Impact of cropping pattern shift on livelihood assets of the farmers in Punjab, Pakistan
Cotton area is shrinking in Pakistan as the farmers have started adopting sugarcane for many reasons such as increasing number of sugar mills in core cotton areas. This study aimed at exploring the impacts of this cropping pattern shift on livelihood of the farmers. This study was conducted in district Rahim Yar Khan, one of the cotton core area of Punjab province. Total 400 farmers participated in the study. A well-structured interview schedule was administered in the field to conduct face to face interviews of the respondents. Descriptive statistics were applied to analyze the collected data through the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) to form conclusions and to make recommendations. The results indicated that knowledge and skills about production of other crops, linkage with research and development institutions, livestock possession and cash income of the respondents increased in result of cropping pattern shift. Conversely, land fertility and water conservation were compromised after shifting from cotton to sugarcane crop in the study area. This study urges further exploration of merits and demerits of cropping pattern shifts followed by the impacts on agricultural system in the country. It is further recommended that the government should revamp the cotton policy for the coming year. For instance, announcing and sustaining a minimum support price of cotton for cotton growers could reinstate the growers to cotton cultivation.
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