A sustainable rural development is vital to the economic, social and environmental viability of nations. It is essential for poverty eradication since global poverty is overwhelmingly rural. The manifestation of poverty goes beyond the urban-rural divide; it has sub regional and regional contexts. It is therefore critical, and there is great value to be gained, by coordinating rural development initiatives that contribute to sustainable livelihoods through efforts at the global, regional, national and local levels, as appropriate. Strategies to deal with rural development should take into consideration the remoteness and potentials in rural areas and provide targeted differentiated approaches. The 2017 State of Food Security and Nutrition World report says that in 2016 the food security situation deteriorated sharply in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, South-Eastern Asia and Western Asia. In Pakistan, while the estimates of Prevalence of Undernourishment decreased from 22% to 19.9%, though there is an increase in the total number of undernourished people from 35.7 million to 37.6 million in the last ten-year period. Stunting in children less than five years remains alarmingly very high at 45%, and notable of attention is the prevalence of anemia rising to 52% of women in reproductive age. This puts a heavy toll on Pakistan’s future. Agriculture contributes about 20% of Pakistan GDP, employs 42% of the labour force and is the dominant form of livelihood for the majority of rural households, reaching 97% of the population in areas of Pakistan such as Fata. The sector is central to any national and provincial strategy to achieve food security and eliminate all forms of malnutrition. We should keep in our minds that more than 70 percent of the total population of Pakistan lives in rural areas. The main source of earnings of these people comes from the trade of agricultural products. While some farmers engage themselves in production of Kharif crop, others prefer to sow Rabi crop. This means that farmers remain busy in crop production – from its sowing to its harvest – for a period of six months, after which they remain idle – unemployed – for another six months. Because of this seasonal harvest, many farmers experience poverty in their lives where they find it difficult to meet even the basic necessities of the life – both for themselves and their family members – in a satisfactory manner. If we sincerely want to remove poverty from our rural areas and improve the socioeconomic conditions of our farmer, we must focus our energies for the establishment of agro-based industries in villages in the shape of rice mill, sugar mill, dairy milk industry, cotton ginning industry, flour mill, etc. There is a huge scope to establish agro-based industries in specific rural areas of the country. No doubt a healthy and dynamic agricultural sector is an important foundation of rural development, generating strong linkages to other economic sectors. Rural livelihoods are enhanced through effective participation of rural people and rural communities in the management of their own social, economic and environmental objectives by empowering people in rural areas, particularly women and youth, including through organizations such as local cooperatives and by applying the bottom-up approach. Close economic integration of rural areas with neighboring urban areas and the creation of rural off-farm employment can narrow rural-urban disparities, expand opportunities and encourage the retention of skilled people, including youth, in rural areas. There is considerable potential for rural job creation not only in farming, agro processing and rural industry but also in building rural infrastructure, in the sustainable management of natural resources, waste and residues. Inclusive rural development is an outcome of conscious policies and actions, which require a coherent strategy for rural development at the national level Rural communities in developing countries are still faced with challenges related to access to basic services, economic opportunities and some degree of incoherence with regard to planning related to rural-urban divide. Investments in environmental protection, rural infrastructure and in rural health and education are critical to sustainable rural development and can enhance national well-being. Beyond meeting basic needs, investments must be linked to the potential to raise productivity and income. The vulnerabilities of the rural poor to the economic and financial crisis and to climate change and water shortage must be addressed. The success of sustainable rural development depends on, inter alia, developing and implementing comprehensive strategies for dealing with climate change, drought, desertification and natural disaster. Concrete steps are required for the provision of rural financial services, as improved access to credit; deposit and insurance services will boost broad-based rural development and reduce income inequalities. Such measures will go a long way in creating opportunities for the rural poor to gainfully employ themselves and improve their standard of life. Besides this, it is also imperative to increase the ability of poor households to enable them to take full advantage of these opportunities through improved access to quality education, health facilities, local financial institutions and community-based local institutions. Inclusive rural development is an outcome of conscious policies and actions, which require a coherent strategy for rural development at the national level. The writer is a freelance journalist and is associated with the development sector. He can be reached at email@example.com. He tweets @mqesar Published in Daily Times, April 7th 2018.