The area now constituted as West Pakistan was considered the granary of British India. Despite this, the area has been troubled by food problems during many of the years since independence. A major reason is the high rate of population growth. As the National Government improved the public health facilities, after independence, the death rate declined but the birth rate remained high. The population in 1931, of areas which came to be West Pakistan, was 23.6 million persons, with a growth rate of 1.2 percent; in 1941 it was 28.3 million and growth at 2.0 percent; in 1951 it was 33.7 million and 1.9 percent. For 1966 the estimate is 48.8 million, a doubling of the population in 35 years, implying a doubling of food requirements without any improvement in diet. But in addition, developmental activities have increased the level of income, thus increasing the demand for food. In West Pakistan, both factors substantially increased the demand for wheat, as it is the major component of the diet of the people. As increasing demand was not matched with an expanding supply, chronic food problems occurred, and the Government had to resort to imports, a burden on the meager foreign exchange resources of the county. Realizing the impact of this wheat shortage on the whole economy, the Third Plan laid down the objective to achieve self-sufficiency in foodgrains. It suggested both extensive and intensive methods to increase foodgrains production, with wheat as the most prominent crop in West Pakistan.


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