With a population exceeding 180 million people, Pakistan is the world’s 26th-largest economy and sixth most populous country in the world. Agriculture accounts for roughly 25 per cent of GDP, and Pakistan is among the world’s top producers of wheat, cotton, sugarcane, mango, dates, rice and oranges.
Poverty is predominantly a rural problem, with rural people comprising more than 60 per cent of the population (116 million) and accounting for 80 per cent of the country’s poor. Rural farmers face small landholdings; poor access to markets; a lack of access to credit, inputs and support services; limited off-farm employment opportunities; and policy and institutional constraints.
The country has a high number of young people, with over 55 per cent of the population below the age of 25 and over 35 per cent between 25 and 54 years. Considerable gender disparities exist on account of socio-economic, political and health factors. The adult literacy rate is 56 per cent, but there are huge variations between the urban and rural population and across regions.
Large amounts of agricultural production and the continuously increasing population place high demands on Pakistan’s water resources. Vast majority of the country’s water resources – some 90 percent – is used for agriculture, while the remaining share is split equally between the industry and the domestic use.
The country faces numerous natural and manmade disasters such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, draughts, and conflicts, such as the flood of 2010, which affected 20 million Pakistanis.