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ISLAMABAD: The use of modern methods of irrigation in rural areas of Pakistan is minimal or nonexistent as only 1.44 percent rural areas in Pakistan reported usage of modern methods, says the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The bureau in its latest report, "Key finding report of mouza Census-2020", stated that usage of modern irrigation system has almost the same pattern in provinces; however, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa reported almost three percent areas were using modern irrigation methods, while Sindh and Balochistan shown only 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent areas were using the these methods.

Usage of drip system for irrigation is more prevalent and its usage is highest in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with three percent.

The report further stated that depth of underground water in majority of rural areas is up to 100 feet; however, there are stark differences between the provinces. In Punjab and Sindh more than 75 percent rural areas have depth of underground water up to 100 feet; however, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan majority rural areas have water depth of 101 feet.

Availability of electricity to all parts of mouzas overall Pakistan have significantly improved in 2020 as now 50 percent of mouzas have electricity in all part as compared to 35 percent in 2008. However, still 16 percent of rural areas of Pakistan do not have electricity, the report noted.

Among provinces, Punjab with 65 percent has the highest percentage of areas where electricity is available in all parts of mouzas as compared to only 19 percent in Balochistan. Fifty percent of rural areas in Balochistan do not have electricity followed by 24 percent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The report noted that natural disasters badly affect the livelihood of people in general but they are more devastating for rural populations due to their major dependence on agriculture and livestock activities. It is found that 74 percent of rural areas were not affected by any major natural disaster in the last five years.

However, among the areas, which faced any disaster, the highest percentage is of drought with 14 percent followed by flood with eight percent.

However, within provinces the situation varies and it is observed that rural areas of Balochistan and Sindh were most affected by droughts with 58 percent and 17 percent, respectively followed by rural areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with 12 percent.

In terms of floods, again rural areas of Balochistan have been affected severely in the last five years with 14 percent followed by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with 11 percent.

However, natural disaster in terms of earthquake is mainly faced by rural population of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with 20 percent followed by four percent rural areas affected in Balochistan. Rural areas of Punjab are least affected by any natural disasters in the last five years.

It is observed that majority of rural areas, i.e., 92 percent in Pakistan lack large scale and medium scale industries; however, there is some concentration of small scale and cottage industries with approximately four percent each.

Among provinces, rural areas of Sindh and Punjab have the highest prevalence of small industries with five percent each. Rural areas of Sindh also have highest concentration of cottage industries with six percent followed by five percent in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Rural areas of Punjab have highest concentration of medium scale industries with two percent as compared to the other provinces, the report noted.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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