Spatial patterns of population growth and agricultural change in the Punjab, Pakistan, 1901-72
The present study looks into the two most conspicuous aspects of the Punjab's geography - population and agriculture - and their interrelationship. With a population of almost 49 million, the Punjab is not only the leading province of Pakistan but contains more people than, for example, Egypt, Iran, Turkey or Thailand. Furthermore, with 69 per cent of Pakistan's net sown area, the Province contains three fifths of the nation's agricultural labour force and produces three fourths of its wheat, one half of its rice and two thirds of its total foodgrains. The Punjab is thus not only Pakistan's "granary" but also one of the world's principal agricultural regions where continuous rapid population growth has created an unabated challenge to economic development. The analysis is directed first to the evolution of the region's population, which increased relatively slowly before 1921, but thereafter grew rapidly in the wake of sharply falling mortality. Regional variations in the Punjab's population growth have been connected not only with the rising rate of natural increase, but also with large scale redistribution due to agricultural expansion via canal irrigation development. Agricultural change bearing a stronger interconnection with rural population change, the urban-rural differential of population growth is studied in detail and this assists in providing an understanding of the patterns of population distribution. Secondly, the investigation focusses on the performance of the region's agriculture which, by employing more than half of Pakistan's total labour force and contributing almost one third of its GNP, plays a dominant role in the nation's development effort. In view of the multidimensionality of agricultural development, variations in the spatial patterning of land utilization and productivity since Independence are analyzed with respect to physical inputs as well as social and institutional forces. Finally, the interrelationships between the region's population growth and agricultural change for the period 1961-72 are investigated with a view to disentangling their nature and intensity. The Province's rapid population growth has not only exerted pressure on its resources and thus created a challenge to development, but has also multiplied its agricultural labour force, the effects of which on land utilization and productivity are analyzed. Correlation analysis reveals important regional variations in the interrelationships between population growth and agricultural change.