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ISSN : 1225-8504(Print)
ISSN : 2287-8165(Online)
Journal of the Korean Society of International Agriculture Vol.26 No.3 pp.197-209

Analysis of Rural Development Timeline in Korea and Pakistan: What Lessons Pakistan Can Learn?

Babar Shahbaz, Muhammad Luqman*, Gyoung-Rae Cho**
Institute of Agricultural Extension & Rural Development, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
*Department of Agri. Extension, College of Agriculture, Sargodha University, Pakistan
**International Technology Cooperation Center, RDA, Jeonju 560-500, Korea
Corresponding Author : (Phone) +82-63-238-1125,
August 19, 2014 August 27, 2014 August 28, 2014


The main objective of this paper is to sequentially analyze the major themes in rural development by taking the case studies of Pakistan and Korea using the framework proposed by Ellis and Biggs. The data presented in this paper is based on an intensive review of literature and in-depth interviews with some key persons from different organizations in the Republic of Korea. It indicates that at the time of independence, both countries had weak industrial base and the economy was largely dependent on agriculture. Agricultural development remained the main focus of Pakistan’s development policies since independence; however, it was not until early 1970s when development of agriculture and rural areas became the priority of Korean government. Though many development projects have also been implemented in Pakistan since its independence, inconsistent policies adopted by different political regimes is one of the main reasons for comparatively poor performance in agriculture and rural development sectors while the Korean government and policy makers have quickly responded to different challenges that emerged from time to time. It seems that Korean government is taking necessary measures to diversify the rural economy through the promotion of agricultural value addition, rural tourism and improved marketing infrastructure to meet new challenges, along with the commendable efforts of its research and extension organizations; however the response of Pakistan seems rather sluggish in this respect. The concluding argument is that though contextual, cultural and socio-economic differences may be taken into account while comparing the development history of different countries, developing countries can learn substantially from the experiences of a developed country in some particular sector, notably in the problem solving approach, integrated strategy, agricultural value addition, strengthening of local governments, livelihood diversification in rural areas, effective linkages between different organizations and emphasis on sustainable livelihoods.

한국과 파키스탄의 농촌개발 타임라인 분석: 파키스탄에 주는 교훈

사바즈 바바, 루크만 무하마드*, 조 경래**
파키스탄 파이살라바드 농업대학
*파키스탄 사르고다 대학


    Improvement of rural areas through effective development strategies remains a challenge for the governments of most of the developing countries around the globe. Agricultural growth, community mobilization/empowerment and provision of basic services to the rural people are interconnected aspects of rural development and considered as main drivers of socio-economic growth of rural areas (FAO, 2006). Different researchers, practitioners and development organizations have elucidated different components of rural development; for instance, wellbeing of rural people (Chambers and Conway, 1992; Ward et al., 2005), poverty reduction through the increase in agricultural productivity and households income (Ellis and Freeman, 2004), improved access to education, health and sanitation and clean drinking water facility (Rosset, 2000), equal access to income generating activities both in farm and non-farm sectors (World Bank, 2007; Hazel et al., 2007), food security (FAO, 2010; Kollmair and Juli, 2002), improvement of the capabilities of rural institutions (Long, 1997) and so on. Many of the researchers argued that development of agriculture sector is the key instrument for poverty reduction, sustainable rural development (Brennan and Luloff, 2005; Ward et al., 2005). This paper follows the dominant discourse that agricultural development is the main drivers for rural development and economic growth (Brennan and Luloff, 2005; Singh, 1990; Ward et al., 2005; Maxwell et al., 2001).

    The literature shows that majority of the rural development efforts specifically in Asia were initiated after the 2nd World War i.e. during late 1940s (Ellis and Biggs, 2001). Ellis and Biggs (2001) gave an overview of paradigm changes in the rural development thinking and strategies from 1950s to 2000s (see Fig. 1). The major shift, according to them was seen in 1960s when the small farms were started to be considered as the engine of agriculture-led development and growth and this was a major shift of early 1950s thinking that the small and subsistence farmers could only play a passive role in country's development (see also Ellis, 2000).

    Problem Statement and Objectives

    “Throughout Korea's long history, farmers in Korea encountered many difficulties: frequent invasion by the neighboring countries, suffering under colonial rule, the Korean War, a viscous cycle of rural poverty etc. A sense of fatalism by the farmers was deeply rooted in their minds. By changing the age old infrastructure of rural villages through their own efforts, this fatalism was transformed from a ‘we cannot’ to a ‘we can do’ attitude”. (Park, 1998:213).

    Korea was a poverty stricken country when it became independent in 1945, and the Korean War (1950-1953) made the situation more ruinous. On the other hand Pakistan, which had also gone through many crises, difficulties, wars, natural disasters since its independence in 1947, is still struggling to achieve economic prosperity and viable (rural) development despite a whole series of development programs and initiatives (see for example Abbas et al., 2009; Luqman, et al., 2013). For instance the first mega level program was initiated in early 1950s with the name Village Agricultural and Industrial Development Program (V-AID) which was followed by rural works programs, integrated rural development program and rural support programs (RSPs) etc. implemented from time to time by different democratic and military governments. However most of these initiatives and programs were terminated one after the other and could not achieve their intended objectives of overall rural development in most of the regions of the country (Luqman et al., 2013). In this context the major objective of this research paper, is to analyze the dominant and sequential themes in rural development by taking the case studies of Pakistan and Korea, using the framework proposed by Ellis and Biggs (2001). Both of the countries faced fragile political situation during initial period after independence, however development initiatives in Korea were proved to be very successful and now Korea is taken as a model of development for Pakistan who is still struggling to come out from the vicious cycle of poverty and hunger.

    The guiding questions for this review paper are as follows;

    1. What are the dominant and secondary themes that had shaped the rural development practices and strategies in Pakistan and Korea since 1950s?

    2. What are the areas of divergence and convergence while comparing the rural development paradigms in Pakistan and Korea

    3. How different organizations of Korea are contributing towards the rural development and livelihood improvement.

    4. What lessons can Pakistan learn and what policy implications can be drawn from Korean experience regarding agricultural and rural development.


    The literature shows that majority of the rural development efforts specifically in Asia were initiated after the 2nd World War i.e. during late 1940s (Ellis and Biggs, 2001). Ellis and Biggs (2001) gave an overview of paradigm changes in the rural development thinking and strategies from 1950s to 2000s (see Fig. 1). The major shift, according to them was seen in 1960s when the small farms were started to be considered as the engine of agriculture-led development and growth and this was a major shift of early 1950s thinking that the small and subsistence farmers could only play a passive role in country's development (see also Ellis, 2000).

    This paper takes the timeline frame of Ellis and Biggs (Fig. 1) as basis and attempts to understand paradigm shift in the rural development policies (with special focus on agriculture) of Republic of Korea from 1950s to 2000s and link/compare it with Pakistan's context. However, taking into consideration the risks of “oversimplification” (Ellis and Biggs, 2001) regarding the comparison of rural development themes of Republic of Korea and Pakistan since 1950s we agree that the rural development themes and changes cannot be “trapped into time capsules conveniently organized in decades”. Nevertheless, this paper is an attempt to give an overview of rural development of South Korea and Pakistan. The detailed objectives of the paper are given in the next sub-section.


    Korea is located in South East Asia, South Korea has a population of 48 million and about 97 thousand sq. km. land area. It is highly urbanized country (84% urban population) that is transformed from agrarian economy to an industrialized country in a short period of time (KERI, 2010).The literacy rate is almost 100% and GDP per capita is very high. Agricultural land makes only 18% of the total land area and share of agriculture in total GDP is merely 2% (see Table 1). Pakistan which is situated in South Asia has comparatively large area (770880 sq. km.) and population (180 millions) as compared to Korea. However adult literacy rate and GDP per capita is substantially lower than Korea. Agriculture holds prominent position and contributes 20% to the GDP of the country.

    A comparison of the timeline of development indicators (Table 2) indicates that cultivable agriculture land was increased from 28% in 1960 to about 34% in 2011; however it was declined from 21% to 18% from 1960 to 2011. Likewise the share of agriculture value added in GDP of both countries was almost equal in 1960 but declined gradually in Pakistan and sharply in Korea. The most remarkable improvement can be seen in GDP per capita. Pakistan's GDP per capita increased from 81 US$ to 1290$ from 1960 to 2012 but Korea's GDP per capita increased from 155$ to impressive 22600 $ from 1960 to 2012. Similarly the GAP between Korea and Pakistan in other development indicators became enormous from 1960s to 2012 (see Table 2).


    This section gives an overall picture of rural areas and rural development efforts in Korea and Pakistan during different decades from 1950s to the present.

    The Journey Started (1950s)


    The economy of Korea was generally based on agriculture when it got independence from Japan in 1945. The agriculture sector was dominated by the landlords (Reed, 2010), and the rural society was characterized with extreme poverty and hunger (Park, 1998). Rice, which is the staple food for Koreans, was in short supply during 50s (KREI, 2010) and the main focus of the then government was to increase the food supply. The low crop productivity was due to old agri. technology, poor infrastructure and shortage of inputs (KREI, 2010). According to Cho (2011: p-5) “…. the Korean War during 1950 - 1953, destroyed almost all industrial infrastructures, and forced Koreans to start from zero base”. Nevertheless, after the end of the war, Korea received a huge amount of funding, in the form of aid and loans, from USA and some other countries. And to ensure the supply of fertilizera) and to improve the agricultural infrastructure the then government invested considerable amount of this money for the construction of fertilizer factories and maintenance of agricultural setup particularly irrigation (Park et al. 2012). The agri. extension service was also revived in the late 1950s to improve the dissemination of agricultural production technology (KREI, 2010). But landlord-tenantb) relation was a major hindrance in improvement of the rural and agricultural sector.

    The need for land reform was realized by the then government and the process of land reform in South Korea was initiated around 1950. Reed (2010) narrated that the comprehensive land reform was an early policy (during 1948 - 50) that was vital for the rural development in South Korea. The traditional landlord-tenant relationship was abolished and a new class of self-employed farmers emerged as an outcome of the land reforms process that continued from 1950 to 1957 (KREI, 2010). Nevertheless the impact of the land reform was significant and after the reforms majority of the farmers became owners, and a homogeneous rural society (in terms of economic status) emerged in rural Korea.

    Along with land reforms, the establishment of cooperatives was a major policy of then Korean government in this decade (Hwang, 2010). Agricultural Cooperative Bank, National Agricultural Cooperative Federation and Village level cooperatives were established during late 1950s. The main tasks of these cooperatives were to provide credit to farmers (Hwang, 2010), agro-input supply and diffusion of agricultural technology (Larry et al., 2001). These agricultural related cooperatives significantly contributed to Korean economy in general and rural economy in particular (Park et al., 2012). Community development projects were also initiated during this period. In these projects, the central government provided funding for village level development projects proposed by the local communities and village leaders.


    Economy of Pakistan, similar to Korea, was agrarian (with almost zero industrial base) when it got independence in 1947 and majority of the farmers had small landholding. The annual growth rate during this period (1950 - 1960) was low because agriculture was main driver of economy of the country and the yield/production of major field crops was very low (Chaudhry et al., 1996). This low yield was attributed to poor performance of agriculture sector throughout 1950s (Mahmood et al., 2008). In view of the backwardness of agriculture during this era, the government of Pakistan started to develop agriculture on modern crop production and protection technologies through rural extension work (World Bank, 2003). The priority of the Government was to develop agriculture sector (Mahmood et al., 2008) because the country was dependent on imported commodities to meet the food requirement (Husain, 2004). In order to develop agriculture on modern crop management lines, the government of Pakistan started different programmes during this era of stagnant agricultural growth. The first programme of this nature was started in early 1950s with the name Village Agricultural and Industrial Development (V-AID) Programme (Lodhi et al., 2006). Under this programme, the policy of providing employment opportunities to rural people was also adopted by the state authorities (Cheema, 1980). Community development i.e. provision of basic facilities to the rural community (education, health, recreational facilities, rural infrastructure and other social services) and the promotion of agro based rural industry (cottage industry) was the main theme of rural development strategy during this period (Sobhan, 1968).

    The notion of modern rural capital was used to develop agriculture on up to date modern scientific lines and adoption of improved agricultural technologies to remove the concept of backwardness of agriculture sector (Saeed and Honggang, 1999). For involving rural youth in the entire rural development process, an important step was taken by the state authorities by launching rural youth movement in 1950s (Mallah, 1997). In late 1950s a new system of governance was initiated with the name Basic Democracies System (BDS) to solve the rural community problems related to agriculture, education, infrastructure and sanitation. The BDS was designed to bring both the elements of community and political development closer to each other at the local grass root level (Luqman, 2004). The focus of first year development plan (1955-60) was to attain high national level income through growth in agriculture and its sub sectors (Haider, 2011).

    The Turning Point (1960s)


    Year 1961 was a turning point in the Korean history of development when Park Chung-hee took over the power through a coup d'état, and immediately after formation of the government, the development of industrial and manufacturing base of the country became the focus of President Park. One of the major developments during early 1960s was the establishment of Economic Planning Board in 1961 and development of five-year plan (Kim, 2010a). During the period of first five-year plan (1962 - 1966), the rate of economic growth in Korea became 7.9% (Hong, 2013). However, the rural sector was relatively ignored (Reed, 2010) and industrial growth aggravated the economic gap between rural and urban areas (Park, 2010).

    Although the decade of 1960 - 1970 was the decade of rapid industrialization in Korea, but some notable policies and programme were introduced for the improvement of rural sector that proved to be catalysts of growth in the coming decades. Rural Development Administration (RDA) was established in 1962 and it took over the role of agricultural research, development and extension, however the rate of adoption of new agricultural technologies remained very low throughout the 1960s and 1970s (Kim et al., 2010), but later on RDA played the major role in green revolution in Korea. Investments in irrigation facilities and marketing infrastructure were also made during this period (Reed, 2010). Similarly, the productivity increased rapidly in 1960s when the construction of fertilizer factories was completed and more fertilizers were supplied to the farmers (Park et al., 2012). However the country was still dependent of imported grain (Kim, 1978), and therefore, the major emphasis of the Korean government during this period was increasing self-sufficiency in rice production by introducing high yielding rice varieties.

    During 1961, Agricultural Bank and agricultural cooperatives were merged and this merger enhanced the activities of agricultural cooperatives and created new financial services for farmers (Kim, 2010). According to Park (1998) the community development movement of 1950s was continued. The second five-year plan was started in in 1967 and rice self-sufficiency was outlined as an important national goal, but again rural and agricultural sector was neglected and emphasis was given to industrial development (Looney, 2012).


    Due to the structural transformation in the rural economy in 1960s and fundamental changes in policies and objectives of the state regarding rural development paradigm, the diversification of rural economy was started. And emphasis was also given to non-farm income activities along with farm income which is essential for rural development (Gill et al., 1999). Agriculture sector was given special importance in the rural development strategy of 1960s (Islam, 1996; Khan et al., 2011b). Agricultural technology transfer through agricultural extension also played a significant role in adoption of new and improved agricultural technologies and boosting of agricultural production in 1960s (Government of Pakistan, 2004; World Bank, 2007). The positive and significant impact was found in agriculture sector during this period due to the green revolution (Davidson and Ahmad, 2003). Moreover, an intensive programme - Rural Works Programme (RWP) was also initiated in early 1960s for uplifting the standards of living of rural people (Gill et al., 1999). Mechanized farming was also introduced during this period under the strategy of rural development through agricultural development (Ahmad et al., 2004).

    Rural Development during 1970s


    During 1970s, Korean industrial and urban growth was on rapid upward track, but the importance (and hardship) of rural areas was realizedc) and for the development of village infrastructure, a government guided development program was initiated in early 1970s. This was the start of Saemaul Undong (the new village movement) in South Korea (Park, 1998). The Saemaul Undong (new village movement) became the “ideological and organizational framework” for third five-year economic and development plan (1972 - 76). The investment on agriculture was greatly increased and several new programme were introduced particularly development of rural infrastructure like irrigation, electrification, roads, marketing etc. (Reed, 2010). This movement greatly transformed the rural society of South Korea. For instance, in the late 1960s more than 80% of the rural households had no access to electricity but by 1977 more than 90% of the rural households had electricity (Park, 1998); half of the villages were not accessible by cars and majority of the roofs were thatched (Goh, 2010; cited in Douglas, 2013) but in a short period almost majority of the villages were connected through a road network and all of the thatched roofs were replaced with modern households (Park, 1998). Similarly big increase in farm household income was recorded from 1970 to 1979 (Gnawali, 2011; Reed, 2010). According to Park, S.H. (2010: p-394), “within ten years, the Korean rural villages became almost unrecognizable”. In the same vein, Ahn and Boyer (1984; cited in Douglas, 2013) narrated that, by the end of 1970s none of the South Korean village was classified in the underdeveloped category. Though some critics argued that Saemaul movement was used as tool by the then government to prolong the rule and increase the legitimacy of the authoritarian regime (Park, 2009), yet the impacts of the movement on rural life in Korea were overwhelming and the movement is regarded as a “golden age” for rural development in Korea (Kim, 2010; Looney, 2012).

    The green revolution during 1970s provided a vital support to the Saemaul Movement. Achieving self-sufficient in rice production remained the priority of the Government in the five-year plans but it was not until 1975 when Korea achieved self-sufficiency in rice (Jang, 2010; Kim, 1978). President Park took personal interest in the research being conducted by the Korean researchers in collaboration with International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) during late 1960s and early 1970s to develop the hybrid rice variety (Looney, 2012), and finally the revolutionary rice variety “Tongild)” was introduced which increased rice yield from 3.3 tons per hectare in 1971 to 4.4 tons per hectare in 1978 (cited in Looney, 2012). Nevertheless combination of Green Revolution and Saemaul Movement provided considerable opportunities to the farm households in manifold increase in their incomee) (Douglas, 2013; Kim, 1978). The agri. extension services were also embedded with the green revolution phase of the Movement and RDA and other related organization used modern strategies to educate the farmers about the production technology of new rice variety (Kim, 1978). Active role of farmers association (cooperatives) was another major factor in agricultural development in Korea (Larry et al., 2001).


    In 1970s especially during Bhutto regime (1972-1977) there was reversal of old rural development strategy. In this reversal of development strategy in which growth was mainly led by private sector shifted to nationalization and creating state monopoly in export of agricultural produces especially cotton and rice (Islam, 1996). During this period, rural development strategies were mainly based on state led agricultural policies (Hamid, 2008). Under the preview of new development strategy, Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP) was initiated in which agriculture sector was given top priority (Baig and Khan, 2006 and Luqman, 2004). In this era development practitioners emphasized on trickle-down theory of rural development covering multiplicity of rural development activities (Luqmanet al., 2013 and Sobhan, 1968). People's Works Programme (PWP) was launched to fulfill the basic needs (schools, health centers, roads, clean drinking water, women training centers etc.) of rural people through participation of local community in early 1970s (Luqman et al., 2013). The rural development strategies of this period played an important role in declining rural poverty (Tahir and Ali, 1999).

    Rural Development during 1980s


    Early 1980s was the period of economic recession in South Korea. Although Korea had made substantial improvements in the rural sector, yet the rural areas had not been able to cope with the pace of urban industrial development, and therefore the impact of crisis were more drastic on the rural population. The role of the agriculture in the national economy began to decline in the 1980s (Park, 2010). The share of agriculture sector in total GDP decreased from 25% in 1970 to about 14% in 1980 and less than 8% in 1990 (Kim, 2010). Similarly the trend of migration from rural to urban areas increased tremendouslyf) (Douglas, 2013). The income from traditional crops began to deteriorate, thus the need for non-farm income was realized.

    After achieving rice self-sufficiency in 1978, the consumption of rice in Korea decreased due to changes in food consumption pattern and westernization, therefore the concept of “commercial agriculture” became popular around 1980s (Kim, 2010). The paradigm shift in the agricultural policy was occurred and the direction of Government's agricultural policy was shifted to a policy of increasing farm income through non-farm livelihood strategies and, diversified farming, including cultivation of cash crops (Park, J.K., 2010). Consequently, a comprehensive plan was developed in 1986 to recover the rural economy. The main aspects of the plan were extension of agricultural industry zones to increase non-farm income, encouragement of the establishment of industrial units in the rural areas through tax benefits etc. (Kim, 2010). Integrated Rural Development Approach was the major emphasis in the fifth five-year economic development plans 1982-1986 (Cho, 2004) and a comprehensive Integrated Rural Area Development programme was launched in 1982. During this period, structural and institutional changes were brought in agricultural cooperatives (Park et al., 2012). The Saemaul Movement was also institutionalized and non-governmental Headquarters for Saemaul Movement was established 1980 and with this Movement as the State-led rural development programme ended (Park, 2009).

    Another important development of 1980s was the use of greenhouses (Korean version of tunnel farming) at the village level which enables the farmers to grow vegetable in unfavorable weather conditions (Choi, 2006). This development of often called as “white revolution” made possible the year round supply of fresh vegetable (Jang, 2010).

    These rural development programs yielded substantial achievements; however, Park (2010) listed several problems regarding these rural development policies. For instance, less control and participation of local people and top-down projects began to increase mistrust between government and local residents. Similarly, majority of the projects were entirely funded by the Government funds and this was in divergence to Saemaul Movement projects where the then government provided material while the villagers provided the labor and land, resulting in local ownership and efficient use of resources (Park, 2010).The Uruguay Round (UR) negotiations were started in 1986 and as Kim (2010) mentioned, the period from the late 1980s to the early 1990s was a period of liberalization of the agricultural market.


    During the late 1980s (1988), a new experiment was tried to allow private sector in agricultural delivery system to raise the income level of rural people and to attain national food security (Riaz, 2010). During this period special attention was given to agriculture and rural development and also provision of welfare services to the rural community under the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) reforms in different sectors including agriculture (Anwar, 1996; Islam, 1996). The programme was launched in order to minimize the economic imbalances/inequalities in the country (Iqbal and Siddiqui, 1998). Under this programme there was shift from industrialization to farming of cash crops and increase in export of agricultural commodities (Bhutta, 2001). But due to SAP, unemployment and inflation was increased and slow economic growth during this period lead to increase in rural poverty (Khan et al., 2011a). The failure of state-led rural development policies in 1980s and the space given by the public sector in the development of rural people and to alleviate rural poverty, was filled by mushrooming of different civil society organizations commonly known as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) (Banks and Hulme, 2012; Kalim and Salahuddin, 2011; Bennett, 1998). The main focus of these organizations was to develop rural poor and marginalized people socially and economically on sustained basis as poverty is more severe in rural areas than urban areas (Rehman and Ismail, 2012). In this era due to the high poverty rate among rural women, attention was given to their development and also to involve them in the development process (Chaudhary et al., 2012; Afzal, 2009).

    Development during 1990s


    As, Albert (2013) narrates that trade liberalization has created very volatile situation for farmers. In response, the then Government initiated three extensive plans during the period from 1989 to 1994.

    • Comprehensive Plan to Develop Farming and Fishing Villages.

    • Plan for Structural Improvement of Farming and Fishing Villages.

    • Plan for Agricultural Policy Reform and Development of Farming and Fishing Villages.

    These plans were mainly in response to the challenges of trade liberalization following the Uruguay Round negotiations (OECD, 2008). The first plan initiated the formation of a farmland management fund to help the purchase of farmland and structural improvement of agriculture. Other key policy paradigms of the first plan were development of off-farm income opportunities, and establishment of the agricultural products processing units and export businesses. While in the second and third plans, huge funds were earmarked for the improvement of villages (Park, 2010). Nevertheless cheap imports (agricultural and livestock) gained substantial share in Korean agro-food markets and farmers are struggling to adjust themselves under new paradigm; and agrarian economy of Korea has shown “significant signs of weakening” (Albert, 2013). In 1992 Rural Settlement Development Program was initiated with the major objectives to improve village infrastructure, reduce rural out-migration and to encourage urban inhabitants to the rural area (Cho, 2004).


    During 1990s there is increase in rural poverty as during this period government reduced subsidies on agricultural inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, electricity etc. (Bhutto and Bazmi, 2007). Political instability and poor economic growth during this period was also responsible for rise of rural poverty (Asgharet al., 2012). Different rural support programmes (RSPs) were also originated in the form of government assisted NGOs having mandate to promote rural development in Pakistan using participatory approach (Luqman et al., 2013; Riazet al., 2012). Under the theme of well-being rural development approach different programmes like Tameer-e-WatanProgramme, Social Action Programme (SAP), and Khushal Pakistan Programme was started to bring improvement in the rural infrastructure and provision of basic human needs to rural community (Government of Pakistan, 2005; Khan and Khan, 2001; Azizi, 1999). In 2000 Millennium Development Goals were also adopted by the government under the umbrella of overall development strategy for sustainable human development and rural poverty reduction (Arif and Farooq, 2012; Government of Pakistan, 2010). In early 1990s gender and development became an integral part of rural development process by adopting gender mainstreaming approach (Grigorian, 2007; IFAD, 2001).

    Development from 2000-present

    In 2005 the share of agriculture in GDP dropped to 2.9% and the agriculture population was accounted for less than 8% of the total population in 2005 and in 2009 it further declined to 6.4% (Kim, 2010, OECD, 2008), however this is still higher than other OECD countries (OECD, 2008). Cultivated area continued to decline despite intensive efforts by the Government for reclamation, irrigation and drainage (OECD, 2008).

    Deliberating to the problem faced by the rural and agricultural sector, some major and significant policies were introduced by the Korean Government during 2000-2010. For instance direct payments (income support to paddy farmers)g) and support for environmentally-friendly farming practices was introduced through Agricultural and Rural Basic Law which came into effect in early 2000 (OECD, 2008). Similarly direct payment for less favored areas programme, became a national programme in 2006 (OECD, 2008; KREI, 2010). Crop and livestock insurance schemes were also initiated during this period. Likewise direct payment for landscape conservation was initiated in 2005 and it consists of a payment to the farmers who cultivate plants to preserve the traditional landscape in selected villages (KREI, 2010). Similarly the Government has supported the Korean companies to acquire land in foreign countries for growing agricultural products at reduced cost and send to Korea (Albert, 2013). Comprehensive Plan on Agriculture and Rural Communities was introduced by the Government in 2004 and in this plan the Government proposed a policy roadmap in the agro-food, agriculture and rural development sectors (OECD, 2008).

    An important aspect of Korean rural development policy after 2000 is the sensitization on the global environmental issues, protection of natural environment and maintenance of landscape; for example, direct payments to the farming households to protect scenic areas from development. Likewise, at the policy level, green growth strategy was emphasized in the agricultural policy in 2007 (Park, 2010). The 1st five-year plan for Environmental Friendly Agriculture Promotion was announced for 2001-2005. Subsequently, the 2nd five-year plan was announced and implemented for 2006-2010. Reduction of agrichemicals and chemical fertilizers by 30% by 2010 was the main policy objective of 2nd five-year plan for environment friendly agriculture (Kim, 2010). Similarly, the 3rd five-year plan for environment friendly agriculture (2011 - 2015) promoted the idea of “realizing environment-friendly green industry in harmony with the public and nature” (Kim, 2010).

    To promote rural development and to improve the quality of life of rural residents, a comprehensive law titled the Special Act for Improving the Quality of Life of Farmers and Fishermen and Promoting Development in Rural, Mountainous and Fishing Communities was established in 2004. The implementation of the Special Act, involving fifteen Ministries and one government agency, began in 2005 (OECD, 2008). It can be realized that main efforts of Korean government during the recent decades are targeted towards the diversification of livelihood option and increase of non-farm income opportunities in the rural areas.


    Korea and Pakistan got independence in 1945 and 1947 respectively and the economy of both the countries was generally based on agriculture. At the time of independence, both of the countries had meager industrial base and the agrarian sector was dominated by the landlords in both of the countries. The rural society was characterized with poverty and hunger. Low productivity of main crops (rice for Korea and wheat for Pakistan) was also a common factor during early 1950s, and both of the countries were dependent on the import of food crops. Therefore, naturally, the main focus of the then governments was to increase the food supply.

    The decade of 1960s proved to be a turning point in Korea's development history, but the industrial development was focus of the government and rural sector was comparatively ignored. On the other hand rural development was the major policy paradigm of the Government of Pakistan during 1960s and improvement of irrigation infrastructure and agricultural subsidies brought considerable improvement in agricultural productivity.

    Journey of Korea towards rural development took a fasttrack during 1970s with the commencement of New Village Movement (Saemaul Undong). It can also be argued that Korean's early success in rural development (during 1970s and 80s) was mainly an outcome of Korea's swift industrialization process. The initial industrial take-off of the 1960s, and acceleration in the 1970s, provided the resources that were pumped into the rural sector. But on the contrary there was reversal of development strategies in Pakistan during 70s due to major policy shift of government towards nationalization and pro-socialist economy. Though overall agricultural development in Pakistan was slowed down but integrated rural development programmes brought some improvement in rural infrastructure of Pakistan. Korea, on the other hand, attained substantial achievements in uplifting of rural standard of life and overall rural development.. However, during the same period, political instability and weak industrial base in Pakistan can be regarded as main factors that hindered the development of rural areas of country. The pace of development in rural Korea that was set during 70s continued in 80s despite economic crisis, but sluggish agricultural growth persisted in Pakistan.

    Comparing the rural development timeline of both countries through the framework of Ellis and Biggs (2001) on can quickly realize that Pakistan followed the paradigms of modernization and small-farm economy and high-yield farming during 1950-60 – much earlier than Korea. Similarly the concept of integrated rural development and community development was materialized in the early history of Pakistan through V-AID and related interventions. Korea, on the other hand, steered the rural development efforts on fast track through integrated rural development and mass social mobilization in 1970s (through New Village Movement). Likewise, Korea also responded quickly to the liberalization of markets and trade through various livelihood uplifting interventions and increasing non-farm opportunities (thus endorsed SL approach mentioned in Ellis and Biggs framework), but the response of Pakistan to changing global paradigms was rather sluggish particularly after late 1970s. Each new government in Pakistan terminated the previous programmes without any scientific evaluation and started its own (Lodhi et al., 2006).


    While comparing the development policies of different countries (or regions) one should always be aware of the significance of contextual, historical and socio-economic difference of both cases. Same is true for this paper but still some lessons and policy implications can be drawn. The recommendations given below are based on the review of literature presented in this paper, interviews with the personnel from different Korean organizations working for agricultural and rural development and author's personal observation during his stay in Republic of Korea.

    • - Continuation of policies: One of the major dilemmas with the development paradigms of Pakistan is unsustainability of policies. Every new government discontinued the previous policy/programs and started its own program without evaluation of the previous one. Taking Korean example, one can argue that the continuation (or improvement) of existing policies and initiation of new need-based policies are the fundamental elements of success for longterm development agenda.

    • - Problem-solving approach: An analysis of different policy shifts in Korea reflects their problem-solving approach, i.e. the policies are directed towards the solution of emerging or potential problems. Most of the ministries of Korea have their own and independent think-tanks and research had played a key role in (recent) policy formulation. Research-based and “solution oriented” policy is a culture to be adopted in Pakistan if we want to develop our rural areas on sustainable basis.

    • - Integration of agricultural production with processing/ value addition and marketing: Integrated approach i.e. processing/value addition and marketing of the farm produce at the local level is a successful Korean model that can also be used in Pakistan.

    • - Agricultural research and extension: In Pakistan we have almost no integration research and extension as both pillars of agriculture work in their own domains. Rural Development Administration of Korea can be a model for provision of agricultural research and extension services to the farming community.

    • - Livelihood diversification and non-farm opportunities: One of the recent successful initiatives of Korean government is the emphasis on non-farm income generation activities for rural people (for example rural tourism/home stay programme). Agriculture in Pakistan is mostly subsistence oriented and therefore increasing non-farm opportunities in rural areas of Pakistan is an option to be considered by the policy makers for improving rural economy.

    • - Social mobilization and farmers' cooperatives are some of the key elements of Korean rural and agricultural development. In Pakistan we don't have any concrete initiative regarding social mobilization, and similarly farmers' cooperatives are generally inactive here. It is imperative to institutionalize the farmers' cooperatives and social mobilization in rural Pakistan.

    • - Role of local governments in agricultural and rural development: Central, provincial and local governments contribute jointly in different rural development initiatives in Korea. For instance for certain projects the development plans are initiated at the local level and presented to the central government for evaluation and funding. After approval of the plan, federal and local governments as well as local communities contribute in the project. This gives an enhanced sense of ownership at the local level. In the same way, the role of local governments may be enhanced in the context agriculture related interventions by the provincial and federal governments.

    • - Education and skill: Education and skill development of rural masses is one of the key components of Korean rural development strategies. Agricultural universities of Korea offer tailored made training courses for the farmers. Pakistan can learn from Korean experience regarding education and skill development in rural areas.

    • - Effective linkages: One of the impressive aspects of Korean rural development is strong formal and informal linkages between major organizations such as Rural Development Organization, Korea Rural Economics Institute, Farmers Cooperatives, local governments, agricultural universities, private companies etc. Such linkages and collaboration helps in the development of effective rural development strategies. This is an important factor which requires more attention of policy makers of Pakistan.

    • - Sustainable livelihoods: The concept of sustainable rural livelihoods emerged in the development thinking during the late 1990s and early 2000s (DFID, 2001). Analysis of recent Korean rural development policies indicates that improvement of livelihood assets and providing alternative (off-farm) livelihood opportunities to the rural people is now the focus of their policies. This is the area where Pakistan can also learn from Korean experience.



    Rural Development Timeline (source Ellis and Biggs, 2001).


    Some demographic indicators of Korea and Pakistan

    Source: World Bank, 2013

    Comparison of Korea and Pakistan development indicators.

    Source: World Bank Development Indicators. 2013


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