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The Well Being of Punjab

Ali Safdar
In the coming years, the basic challenge for Punjab’s economy is to grow at a fast rate to provide quality jobs to young people entering the workforce every year. For sustained improvement in living standards, economic growth has to be private sector-led, employment-intensive and exports-oriented. The primary focus of the Punjab Growth Strategy are the drivers of inclusive growth that are within the provincial domain and affect productivity of firms and farms and their investment decisions. To facilitate manufacturing and commercial activity, the strategy emphasizes the importance of managing Punjab’s rapid urbanization so that our cities and towns become more livable and serve as engines of economic growth. To support agriculture and livestock production, the strategy recommends rural investments and institutional reform to increase crop yields, move to higher value added crops and improve livestock breeds.
According to the vision of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif Punjab and Pakistan will only progress towards sustained higher living standards by building a strong foundation of human capital. The government is determined to address the key challenges that lower worker productivity and keep people trapped in poverty.
It aims to enhance the productivity of scarce resources by upgrading infrastructure, introducing modern techniques and streamlining regulations that reduce productivity. The Strategy also seeks to efficiently utilize sources of growth such as Punjab’s rapidly growing urban centers and its youth bulge, and develop the energy, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
Agriculture is central to economic growth and development in Punjab. Its contribution to national agricultural economy is overwhelming. Growth in agriculture sector improves the incomes of poor household groups substantially, as it is the most pro-poor sector in terms of growth. Future increase in Punjab’s agricultural output will come from increasing crop productivity.
Agriculture is also contributing a significant share of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are causing climate change – 17% directly through agricultural activities and an additional 7% to 14% through land use changes. Technical solutions exist and underscore the potential of the agriculture sector to be part of climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions without consistent policy signals, autonomous efforts by farmers are unlikely to be sufficient to create a sustainable, productive and resilient agriculture sector.
The government is focusing on creating better value chains by creating and preserving value at the farm level and improving connectivity of farms with markets and improving land resources and environment, by tackling water logging and improving soil quality, and mitigating the impact of climate change.
At the national level, the signals sent by the wider social, economic and environmental policy settings should support the objectives of a sustainable, climate friendly, resilient and productive agriculture sector. At the sector level, governments should strengthen consistency and get the incentives right within the overall agriculture policy set by removing policies which generate unsustainable production systems and exacerbate climate change.
The Livestock Sector has been performing well below its potential. Research has shown that overcoming the weaknesses of this sector can reduce income variability and provide better employment for women.
The Government will create a policy environment that helps farmers by smartly deploying public investments in core public goods and inducing private capital in the sector. Government will seek increasing per animal productivity, via a number of measures including genetic improvement, cross breeding and compliance to international standards and adoption of modern techniques such as e-monitoring while encouraging farmers to use modern technology.The vision is to make Punjab a secure, economically vibrant, knowledge-based and caring province that is on the roads realizing this vision.

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