excessive extraction and then filled in by the seawater, is increasing at an alarming rate.

Both surface water and ground water in rural areas has not only become scare but polluted also. Most of the rivers and water resources have turned into sew- ers because of the indiscriminate discharge of untreated industrial effluent, human waste and other harmful chemicals into the river.

Degradation of forest Resources

Forest occupies an important place among the natural resources of the coun- try. Forest meets the essential requirements of the people on a renewable basis. In Pakistan forest provides fodder to about 20 million cattle and also fuel and wood for domestic and industrial uses. Forest confer ecological benefits and being the repository of biodiversity, constitute an essential element of sustain- able development, provides vital life support system.

Risk to Biodiversity off sleet

The world's greatest range of attitude, rainfall and geographical conditions have given rise to an enormous density of forest, grassland, wet land, desert mountains and marine eco-system. The vast reserve of biodiversity in Pakistan gets threatened due to variety of factors such as rapidly growing population, deforestation, use of agro-chemicals, unplanned development of natural envi- ronment, anthropogenic impact as a result of ignorance, apathy of people, etc. Market forces commercialization have further deepened the crisis of biodiversi- ty loss. The coral refer the protect the coastal areas from sea erosion are being, thoughtlessly, used for manufacturing cement in Rohri and Karachi.

Deprivation of Rural People

Poverty, inequality and unemployment this triumvirate, pose a serious chal- lenge towards sustainable development in Pakistan. Even after 63 years of inde- pendence and development planning, these three problems continued to be per- vasive. The incidence of poverty in Pakistan is about 23% percent and most of the people living under poverty line. Unchecked population expansion, pressure on land, limited access of various rural programs, limited and weak effect of "Trickle down theory" eviction of small and marginal peasants, declining local handicrafts and services, failure of local governance, bureaucratic corruption and redtapism, illiteracy, unemployment are some of the more identified reasons for the poverty and inequality in countryside.

Strategies for Sustainable Development

The unfavorable situation, as brought out in the preceding analysis, in the rural areas of Pakistan with reference to several indicators as ingredients in sus- tainable rural development, requires multi-faceted and multi-pronged strategies and remediable measure for the redress of acute problem of rural sustainability. We here offer some strategies for remedial measures to solve these deepening crises. This section is therefore devoted to these remedial measures.

Stabilizing Population

To stabilize population is an essential element of any strategy for the rural development on sustainable basis. Rural population in Pakistan is nearly 70% of the total population. Migration of people from rural areas to urban areas, which is on substantial scale, is not the lasting solution of population problem. Out migration is not proving much beneficial to the rural people either as large pro- portion of such persons (particularly in high income brackets) settle in urban areas permanently and tend to snap their ties with village people left behind reducing the scope of any network of expansion of new idea and information and cultural diffusion. In the case of landless, small and marginal farmers mov- ing to urban centers, for petty jobs high cost of living miserable and also adding extra population burden on urban centers.

We have now reached a stage where some hard measures are required to control our population is not just a demo- graphic issue, education, incentives, health care facilities, and women empow- erment would go a long way in controlling population. Required changes must be affected with force, persuasion and education.

Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Livestock

Since living of rural masses revolve round agriculture, forests and livestock, it is essential to make all the three sustainable for sustainable development of the rural economy. In the case of food grains production, Pakistan is achieve record production in Rice in 2010 through extensive technique used for the cul- tivation of main cereal crops. Cropping pattern in particular regions is governed by physical and topographical factors. For the diversification to be successful food security will have to be ensured in one hand and the guaranteed minimum support for these cash and other crops on the other.

Effective steps are required towards forest conservation and tree plantation programs. Agro-forestry and social forestry need to be given a big push to meet timber needs, firewood and fodder. The extension of forest area has to come from the area which is w classified as barren and uncultivable wasteland, village common land and vacant land along the road side and railway line. Livestock is contributing 11% in the GDP of Pakistan. The competitiveness of the Pakistani market for agricultural commodities, including dairy products, has been at the forefront of much debate in recent times in the context of recent reforms to the increasing trade liberalisation brought about as a result of and increasing glob- alisation of the world economy (Newman and Matthews, 2004). Consequently, the objective of this research was to examine the relative competitiveness of Pakistan's specialist milk producers.

The chosen samples for comparison, between pack milk producers Engro-foods, Nestle, Haleeb, Dairy queen, Good Milk, with in the Pakistani markets. Furthermore, additional analysis was con- ducted on 'representative' farm types from the domestic Farm Comparisons, based on a number of major domestic milk producing countries, to determine the relative international competitiveness of 'representative' Pakistan's special- ist milk producers. The data sources used and methodology involved in the com- putation of the various indicators of competitiveness used in the analysis are outlined in the following section. The results of the various indicators of com- petitiveness are then outlined and the conclusions from the research identified.

Appropriate Technology

The efficient and environmental friendly technologies that can be slow down or regenerate natural resources need to be applied. There are many areas of rural sector where such technology is urgently needed. There is a huge waste from Agriculture, horticulture, dairying, mining and building material industries. The technology that can be used in that will be associated with local communities.

Technology should be user friendly so that farmers can easily operate in the field of Agriculture.

Technology also reduces dependence of Agriculture on climatic factors and thereby securing farmers against weather induced risk and uncertainty.

Technology should be sound and evaluated before it is recommended for wider use.

Integrating Environment and Economics

The time is ripe when environment is required to be integrated with econom- ics. The days when nature was considered inexhaustible and free are over and there is need to evolve economic instruments to conserve nature and eco-sys- tem. Unless it's done, we will fail to achieve suitable sustainable programs. Many environmental programs can easily be traced to the absence of markets for the most of nature's services where environmental cost are not assigned and apportioned. Reckless subsidies on water and electricity and even their free usage to certain categories farmers in Sindh made land and other resources vul- nerable to degradation in number of ways. While economically advanced nations have developed accounting mechanism to allocate cost environmental damage this type of practice is not practice in developing countries.

Rural Education and Research and Extension

Education is social instrument, which functions as a vital agent of social-cul- tural change, and there is direct relationship between the level of education and the level of development. In rural areas of Pakistan literacy is low and matter of education is not given priority to the previous governments. The experience revealed that the even the teachers and local students are not fully trained to ful- fill the syllabus of primary education. Rural people are deprived of their basic rights. Government has emphasis on the quality of education.

Empowering Women

The success of any activity generally depends on the extent to which both women and men participate in that activity. Therefore, sustainable development in rural sector to be successful, participation of women is equally important. Presently, the women produce 50 percent of the SMEs business in Pakistan. Women can contribute significantly if shelter is provided from tribal feudal in Pakistan. Rural women are involved in all practically in all such as agriculture and related activities, besides performing domestic duties such as rearing of children and raising of family, cooking, washing, etc. Not only women in rural areas have started while men's domain. Rural men folk are, very cleverly shift- ing their work to women while former away their time, playing cards, gossiping and several other useless unproductive activities. Women are also responsible for milking and tending Pakistan's 10 million cows and 30 million buffalos. Educated mother is just like the first teacher.

She can instill in her wards a sense of respect for nature and the value of biodiversity. Commenting on women edu- cation which is unfinished agenda because women are facing lot of challenges another important factor that comes to mind in the promotion of sustainable development is that middle class group of women in town and cities should take more interest in rural based women organizations, their movement, and their problem.


The impact of globalization which is under way, will have deep impact on the sustainability of rural resources. So far, opinion on the issue is divided. According to some analysis, trade liberalization under the regime, by expanding production and accelerating growth, will inevitably damage the environment. In order to provide safeguards to rural genetic resources, the CBD may be invoked which recognizes community rights over their biodiversity and the indigenous knowledge. Regarding foreign direct investment (FDI), it should be allowed prudently in more grey areas that improve the quality of environment in rural areas. Such areas include forestation of wasteland to produce fuel wood and fodder, watershed development, agro-forestry, low cost sanitation measures, conversion of crop residue into fuel, In short, foreign investment should reflect ecological dimension, frequently overlooked in the past.


The issue of sustainable development has drawn world wide attention in finding universal acceptability, though slowly. The growth models pursued by both developed and developing countries by and large failed to deliver satisfac- tory solution of the multifarious problems faced by humanity. The present study that is all about sustainable development of the rural sector in Pakistan produces evidences of the degradation of the rural resources such as land, water, air, for- est, biodiversity, ecology, and also erosion of social values. These calls for urgent solution of problems by devising suitable strategies which are compati- ble with nature and that also meet the aspirations of the rural masses.

So that sustainable development does not remain only rhetoric, government, NGOs, experts, technologist's extension worker, policy makers and all stakeholders make sincere efforts to solve these problems through persuasion, command and control measures. The movement of sustainable development must grow out of the people's involvement.


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Ms. Hina Shah and Faiz Muhammad Shaikh,

Assistant Professor, Government Girls College, Hyderabad AND Assistant Professor, Department of Agri: Economics, SZABAC - Dokri - Larkana, Sindh- Pakistan
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Publication:Journal of Business Strategies (Karachi)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 30, 2011
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