Increasing water scarcity, degradation of land and water resources, continuing low agricultural productivity, and increasing populations are posing the largest ever challenges for development of agricultural economies in many developing countries including Pakistan. Using panel data from irrigated settings in Chaj sub-basin of the Indus basin in Pakistani Punjab, we attempt to: (a) analyze the causes of low productivity; (b) disentangle factors (both land, water and other factors) contributing to productivity variations; and (c) identify limits and opportunities for narrowing productivity gaps and increasing overall wheat production, with a view to enhance food security for the poor. The results of the study indicate that locational inequities in distribution of canal water, use of groundwater of varying quality, differences in use of seed varieties, and other inputs lead to significant variations in wheat productivity. Key implications are that large gains in wheat productivity are possible by (a) improving the production environment at the tail-end through integrated water management practices; (b) adjusting the mix of canal and groundwater use; and (c) using technological interventions to improve the adoption of modern wheat varieties and dissemination of knowledge on planting dates and timings and application rates of inputs, especially water and fertilizer. Not only such interventions are economically, financially, and environmentally desirable, they are also pro-poor. What is needed is a strong political will and commitment.
Hussain, I., Mudasser, M., Ahmad Hanjra, M., Amrasinghe, U., & Molden, D. (2004). Improving wheat productivity in Pakistan: Econometric analysis using panel data from Chaj in the upper Indus basin. Water International, 29(2), 189-200. https://doi.org/10.1080/02508060408691768