Tharparkar district profile

Tharparkar district lies in south-east part of Sindh province of Pakistan. The area is largely comprised of the sandy Thar Desert. Tharparkar is geographically spread over 22000 square kilometers with an estimated population of around 1million. The district is most deprived area of the Pakistan as ranked by the World Food Programme as the most food insecure of Pakistan’s 120 districts. More than 90% people of distinct live in around 2000 rural villages. More than 80% of people’s livelihood is dependent on precarious rain-fed agriculture and livestock (animals are around more than 4.5 million in numbers).
The rain fall pattern is not uniform in the area and is often erratic and falls between July and September. After the rains, the desert subsoil aquifers are recharged and the pasturelands are regenerated. However, by February, the aquifers are often depleted and the pasturelands dry up. If there are consecutive droughts then scarce ground water turns to saline and brackish in most parts of the area. This situation leads Thari people migrate in every dry season to the flood plains of Indus and to the barrage areas where the barrage farmers give them protection. They are allowed to graze and water their animals in these areas and in exchange they provide agriculture labour to the barrage feudal lords.
Thari economy reflects in barter kind of approach where a village was supposed to take care of almost all its needs itself. Based on one estimation around 90 percent of households of the area own 2 -5 animals and 54% have small pieces of desert lands. The social indicators in the area are quite appalling; literacy ratio is about 18.32 percent- 28.33 for men and 6.91 for women, enrolment ratio 12.56 and primary school drop out rate more than 20 percent. Infant mortality rate is 112 per 1,000 live births and population growth rate is 3.1 percent much higher than national growth rate. The gender breakup of household population confirms the gender disparity –more male than female- 120.6 male per 100 female as quoted in district senses report 1998. Over 86 percent of households take loan ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 for subsistence and other expenses that leads these communities put in vicious circle of poverty and make their livelihood at stake.


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