B. Socio-cultural environment
3. Human resources development
The dismally low rural female literacy rate of 2.8 per cent in NWFP is less than half that of the national rural female literacy rate of 7.3 per cent. Even within the province the urban/rural literacy rates are significantly biased in favour of the urban areas. The literacy rate for females is about six times higher in urban NWFP compared with rural NWFP. In fact, rural-urban differences are quite significant, both for the male and female literacy rates. Literacy rates in NWFP are consistently lower than the national rates for the urban rural male and female populations.
The average monthly income was estimated to be about US$ 119 (Ministry of Environment and Urban Affairs, Forests and Wildlife, 1996). Cultivated land availability per person in NWFP is 0.15 hectare, reflecting a very high rate of pressure on land. The per capita national availability of cultivated land is 0.24 hectare. Thus the pressure of agricultural land in NWFP is approximately twice as high as for the whole country. That is reflected in the fact that although the farm area in NWFP is 9.85 per cent of the national total, the province has 16.5 per cent of the total farms in Pakistan. Pressure on land is further evident from the fact that of all farmers in Pakistan who hold less than 0.40468 hectares, 40.7 per cent are located in NWFP. Similarly, 30 per cent of all small farms of up to 2.02 hectares (5 acres) in Pakistan are located in NWFP (annex 2). In absolute terms, 79.2 per cent of the total farms in NWFP are 3.04 hectares (7.5 acres) and below. The comparative national percentage is 53.6.
The population pressure on available land is aggravated by two other indicators. First, about 85 per cent of the NWFP rural population is pursuing agriculturally-related activities compared with 71.7 per cent of the national population which lives in rural areas. Second, the land available for agriculture in NWFP is primarily rain dependent (54 per cent), and is thus not as productive as irrigated land. Overall, 75.7 per cent of the cultivated area in Pakistan is irrigated. It may, therefore, be concluded that not only is the per capita land availability much lower in NWFP compared with the rest of the country, but also that more than half of the available cultivated land provides lower yields than the remaining farmland. It is interesting to note that NWFP produces 50 and about 73 per cent of the maize and tobacco, respectively, grown in the country. Surpluses of both crops are exported to the rest of the country.