The results of the 2010 global wellbeing survey of 124 nations conducted by Gallup reveal that Pakistan ranks 40th with 32% of Pakistanis saying they are thriving. By contrast, India ranks 71st with 21% of the Indians thriving and China ranks 92nd with only 12% of the Chinese considering themselves “thriving,” the highest level of wellbeing.
Pakistanis are a resilient people. But the only tangible explanation for Pakistanis ranking ahead of their neighbors in the wellbeing Gallup survey can be found in the strength of Pakistan's rural economy. It is being spurred by the higher food and commodity prices resulting in the transfer of additional new tax-free farm income of about Rs. 300 billion in the current fiscal year alone to Pakistan's ruling party's power base of landowners in small towns and villages in Southern Punjab and Rural Sindh, from those working in the the economically stagnant urban industrial and service sectors who pay bulk of the taxes. The downside of it is a bigger hole in Pakistan's pubic finances which is being funded with increased foreign aid and loans.
Moazzam Husain, the Director General of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, describes the current rural resurgence as follows in a recent blog post titled "The Other Pakistan":
"GLORIOUS countryside lies between Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur. Travelling across six districts in Punjab, before a blazing summer sets in, I experienced endless fields of wheat waiting to turn golden, of freshly harvested mustard, acres of ripe sugarcane and sprawling mango orchards.
Far from the drudge and gloom of metropolitan Pakistan, economic privation, traffic snarls, extreme religion and the cricket World Cup agony, this is another Pakistan. Over a quarter of a century after the green revolution ended the rural economy is back in boom, this time on the back of rising prices. The feel-good factor is all around.
Burgeoning commodity prices are churning unprecedented amounts of cash through the farm sector. I pass tractor-pulled trolleys laden with sugarcane waiting outside sugar mills. The crushing season is in full swing. Meanwhile, the flour mills are still grinding away at last year’s surplus crop. This is an agro economy at serious work.
Alongside the cash economy, the place is also brimming with ideas, and with an entrepreneurial spirit. A young man I meet at Rahim Yar Khan’s chamber of commerce has an IT degree and owns an ice cream distribution business spawning an elaborate cold chain across three districts. He tells me that sales are surging because rural society is transitioning to modern desserts which are now more affordable than traditional sweets like mithai and khoya.
Meanwhile, he’s toying with the bigger vision of an electronic marketplace for agricultural produce. Live connectivity to grain mandis and markets for fresh produce and milk will empower farmers to obtain prices online and through their cellphones. He wants to materialise this and wants tips. I give him my two cents worth: study similar models, write a concept paper, galvanise partners around it, put in seed money and get the venture to mezzanine level."
In 2008, the government pushed the procurement price of wheat up from Rs. 625 per 40 kg to Rs. 950 per 40 kg. This action immediately triggered inflationary pressures that have continued to persist as food accounts for just over 40% of Pakistan's consumer price index. According to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) analysis, cumulative price of wheat surged by 120 per cent since 2008, far higher than the 40 per cent between 2003 and 2007. it is also many times greater than the international market price increase of 22 per cent for wheat in the same period. Similarly, sugar prices have surged 184 per cent higher since 2008, compared with 46 per cent increase during 2003-07.
Bumper crops and exports at higher prices are also contributing to the rural prosperity in Pakistan. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported increased Pakistan's wheat exports in a recent story as follows:
"Asia's immediate wheat demand is being met by ample supply from Pakistan, which is exporting existing inventories to make way for the new harvest, trading executives said Monday.
"Pakistan has filled a crucial gap in Asian wheat trade due to the absence of supply from the Black Sea region," said a Singapore-based executive with a global trading company.
If Pakistan hadn't permitted wheat exports during this period of tight overall global supply, price conscious buyers in South Asia and Southeast Asia would have had to turn to costly alternative supply from Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
The absence of Pakistan would have also increased demand pressure in Australia, where ports are already facing congestion and there are logistical delays in moving wheat from upcountry warehouses.
Pakistan approved wheat exports in December and shipments began the following month.
In less than four months it has shipped out an estimated 1.16 million metric tons of wheat.
The International Grains Council has projected Pakistan's wheat exports in the year ending June 30 at 1.6 million tons, the highest in at least four years."
The steps such as the increased exports, the transfer of additional Rs. 300 billion to Pakistan's agriculture sector during the current fiscal year 2010-2011 by higher prices of agriculture produce, and direct flood compensation to 1.6 million affected families at the rate of one hundred thousands rupees each are boosting economic confidence in the countryside. This infusion of money is also generating rural demand for consumer items including consumer durables such as fans, TVs, motorcycles, cars, refrigerators, etc.
The big feudal landowners have been the biggest beneficiaries of the PPP's gift of high crop prices. However, the policy has helped small farmers as well, as shown by a recent survey reported by The Nation newspaper. The survey of 300 farmers in Sind's Sukkur district was conducted by Sukkur Institute of Business Administration for the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). It has highlighted the following about district's rural economy:
1. In Sukkur district, majority of the farmers are subsistence farmers. 31 percent of them own less than 5 acres of land, and another 34 percent own up to 12.5 acres of land.
2. They spend an average of Rs. 1,611 a month on their children's education, with some of them spending up to Rs. 12,000 a month.
3. Wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane are the major crops being cultivated by 93 per cent, 58 percent, 37 percent and 12 percent of the respondent farmers in that order.
4. 24 percent of them are also growing fruits including dates, mangoes and bananas.
5. 22 percent of the respondent own livestock.
6. About half (49 percent) use privately purchased seeds for wheat cultivation, 33 perecent use their own retained seed and 18 perecent use the seed purchased from Public Sector Seed Corporations.
7. On average, a farmer uses 96.73 Kg chemical fertilizer per acre with the maximum and minimum of 350 Kg and 40 Kg respectively. The average per acre cost of wheat production is Rs. 10,670.
8. All 300 farmers are using tractors for cultivation and preparing land for crops, and some are using tractors for fetching their crop produce to market.
It appears from the economic data and anecdotal evidence that bulk of the 32% of the Pakistani poll respondents who say they are thriving have income from the rural sectors of Pakistan's economy.
As expected, the people in the developed world report higher state of wellbeing than those in the developing nations. With Danes ranked the most satisfied people with 72 percent of respondents considering themselves “thriving,” people in Sweden and Canada follow close behind, each at 69 percent in Gallup’s 2010 Global Wellbeing Survey. The US came in somewhat near the bottom among developed western nations, with 59 percent of Americans thriving.
A median of just 21 percent were found to be “thriving” in the Gallup survey polling 1,000 adults, age 15 and older, in both face-to-face and telephone interviews in each country throughout 2010.
African nations show up near the bottom of the list, with only 12 percent of the respondents considering themselves to be thriving in Egypt, followed by 6 percent in Kenya and Chad with 1 percent ranking it dead last at 124.
Pakistan's Rural Economy
Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers
Agriculture, Textiles Employ Most Indians and Pakistanis
New Index Finds Indians Poorer Than Africans, Pakistanis
Pakistan's Exports and Remittances Rise to New Highs
Sugar Crisis in Pakistan
Agricultural Growth in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
Pakistan's Rural Economic Survey
Pakistan's KSE Outperforms BRIC Exchanges in 2010
High Cost of Failure to Aid Flood Victims
Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance
India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010
Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009
Darkness Before Dawn? Future of Pakistan
Musharraf's Economic Legacy
World Bank Report on Rural Poverty in Pakistan
Copper, Gold Deposits Worth $500 Billion at Reko Diq, Pakistan
China's Trade and Investment in South Asia
India's Twin Deficits
Pakistan's Economy 2008-2010
I have only seen the heading and can only imagine the readers from our easterns neighbors getting on your case. How dare you said some thing positive about Pakistan and something negative about India - blabla bla bla.
G.Ali: "I have only seen the heading and can only imagine the readers from our easterns neighbors getting on your case. "
Unfortunately, you are right. Some of them can't stand to see Pakistanis even a little bit happier than they are.
I have already gotten a bunch of comments laced with some of the worst profanities.
While differing perspectives on my posts are welcome, I do not publish outright senseless abuse.
We could be far happier and at higher position in the table than we are if we only had few politicians who were happy with the loot they have and diverted their energies towards development instead of plundering and gathering more loot.
And of coures, if we had no load shedding.
A good read and has the basis to be expanded into Pakistan’s educational review.
Asian Development Bank is cautioning that rising food and fuel prices is threatening economic growth in Asia, according to the BBC:
Soaring food and fuel prices are threatening to derail growth in Asian economies, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The bank has warned that if food and fuel prices continue to surge, economic growth in the region could be reduced by up to 1.5% this year.
According to the bank, domestic food prices have risen at an average of 10% in many Asian economies this year.
Oil prices have also surged because of the crisis in the Middle East.
The bank said that a combination of these two factors has been a major setback for growth in Asian economies.
While Asian economies have emerged strong from the global financial crisis, the rising cost of living has become a big concern in the region.
The ADB has warned that the recent surge in food price is threatening to push millions of Asians into extreme poverty.
According to the bank's study a 10% rise in domestic food prices may result in almost 64m people being pushed into extreme poverty.
According to the ADB's chief economist, Changyong Rhee, "for poor families in developing Asia, who already spend more than 60% of their income on food, higher prices further reduce their ability to pay for medical care and their children's education."
"Left unchecked, the food crisis will badly undermine recent gains in poverty reduction made in Asia." he added.
The bank also warned that food prices will remain volatile in the short term.
It said that while there have been production shortfalls in some countries because of bad weather, prices have also been pushed up by other factors, such as the weakening US dollar and rising fuel costs.
This has resulted in many countries imposing export bans on their produce, a practise that is not helping the cause, according to the bank.
"To avert this looming crisis it is important for countries to refrain from imposing export bans on food items, while strengthening social safety nets," said Dr. Rhee.
"Efforts to stabilize food production should take centre stage, with greater investments in agricultural infrastructure to increase crop production and expand storage facilities,"
Dr Rhee added that these measures will ensure that food produce is not wasted, thus helping to keep prices in check.
Here are a few excerpts from Wall Street Journal story titled "India's Boom Bypasses Rural Poor":
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA), as the $9 billion program is known, is riddled with corruption, according to senior government officials. Less than half of the projects begun since 2006—including new roads and irrigation systems—have been completed. Workers say they're frequently not paid in full or forced to pay bribes to get jobs, and aren't learning any new skills that could improve their long-term prospects and break the cycle of poverty.
In Nakrasar, a collection of villages in the dusty western state of Rajasthan, 19 unfinished projects for catching rain and raising the water table are all there is to show for a year's worth of work and $77,000 in program funds. No major roads have been built, no new homes, schools or hospitals or any infrastructure to speak of.
At one site on a recent afternoon, around 200 workers sat idly around a bone-dry pit. "What's the big benefit?" said Gopal Ram Jat, a 40-year-old farmer in a white cotton head scarf. He says he has earned enough money through the program—about $200 in a year—to buy some extra food for his family, but not much else. "No public assets were made of any significance."
Scenes like this stand in stark contrast to India's image of a global capitalist powerhouse with surging growth and a liberalized economy. When it comes to combating rural poverty, the country looks more like a throwback to the India of old: a socialist-inspired state founded on Gandhian ideals of noble peasantry, self-sufficiency and a distaste for free enterprise.
Workers in the rural employment program aren't allowed to use machines, for example, and have to dig instead with pick axes and shovels. The idea is to create as many jobs as possible for unskilled workers. But in practice, say critics, it means no one learns new skills, only basic projects get completed and the poor stay poor—dependent on government checks.
Others said the ban on mechanization limits the scope of projects to gravel roads and pits to capture water. Such programs last for only a couple of years and do little to improve village life. Balveer Singh Meena, a 31-year old farmer in the village of Mohanpura in northern Karauli, ekes out a living growing wheat and chickpeas. He eats a single Indian flat-bread known as roti and vegetables for every meal. By selling what little excess food they produce, Mr. Meena and his three brothers are able to make just over $400 per year, which must stretch to pay for an extended family of eight people.
But shortly after the program started in February 2006, workers complained that local leaders were docking pay and asking for money in return for job cards. The central government responded in 2008 by sending money directly to workers' bank accounts. But according to workers and auditors, the money takes so long to reach those accounts—up to 45 days—that workers are often forced to accept lesser cash payments from local leaders on the condition that they repay the money at the full amount.
Audits of the program in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh found that about $125 million, or about 5% of the $2.5 billion spent since 2006, has been misappropriated. Some 38,000 local officials were implicated, and almost 10,000 staff lost their jobs.
In one study of eastern Orissa state, only 60% of households said a member had done any of the work reported on their behalf. Earlier this month, the central government gave the green-light for the Central Bureau of Investigation, India's top federal criminal investigation body, to launch a probe into alleged misuse of program funds in Orissa....
Here's a story from the Economic Times (16/04/2011). It was headlined saying - "Growth in India, China helped in poverty eradication: WB, IMF".
WASHINGTON: Rapid growth in economies like India and China has helped millions of people escape the dungeons of poverty and based on current economic projections, the world is on track to reduce the number of extremely poor people by half, the World Bank and IMF said in a report.
"Two-thirds of developing countries are on track or close to meeting key targets for tackling extreme poverty and hunger," the World Bank and IMF report -- "Global Monitoring Report 2011: Improving the Odds of Achieving the MDGs" said.
Giving statistics, the report said the number of people living on less than USD 1.25 a day is projected to be 883 million in 2015, compared to 1.4 billion in 2005 and 1.8 billion in 1990.
Regarding India, the report said in 1990 as many as 51.3 per cent of Indian population was living on less than USD 1.25 a day, which got reduced to 41.6 per cent in 2005 and is expected to further decline to 22.4 per cent in 2015.
The decline in poverty has been more drastic in China, where in 1990, as much as 60 per cent people were living under USD 1.25 per day, which is likely to reduce to 4.8 per cent by 2015, the report added.
Commenting on the findings, World Bank director of development prospects Hans Timmer said "reaching the MDGs is a significant achievement for developing countries. But there is still much to do in reducing poverty and improving health outcomes even in the successful countries".
Among developing countries, 45 per cent are far from meeting the target on access to sanitation; 39 per cent and 38 per cent are far from the maternal and child mortality targets, respectively, the report added.
"The challenge in low income countries is to sustain and accelerate growth through better policies that will create jobs and greater opportunities for the private sector," Hugh Bredenkamp, deputy director of the IMF's Strategy, Policy, and Review Department said.
Here's a story from The Hindu (20/04/2011). It was headlined saying - "Poverty rate declines from 37.2% to 32%".
The latest data of the Planning Commission indicates that poverty has declined to 32 per cent in 2009-10 from 37.2 per cent five years ago.
The preliminary estimates are based on the formula suggested by the Tendulkar Committee for computing the number of poor.
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Wednesday told reporters that the 2009-10 data shows a decline in poverty from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 32 per cent in 2009-10 as the per the preliminary data worked out by the Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen.
The Tendulkar Committee had suggested that poverty be estimated on the basis of consumption based on the cost of living index instead of caloric intake. It said that the basket of goods should also include services such as health and education. The new poverty line, as suggested by the Tendulkar Committee, is different for rich and poor States, and for rural and urban areas within a State. “These are preliminary data. Mr. Sen has worked on them. He has reported that the 2009-10 data shows a decline in poverty from 37.2 per cent in 2004 to 32 per cent in 2009. I agree with him,” Dr. Ahluwalia said.
He said the National Sample Survey, which conducts large sample surveys every five years, will launch its next round in 2011-12. Estimates of poverty are important because the cheap grains under the proposed Food Security law will be provided based on these numbers.
Dr. Ahluwalia also raised doubts over the feasibility of achieving 10 per cent average economic expansion in the 12th Plan (2012-17), and said the next plan would target GDP growth of 9 to 9.5 per cent in the next five years. “If you ask me personally, I think setting the target of 10 per cent GDP growth as an average for [the] 12th Plan is not feasible. It would be somewhere between 9 and 9.5 in the next Plan period,” he said.
TC: "It is quite amazing how Pakistanis (especially the educated) use India as their yardstick..."
Here's the Times of India headline about this particular Gallup poll that my post is about:
Pakistanis happier than Indians: Gallup survey
Do you think the above headline suggests that "Indians (especially the educated) use Pakistan as their yardstick"?
Here are a few more Indian news headlines to ponder:
1. Pakistan ahead of India on human development indices: UN report
2. Doing business? India lags behind Pakistan!
3. India trails Pakistan, Bangladesh in sanitation
4. India worse than Pakistan, Bangladesh on nourishment
5. India is worse than Pakistan on gender equality
pakistan is ahead of india in shortage of power too.
The Karachi Electric Supply Company on Sunday ran out of furnace oil
due to which electricity in the industrial areas has been suspended
since 12 hours, DawnNews reported.
Loadshedding period in the residential areas is also expected to rise.
According to a KESC spokesman, the organisation had paid Rs.35 crore
in advance for the furnace oil, however, that has finished. Therefore,
it was reported that the industrial areas in Karachi have no
electricity since 1am.
The spokesman said that if furnace oil is not obtained immed
KM: "pakistan is ahead of india in shortage of power too."
It's true. But, up until 2008, this wasn't the case. as British writer Dalrymple described it in The Guardian:
"On the ground, of course, the reality is different and first-time visitors to Pakistan are almost always surprised by the country's visible prosperity. There is far less poverty on show in Pakistan than in India, fewer beggars, and much less desperation. In many ways the infrastructure of Pakistan is much more advanced: there are better roads and airports, and more reliable electricity. Middle-class Pakistani houses are often bigger and better appointed than their equivalents in India."
Since 2008, the situation has rapidly deteriorated mainly due to the problem of "circular debt" rather than just the constraints in generating capacity.
Please read more at: http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/02/pakistans-circular-debt-and-load.html
This is in response to you citing a few headlines from the indian media to argue that the Indians use Pakistan as a yardstick.
There is a journalistic practice, though debated by few but followed by many, that says - Dog biting man is not news, but man biting dog is!! Most journos would agree with that.
Yes, Pakistan is used as a reference point. But only to indicate areas where India still lags behind, and not where the country aspires to be. To represent our aspirations, journalists dish out generous helpings of stats and headlines concerning China and US - NOT Pakistan.
Moreover, the reason that you could google up so many headlines from the indian media was because, Pakistan managing to outperform India is one of the few rare cases, which qualifies for - "man biting dog". Furthermore, the headlines always revolve around the most striking element of the story - which again, in this case, proves that it is startling (confusing and embarassing, if you ask me) to have Pakistan with its nose ahead.
Hence, the refereal to pakistan to stress on the obvious news point. Hope this brief explanation helps you in overcoming the spurt of wishful thinking.
Here's a case in point of India looking beyond Pakistan when confronted with questions of growth and development.
It's an inforgraphic that gives charts and stats about the road ahead for India. No observrb that despite the the array of tables, charts and stats on display - there is no mention of Pakistan!! An indication of not only that India is NOT obsessed with Pakistan, but also that in the scheme of things, Pakistan doesn't quite feature prominently on the world map.
Ashmit: "Pakistan managing to outperform India is one of the few rare cases, which qualifies for - "man biting dog"."
Few areas? How many headlines did you see me cite? Few?
And what are these headlines about?
These headlines deal with essentials like food, nutrition, sanitation, health, life expectancy, gender gap, roads, etc in which Pakistan is ahead of India.
Let me give you a few more:
1. India Could Use Pakistan's Infrastructure
2. India lags behind Pakistan in missiles
3. Affluenza: With love from across the border
4. WITNESS: Failed state? Try Pakistan's M2 motorway
Asmit: "but also that in the scheme of things, Pakistan doesn't quite feature prominently on the world map."
It's just more propaganda from "Shining India" crowd that ignores the fact that, after 63 years, India is still home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry, illiterate and sick people.
" India is still home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry, illiterate and sick people."
Ahh...Its almost like deja vu. Your old weapon - wielding the social indicators.
I'll come to that in just a bit.
But firstly, most of the objective assessments carrid out by various agencies, peg India amongst the top 3 economies in the forseeable future. Whereas, even the most optimistic of economists see only a secondary role for Pakistan. Ranked somwhere between 15-25 by the year 2050 (according to various analysts).
And these assessments are arrived at by gauging the current scenario and potential. So the social indicators that you quote, which are out in public domain, do figure in the calculation of these prediction and yet we somehow manage to be at the top. We must be doing something right, right?!
So before, you reject my arguments as extrapolations based on "proapaganda" in the indian media - take a look at the following.
1. Dreaming With BRICs: The Path to 2050 - Report by Goldman SAchs
2. "The world in 2050" by John Hawksworth, Head Macroeconmist, PWC
3. "India's rising growth potential" - Tushar Poddar and Eva Yi
Even if not headed for superpower status, even the most conservative of estimates put india much beyond the reach of countries such as Pakistan.
Ashmit:"But firstly, most of the objective assessments carrid out by various agencies, peg India amongst the top 3 economies in ..."
I am quite familiar with the usual "Shining India" hype you refer to.
But it's by no means objective.
Here are some excepts from a recent Wall Street Journal story titled "In India, Doubts Gather Over Rising Giant's Course":
These days, India often is held up as an example of how a democracy in Asia can mirror the spectacular growth of authoritarian China. In the year ending March 31, India's economy is expected to expand by about 8.5%.
Other important gauges of national well-being paint a more troubling picture. "What has globalization and industrialization done for India?" asks Mr. Venkatesan, Microsoft's former India chairman. "About 400 million people have seen benefits, and 800 million haven't."
Calorie consumption by the bottom 50% of the population has been declining since 1987, according to the 2009-10 economic survey conducted by India's Ministry of Finance, even as those at the top of society struggle with rising obesity. Mainly because of malnutrition, around 46% of children younger than 3 years old are too small for their age, according to UNICEF.
Infrastructure in cities and the countryside remains woefully inadequate: In recent years, China has added, on average, more than 10 times as much power as India to its electricity grid each year.
Data from McKinsey & Co. show that the number of households in the highest-earning income bracket, making more than $34,000 a year, has risen to 2.5 million, from 1 million in 2005. But the ranks of those at the bottom, making less than $3,000 a year, also have grown, to 111 million, from 101 million in 2005.
India's modernization was expected to prompt a mass movement of workers from farms to factory floors—a critical component in the transformation of China, South Korea and other Asian nations. But manufacturing as a share of India's economy stood at 16% in 2009, the same as in 1991, according to the World Bank.
Services have increased dramatically as a proportion of gross domestic product, rising to 55% in 2009, from 45% in 1991, according to the World Bank, becoming the chief engine of India's economic strength. But many of the fastest-growing areas, such as finance and technology, employ relatively few and rely heavily on skilled employees. The entire software and technology-services sector, including call centers and outsourcing, directly employs just 2.5 million workers, a tiny fraction of the overall work force.
Agriculture's share of the economy, meanwhile, has declined to about 17% in 2009, from 30% in 1991. But the number of people working in agriculture hasn't dropped commensurately, according to Arvind Panagariya, a professor of Indian political economy at Columbia University in New York. "The dependence on agriculture remains incredibly high when you compare India's high-growth phase with others," he says. "The potential of the country is to grow at 11% to 12%, and it's growing only at 8% to 9%."
Frustration over the economic miracle's limited trickle-down is fueling political movements around the country. Most base their appeal, in part, on the idea that the poor are being ill-served in the new India.
"I am quite familiar with the usual "Shining India" hype you refer to."
You are replies are increasingly disappointing, and seemingly written more out of jingoistinc complusions than reasoning. You made use of exactly 13 words to write off 87 pages of well thought out and researched ideas that i quoted?!
"But it's by no means objective."
Are you implying that agencies such as Goldman Sachs, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, and analysts such as Tushar Poddar and Eva Yi have been collectively are particiapting in a co-ordinated, pre concieved, calculated approach to sideline Pakistan, and boost egos in India? And that you can fully refute any and all the claims put forth in these papers? Or that I am being naive in ignoring a similar report that speaks of Pakistan as a "resurgent" power that will upset India and China and steal their thunder?
If the answer to all of the three questions is "Yes", perhaps your position is vindicated and my world view is flawed. But if the answer to any of the above is a "NO" - perhaps you could do with a rethink.
And onto the observations made by Paul Beckett - Maoism, Corruption, Black Money, Income Disparities, Caste Differences, lack of a clear mandate, poverty in rural areas, Kashmir - these concerns have been around for perhaps as long as you are old and more.
These have not been enabling factors, but disabling factors. And that is what provides the logical conclusion that India has grown inspite of them, not because of them.
Enlighten me as to why factors that have been in existence over the last 2 decades but could not derail the growth story - are likely to do so now. Also educate me on how pakistan fares any better in terms of potential for economic growth. And if it does, why is it that outside of perhaps armed conflict and cricket (btw the winning streak against Pak at WCs continued)- Paksitan has failed to compete with India and to present itself to the world as a viable alternative to India as a subcontinental power, as a growth engine, as an economic powerhouse?
Pakistan is not a failed state, but loyalists such as yourself find the consistent need to fight off such perceptions. On the other hand, India is not a superpower, but people such as myself are compelled to look at a host of positive indicators and refute the claims of the naysayers. This gulf between the factors inspiring the two sides should tell one all that one needs to know anout status quo between India and Pakistan.
Ashmit: "Are you implying that agencies such as Goldman Sachs, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, and analysts such as Tushar Poddar and Eva Yi have been collectively are particiapting in a co-ordinated, pre concieved, "
Goldman and others' deception has been exposed in the US sub-prime crisis that has made millions of Americans homeless and jobless.
Their recommendations can be very dangerous to the health of the nations and economies they analyze.
And if it's too much a risk trusting Goldman Sachs - how about the ADB?!
Here's a study by the ADB titled "Asia 2050: Realising the Asian Century". It summarises that 7 countries will lead the asian charge - China, INDIA,
Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia
and Thailand. Notably, Pakistan is NOT one of the 7 countries at Asia's High Table. Take a read.
I don't you or GS or ADB or your fellow Indians in "India Shining" crowd get it.
Your misguided arguments remind me of the whole reason why Dr. Mabhub ul-Haq argued for using social indicators, not just the GDP, as a measure of a nation's well-being.
There is a description of Mahbub ul-Haq's thinking on page 12 of the Human Development Report 2010.
It is titled "From Karachi to Sorbonne--Mahbub ul-Haq and the idea of human development".
Dr. Haq was Pakistan's planning commission's chief in 1960s which was seen as a time of great progress because of rapid GDP growth in Pakistan, and every one expected Dr. Mahbub ul-Haq to crow about it and pat himself on the back.
But, as the report puts it, "The young economist shocked his audience by delivering a stinging indictment of Pakistan's development strategy" for favoring the elite at the expense of the poor. A few years later, Mahbub ul-Haq persuaded UNDP to push for research reports and social indicators as an alternative to single-minded focus on GDP.
South Korea's LOTTE is planning to invest $500m in Pakistan, according to The News:
KARACHI: Lotte, the parent company of Lotte Pakistan PTA Limited, has hinted at expanding its operations in Pakistan, besides entering into other businesses such as confectioneries and constructions, officials said on Tuesday.
“If government of Pakistan offers us some concessions in taxation then we are keen to expend operations of Lotte Pakistan with a fresh investment of $500 million,” said Jung Neon Kim, Executive Director of Lotte Pakistan.
The PTA plant was acquired by Lotte in September 2009 and renamed as Lotte PTA Pakistan Limited.
Kim said Lotte is also in the process of acquiring Kolson. Therefore, it is about to enter the confectionary and food businesses in the country, as well.
The parent company also wanted to concentrate on the beverage industry, as well as expand into the chemicals and construction sectors, he said.
To attract more foreign investment and foreigners to the country, he said, Lotte wanted to develop and build residential projects exclusively for foreigners where they could live and enjoy sports and cultural facilities along with full security.
“Pakistan is a big market and the government could help encourage foreign investment if it supports persistency in tariff rates and offers lower taxes and tax breaks.”
He said that his company was the tenth largest taxpayer in Pakistan, contributing around Rs20 billion to the national exchequer in the form of taxes.
In his opinion, the tax rates in Pakistan were among the highest in the region and should be reduced to attract more investment.
Lotte Pakistan took CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) very seriously and spent Rs400 million on CSR activities last year, besides contributing to the relief efforts for flood victims. He said Lotte is intensely involved in education and around Port Qasim where Lotte Pakistan PTA plant is located. Lotte, he said, is committed to spending Rs60 million annually on education in the area.
Australian wheat exports are set to face stiffer competition as Pakistan, which resumed exports after three years, pours grain from its new crop into the market and offers competitive prices to millers in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, according The Express Tribune:
Overseas shipments by Australia, the grain’s fourth largest exporter, have already suffered from the country’s strengthening currency, while a return of Black Sea cargoes, after last year’s drought, promises to worsen the situation.
“There is around $80 spread between the two origins, which makes it attractive for millers to take Pakistani wheat, even though Australian is of better quality,” said a Singapore-based grains trader.
Australian wheat sales have slowed in the past few weeks as a strengthening currency has lifted prices for overseas buyers, while Pakistan has sold some one-and-a-half million tons into the global market since it resumed overseas sales.
Pakistan is making inroads into Australia’s traditional strongholds of Indonesia and Malaysia, while striking deals with millers in Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Tanzania at prices between $300 and $310 a ton, free on board. This compares to Australian prime wheat (APW) being offered around $380 a ton.
Overview of Livestock, Dairy, Fisheries & Poultry Sectors in Pakistan:
1 Dairy Sector
With an estimated 33 billion litres of annual milk production from 50 million animals, managed by
over 8 million farming households, Pakistan is the 5th largest milk producing country in the world
Livestock sector contributed approximately 53.2 percent of the agriculture value added and 11.4
percent to national GDP during 2009 – 10
The milk economy in terms of value is over 27% of the total Agriculture sector
Additional potential of 3 billion litres of milk, with a growth rate faster than any other sector
Of the total 33 billion litres of milk produced, 71% is rural based and 29% is urban based
Of the total production, around 3% is processed and marketed through formal channels
40% Supply and Demand gap exists in Pakistan.
2 Livestock Sector
Livestock sector contributed approximately 53.2 percent of the agriculture value added and 11.4
percent to national GDP during 2009?10.
Gross value addition of livestock at current factor cost has increased from Rs. 1304.6 billion
(2008?09) to Rs. 1537.5 billion (2009?10) showing an increase of 17.8 percent as compared to the
The population growth, increase in per capita income and export revenue is fuelling the demand for
livestock and livestock products.
Pakistan earned USD717 million from leather exports in FY09 and a meagre USD96 million from meat
Poultry sector is one of the organized and vibrant segments of agriculture industry of Pakistan.
This sector generates employment (direct/indirect) and income for about 1.5 million people.
Poultry meat contributes 23.8 percent of the total meat production in the country
The meat demand for Pakistan Domestic market is growing at a rate of 2.73% for Beef, 2.90 % for
mutton and 6.10 % for poultry.
This domestic demand is growing to meet the population growth, human need for protein and
calcium, migration of population from rural to urban and the fluctuating growth due to per capita rise
3 Fisheries Sector
During the period July?March 2009?10 the total marine and inland fish production was estimated
952,735 Million tons out which 667,762 Million tons were marine production and the remaining catch
come from inland waters.
A number of sites have been earmarked on an area of 20,000 acres of land in Districts Thatta &
Badin along the coast.
Immense potential exists to start commercial scale fish/shrimp farming in Sindh.
4 Poultry Sector
Poultry is an important sub – sector of agriculture and has contributed enormously to food production by
playing a vital role in the domestic economy.
Poultry industry can broadly be divided into three
groups, viz. hatchery, poultry farming and feed sectors. This sector generates employment and income
for about 1.5 million people in Pakistan. Its contribution in agriculture growth is 4.81% and in Livestock
growth is 9.84%, whereas, the total poultry meat contributes to 23.8% of the total meat production in
Pakistan, with a population of 170 Million people, has gone through a sizeable growth in the production
of poultry meat and eggs. Per capita availability went up from 23 in 1991 to 46 eggs in 2009 and poultry
meat availability increased from 1.48kg to 2.88 kg during the same period. In our Country per capita
consumption of meat is only 7 KG and 60-65 eggs annually. Whereas developed world is consuming 41
KG meat and over 300 Eggs per capita per year. According to Industry sources there is capacity of 5,000
Environmental Control Houses in Pakistan and currently only 2,500 houses are working.
The total Poultry population in Pakistan is approximately 610 Million.
State Bank of Pakistan Holds Discount Rate at 14.00%, according to Central Bank Info:
The State Bank of Pakistan held its discount rate unchanged at 14.00% as inflation pressures eased somewhat, and as the Bank waits to analyze next month's annual government budget. The Bank noted: "The government is mindful of fiscal pressures and has expressed its resolve to address these issues, especially containment of the fiscal deficit. The budget for FY12 is expected to reflect this commitment,". Pakistan reported annual inflation of 13.04% in April (with prices rising 1.62% month on month), on inflation the Bank commented that "the average CPI inflation for FY11 is likely to remain between 14 and 14.5 percent, which is lower than the central bank's earlier projections,".
Here are a few excerpts from an Express Tribune story on Pakistan's growing meat exports:
Halal meat is also one of the fastest growing segments within the global food trade. Between 2001 and 2009, the global beef trade grew at an average of 10.4 per cent to reach just over $30 billion, according to data available from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). However, the market for halal beef imports in the Middle East and Southeast Asia alone grew by over 18.2 per cent to reach just under $2 billion a year during that same period.
Pakistan’s market share within this rapidly growing market is a paltry 2.9 per cent. However, Pakistani exporters seem to be determined to make up for lost time. In the six years ending in 2009, Pakistani red meat exports have risen by an average of 68.6 per cent a year, though admittedly from a very low base.
Yet with the advent of more and more new players, and with surprisingly robust support from the government, Pakistan is on the verge of becoming one of the largest players in the meat trade, at least within the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Perhaps the single biggest advantage that Pakistan has is proximity. The country is closer to the Middle East than any of its biggest rivals in the market. The three countries with the largest market shares are Australia, Brazil and India, each of which has considerably higher shipping costs to these export markets compared to Pakistan.
“The Brazilian animal is exactly the same as most of our breeds of cattle. The quality of meat is also the same. The only difference is their ability to market their meat better than us,” said Namazi. He argues that Pakistan can easily displace Brazil as the Middle East’s leading meat supplier.
Iran, in particular, seems to be keen for Pakistani beef. The Iranian government has invested 50 per cent of the capital in the Lahore Meat Company, a dedicated abattoir that will export meat to Iran.
Australian beef, with a powerful branding effort and a larger source animal, has a specific niche market that industry experts believe will be difficult for Pakistan to compete with in the medium term.
India, the one country that could completely destroy Pakistan’s potential in the meat trade, has placed itself outside the global beef market after a 2005 Indian Supreme Court ruling that upheld a ban on cow slaughter as constitutional.
Indian exporters only sell carabeef – meat from buffalo – which is considered inferior and commands lower prices and margins. Nevertheless, Indian exporters dominate the market in Malaysia for the lower end of beef, while Australians command the higher end.
“Malaysia is ripe for a middle-market meat supplier from Pakistan,” said another expert in the meat business. Malaysia has had a free-trade agreement with Pakistan since 2007.
Several companies from Pakistan have entered the red meat export business and even more are in the process of entering the market. The oldest and one of the most successful of these is PK Livestock, a Karachi-based abattoir which has been exporting red meat to the Middle East for over two decades.
Zenith, a Lahore-based exporter, became the first Pakistani company to sell beef to Malaysia, after the Malaysian government relaxed its regulatory requirements for Pakistani exporters.
Others, such as OMC and the Al Shaheer Corporation, have also successfully begun exporting to the Middle East and are aggressively seeking regulatory approvals for markets further afield in Southeast Asia.
Pakistan’s total meat exports may come close to $100 million in 2011 and could surpass the $500 million mark in about five years, according to projections by ASI Partners.
Despite having the eighth largest herd of cattle and the third largest herd of goats in the world, Pakistan’s animal population is very scattered, which makes procurement of the animals for the abattoir expensive...
Here's Daily Times report on the inauguration of Port Grand Food Street in Karachi:
KARACHI: Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad has said that mega economic hub like Karachi that houses millions of people, needs lots of recreational and entertainment places where entertainment-starved citizens could find some peace, comfort and entertainment which provides much-needed breather to continue with our hectic schedules.
Governor Sindh expressed these views while inaugurating the much-awaited Port Grand Food and Entertainment Complex on Saturday. Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babur Khan Ghauri and Shahid Firoz, Managing Director Grand leisure Corporation was also present.
Dr Ishrat ul Ebad said that Port Grand Complex is an effort to revive the culture and traditions of old Karachi as well as to celebrate it as the City of Lights. “It would surely revive the harbor culture in a port city like Karachi,” Ebad said.
He appreciated Grand Leisure Corporation for resurrection of history and heritage as it has not only preserved the 19th century’s Napier Mole Bridge but has also converted it into a world-class tourist spot that would ultimately attract millions of people from all over the world.
Babar Ghauri said that Port Grand is a bold initiative by a private sector company despite the economic, law and order and political uncertainties in the country. He applauded the relentless efforts of Shahid Firoz, Managing Director Grand Leisure Corporation for making it a reality.
Babar Ghauri said that Port Grand project is country’s only-sea-side food and entertainment enclave, which would offer matchless attractions for the whole family to enjoy together. “Port Grand is expected to attract around 4 to 5 thousand people daily from across the country,” he hoped.
The Port Grand Complex, which has been built at 19th century’s Napier Mole Bridge (old native jetty bridge) was conceived and built by Grand Leisure Corporation with an investment of over Rs 1 billion. GLC’s scope of work includes financing, construction, maintenance and operation of all aspects pertaining to the Port Grand.
About 40 outlets have been made operational at this stage while more outlets would be opened soon. The entry fee for the Port Grand would be Rs 300 per person out of which Rs 200 would be redeemable at different food outlets and shops inside the project. The project would be open for public from Sunday evening.
Shahid Firoz, Managing Director Grand leisure Corporation informed that Port Grand project, that stretches along the 1000 feet. Karachi’s ancient 19th century native jetty bridge, spreads over an area of 200,000 square feet. The one kilometer bridge has been transformed into an entertainment and food enclave housing numerous eateries totaling 40,000 sq ft of climate-controlled area and space for kiosks of exotic Pakistani and foreign food and a variety of beverages.
He informed that the work on the project commenced in 2005 and it was expected to be completed by 2009 but the old native jetty bridge was in very bad shape after being abandoned for any transportation usage and it was also set to be demolished when Port Grand project was conceived and ancient 19th centaury monument was preserved for generations to come. GLC had to almost rebuild the whole 1 mile Old Napier Mole Bridge that includes removal of old deck slab, cleaning of rust and scaling of existing structure, strengthening of sub-structure and laying of new deck slab. This all work took around 2 year to completely revamped the bridge thus delayed the project for around 2 years.
Pakistan's per capita income in 2011 increased to $1207 in nominal terms (not PPP) according to a report in Dawn:
ISLAMABAD, May 5: The per capita income in Pakistan rose by 9.5 per cent to $1,207 in fiscal 2010-11, the highest growth in recent past reflecting an improved well-being despite a slowdown in the economy.
As calculated by the federal bureau of statistics here on Thursday this could mean a jump of $105 per capita for 175.31 million population in 2010-11.
The per capita income is the average of the income between the very rich and the very poor and those in the middle. The economists define per capita income as Gross National Product at current market price in dollar terms divided by the country’s population.
The per capita income was $586 in 2002-03, which rose to $926 in 2006-07 and $1,085 in 2007-08 but now jumped to $1,207.
The size of the economy also peaked to Rs18.8 trillion for the financial year 2010-11, up by 22 per cent from Rs15.4 trillion in the corresponding period last year. But economic growth is projected to fall to 2.4 per cent by end June 2011 from a revised target of three per cent.
As a result of stagnation in economic growth in the past three years, the per capita income also did not witness any substantial growth in dollar term. But the real purchasing power of the people also eroded rapidly as inflation entered into double-digit making essential goods dearer for the poor people.
The per capita income in Pakistan has increased due to large inflow of home remittances from the overseas Pakistanis. This year the remittances were expected to cross the $10 billion mark, which would be the highest ever in the country’s history.
Pakistan Per capita income rises to $1254, according to Daily Times:
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s per capita income rose to $1,254 in 2010-11 from $1,073 during last year, showing tremendous increase of 16.9 percent, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan. Enhancement in per capita income is mainly because of stable exchange rate as well as higher growth in nominal gross national product (GNP). Per capita real income has risen by 0.7 percent in 2010-11 against last year’s 2.9 percent. Real private consumption rose by 7 percent as against 4 percent attained last year, it added. However, gross fixed capital formation lost its strong growth momentum and real fixed investment growth contracted by 0.4 percent as against the contraction of 6.1 percent last year. Total investment has declined from 22.5 percent of GDP in 2006-07 to 13.4 percent of GDP in 2010-11. National savings rate has decreased to 13.8 percent of GDP in 2010-11 against last year’s 15.4 percent of GDP. Domestic savings also declined substantially from 16.3 percent of GDP in 2005-06 to 9.5 percent of GDP in 2010-11. The national budget for the fiscal year 2011-12 would be unveiled today (Friday). app
Here's an Op Ed "Economic Growth Versus Human Development" by Prahlad Shekhawat published 02 July, 2011, Countercurrents.org:
Conventional indicators of development are being seen as unsatisfactory. The need for higher GDP leads to productive systems and consumption patterns that are not in harmony with the carrying capacity of the environment and our planet. GDP does not measure indicators of well-being, fair and equal distribution, unpaid labor and social sector indicators which assess the provision of effective employment, health and education.
India has consistently achieved the second highest rates of GDP growth but moved down to 134 position in the Human Development Index in 2009, compared to 128 a year before. The 2010 report puts India far behind in terms of achievements in tackling multidimensional poverty. The report concludes that economic growth has not lead to human development or less inequality. Similarly India is lagging far behind in its meager efforts to fulfill the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Since many years the composite Human Development Index has been combining income, health, education and gender equity. The 2010 report there is a proposal to enlarge the measures to include new indicators like equity, environmental sustainability and empowerment through people’s participation
Moving away from one sided focus on economic growth as a panacea and an end in itself developed is being redefined in terms of more meaningful, multidimensional and sustainable measures. According to the Research Group: Wellbeing in Developing Countries at the University of Bath, the concept of wellbeing examines three perspectives: ideas of human functioning, capabilities and needs, the analysis of livelihoods and resource use, and research on subjective wellbeing and happiness.
The recent report of the Commission points out that there is no consensus yet as to which indicators provide the greatest value, and how they should be applied in guiding public policy. The Commission’s most significant finding seems to be the need to track three distinct policy goals separately: economic, performance, quality of life, and environmental sustainability. Combining many dimensions of well-being would dilute clarity and provide numerical results with little practical utility.
Can the Indian Government respond by setting up a similar and much needed commission in India on the Impact of Economic Growth on Human Development, under the Chairmanship of Amartya Sen. India and its government celebrates Amartya Sen as a matter of Indian pride because he won the Nobel prize, yet completely ignores his advice that economic growth is a means for human development and not an end in itself
Here's a BBC report of how inflation is hurting Indians and Pakistanis:
Inflation is the price that ordinary Asians are paying for high growth rates.
For the less well-off, who spend their money on food and fuel, the story is even worse. The rise in their household expenses at the moment is usually higher than headline inflation rates.
According to the International Monetary Fund, last year consumer prices rose 13.2% in India, 11.7% in Pakistan and 9.2% in Vietnam. Other Asian nations coped better but the average for developing Asia was 6% - compared to a 1.6% average rise in prices in advanced economies.
The speed at which prices are shooting up means that unless people find ways to save and invest effectively, they in fact get much poorer - even if Asia is getting richer.
The world is jealous of Asia's sky-high growth rates, but for ordinary people the price of success is corrosive inflation which could eat away their savings.
"From outside it looks good," says Manasi Pawar. "We're staying in a big house, paying so much in rent and our kids are going to great schools."
Manasi, a qualified software worker in hi-tech Hyderabad in India, recently became a full-time mother. Her husband also works in the IT industry.
The couple epitomise the emergence of a well-to-do middle class in Asian countries - except there's one significant snag.
"We were actually losing money," says Manasi.
The couple recently woke up to the fact that inflation rates of nearly 9% meant that their savings were actually disappearing in front of their eyes.
"We were sitting on a bunch of cash but we didn't know where to put it, and it's important that we don't let it lie there in the bank - because a bank doesn't give an interest rate that even matches the inflation rate," she says.
The poorest people in society, who spend disproportionately more on food, are hit most savagely of all.
But there is a way to fight back against inflation: to save, and to put some of that money in a part of the economy that rises along with inflation.
For most people, that means investing in shares or equities. "The only way you can make money long-term is through an equity linked product," says Ms Halan.
Money in the bank in India may only earn 3% or 4% - which in fact means you are losing money. But equity linked funds in this exploding economy have risen much faster, sometimes as high as 25%.
Pakistan's food exports are surging, reports PPI:
ISLAMABAD, (Asia Pulse) - Pakistan's exports of food commodities surged by 22.73 percent during the first five months of the current fiscal year to reach at $1.514 billion, Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS) reported.
The overall food exports were recorded at 1.514 billion during July-November (2011-12) as compared to the exports of $1.233 billion during July-November (2010-11), according to FBS figures issued.
The food products that contributed to positive growth included fish and fish preparations, exports of which increased from $106.742 million last year to $125.959 million during the first five months of this year, showing an increase of 15.83 per cent.
Exports of fruits also increased by 13.94 per cent from $77.753 million to $88.595 during the period under reviews, showing positive growth of 13.94 per cent, the data revealed.
Exports of vegetables and tobacco increased by 28.47 percent and 27.62 per cent respectively during the period under review.
During the month of November 2011, the food exports witnessed negative growth of 25.85 per cent and 6.93 per cent when compared to the exports of October 2011 and November 2010 respectively.
The overall food exports during November 2011 were recorded at $223.360 million against the exports of $301.246 million in October 2011 and $239.984 million in November 2010, the data revealed.
Here's a market research report on Pakistan's agriculture sector:
Pakistan Agribusiness service provides proprietary medium term price forecasts for key commodities, including corn, wheat, rice, sugar, cocoa, coffee, soy and milk; in addition to newly-researched competitive intelligence on leading agribusiness producers, traders and suppliers; in-depth analysis of latest industry developments; and essential industry context on Pakistan's agribusiness service.
Pakistan's agricultural output has steadily declined in its contribution to GDP in the past decade, down from 24.0% in 2000/01 to 20.9% in 2010/11. That said, the sector still employs the largest number of workers in the population and we expect the industry to remain a government priority as the country deals with issues of food security and the vulnerability to natural disasters. Over the long term, we foresee the dairy, poultry and wheat industries as benefiting the most from increased investment.
However, despite the existing network of irrigation systems across the country, we believe that significant improvements in infrastructure and better supply chains will have to be implemented in order for the country to reap the full benefits of its fertile soil.
- Rice production out to 2015/16: 7.5% to 7.3mn tonnes. We expect the country to increase its share in the basmati rice trade as production expands over our forecast period.
- Wheat consumption out to 2016: 14.2% to 25.3mn tonnes. Consumption growth will be driven by rising incomes and population growth, as well as increased access to good-quality milk.
- Sugar production out to 2015/16: 35.1% to 4.8mn tonnes. Large-scale consumers such as confectioners, candy makers and soft drink manufacturers account for about 60% of the total sugar demand and will be the main drivers of growth.
- 2012 Real GDP Growth: 3.8% (up from 2.4% y-o-y in 2011; forecast to average 3.7% from 2011 to 2016).
- Consumer Price Inflation: 11.2% average in 2012 (down from 13.7% in 2011).
- Central Bank Policy Rate: 12.0% (lower than 14.0% in 2011)
South Asia rice exporters should benefit the most from the recent rice trade disruptions out of Thailand. So far, traders report that more than 100,000 tonnes of rice for export have been stalled as a result of the country's worst flooding in decades. Some sources estimate that this could rise to more than 300,000 tonnes. Given these developments, the spotlight has now turned to South Asia to meet demand for the grain in the near term.
Despite the recent floods, which destroyed approximately 20-30% of the sugarcane crop in the Sindh region, we forecast 2011/12 sugar output from Pakistan at 4.1mn tonnes, 2.5% up from our previous estimates. This is largely due to an overall 5-8% increase in sugarcane yields, area harvested and favourable monsoon rains during the growing season. Sugar crushing is estimated at 82% and sugar recovery at 8.8%. According to provincial reports, higher sugar prices farmers received last year, coupled with strong demand from the industrial sector, have boosted planting in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhawah.
Here's a Daily Times story on Pakistani Punjab's participation at an Ag exhibit in Germany:
Diplomats, international economic experts and investors in Berlin, Germany have termed the exhibition of agriculture items of Pakistan in Berlin as a great success of Punjab and Pakistan. As many as 21 different products and agriculture items have been displayed in the exhibition by Pakistani farmers and industrialists.
Addressing a function held in connection with the exhibition, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that he was thankful to political leadership and senior officials of Germany for the warm welcome extended to him and his entourage.
A large number of European investors, diplomats, Pakistani citizens and farmers attended the function. The chief minister expressed the confidence that his visit would help promote export of agriculture items of Pakistan and strengthening of Pak-German relations. He praised that the hospitality extended by German government and said he would always remember the people there.
Former MPA Chaudhry Arshad Jutt, who was also a member of the delegation, apprised the audience that the exhibition was the result of the chief minister and his colleagues’ efforts. He said that the chief minister and his colleagues paid all expenses from their own pockets for participating in it. Agriculture Secretary Arif Nadeem said that the Punjab government had allocated Rs 2 billion for promoting export of agriculture items to foreign countries. He said that due to the steps taken for this purpose, now farmers had to pay only 30 percent whereas the remaining 70 percent expenses would be borne by Punjab government.
The Livestock secretary said that besides export of high quality meat to European countries and setting up of modern slaughterhouses in Punjab, production of livestock was also being increased. Punjab Investment Board Vice Chairman Muftah Ismael said that Punjab government had sent teams to various countries for the promotion of exports.
Earlier, the chief minister and his team attended a reception arranged by the head of multinational company Metro. Shahbaz said that he and his government were thankful of the Metro International for the assistance provided for the exhibition of agriculture items in Germany.
Expressing his views regarding exhibition, Metro International chairman said that the chief minister and his government had taken a bold initiative through this exhibition. Dr Andreas Kohler, member parliament and president chamber of law, said that this exhibition would play an important role in dispelling the impression of extremism and terrorism about Pakistan existing in the western world. He said that Germany was ready for extending all kind of cooperation to Punjab in arranging more such exhibitions.
Shahbaz also visited a modern slaughterhouse in East Berlin. He evinced keen interest in various sections of the slaughterhouse. He said that similar slaughterhouses were being set up in Punjab for increasing the production and export of meat. The chief minister further said that like fruit and vegetables, Punjab government is also taking extraordinary measures for promotion of livestock.
Here's part 2 of National Geographic story about Pakistan's heartland of Punjab:
The fertile alluvium deposited by the mighty Indus river and its tributaries in Pakistan have given the country’s demographic heartland of Punjab an agrarian edge. Yet, errant canal planning and over-pumping from tube-wells have degraded vast tracts of land. Salinity and water-logging afflicts around 6.3 million hectares of land and an additional 4,000 hectare of land gets affected every year (estimates from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, November 2011). Climate change and conflicts over hydroelectric impoundment infrastructure have also made the arable lands of the country further vulnerable to flooding, as we saw in the epic floods of 2010 when an estimated 20 million people were displaced.
Amidst all these challenges to the farming economy of the country, there are glimmers of hope that Pakistan’s elite are trying to reconnect with the land in sincere and innovative ways. During my last trip to Lahore – the capital of Punjab province and Pakistan’s second-largest city (after Karachi), I was heartened to see urbanites retreating to farms in the surrounding countryside. Previously such farms were merely ornamental playgrounds of wealthy families but now there is a growing interest in these ranks to reconnect with the earth for societal good.
Zacky Farms, just outside Lahore, is the brainchild of Zafar Khan, a Caltech-educated software engineer who runs one of the most successful information technology companies in Pakistan named Sofizar. What started off as a recreational venture is now a side-business supplying sustainably produced organic milk, vegetables and meat to nearby Lahore suburbs. The farm is modeled on a cyclical model of minimal wastes and multiple product usage. The cows are fed pesticide-free oats, clover and grass and their manure is used to fuela biogas plant which runs the dairy facility. In an era of electricity load-shedding, such an alternative source of energy at a local industrial scale is immensely valuable to replicate as a development path. The residue of the biogas is used to fertigate the fodder fields and vegetable tunnels, which along with green manuring obviates the use of fertilizers. Free-range chickens grace the fields and there is even a fish farm on site. Zafar and his Ukrainian-born wife are committed to sharing their experiences with other farming entrepreneurs in the country.
Further south in a more rural and remote part of Punjab, famed writer and erstwhile lawyer, Daniyal Mueenudin, maintains a mid-size farm which is exemplifying other kinds of innovations. The farm does not boast ecological farming practices, apart from tunnel farming that can help with land conservation and humidity control. However, Daniyal has changed the social landscape of his area through implementing a “living wage” for all his employees. Noting the high level of inequality in Pakistan’s hinterland, the Yale-educated former director of the university’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, is practicing what he preached. He also owns a farm in Wisconsin and could have a comfortable life in the States but his social obligations keep him ensconced in Pakistan for most of the year.....
Here's part 2 of National Geographic story about Pakistan's heartland of Punjab:
....Raising the wage several-fold for works and farm manager, and also offering bonus incentives for performance, has led to positive competition that can help to erode the feudal levels of income disparity which exist in this part of Pakistan. At the same time, Daniyal is also committed to providing new livelihood paths for the agrarian workers as automation reduces farm employment in some areas. He has has fully funded a school and provided a merit-based scholarship for advanced degrees to students from the nearby village. One of the children from this school (the first in his family to even go to school) is now making his way through medical school in Lahore!
Zafar and Daniyal’s stories of commitment to constructive farming for social and ecological good may appear to be outliers but they are catching on and provide hope to a country which is all too often shadowed by despair. In the suburbs of Islamabad, tax incentives and planning rules to encourage farming by urbanites are leading to a growing culture of reconnecting with the land in residential farms. In rural areas, the disaster caused by the floods of 2010 brought forth numerous aid agencies with new ideas for sustainable farming. The Pakistani diaspora, often known in the West for professions ranging from taxi-driving to engineering, may well find opportunities for reconnecting to their land in far more literal ways. With growing commitment from land-owners it just might be possible to use the existential shock of recent natural disasters that have befallen the country into a proverbial opportunity for positive change.
Here's some info on Nestle's rural entrepreneurship program in Pakistan:
The Small Entrepreneur Development Project was launched in March 2009 from a partnership between Nestlé Pakistan Ltd. (as implementing partner) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) which has co-funded the project. Its aim is to contribute to the improvement of economic opportunities, income generation and food security in rural areas of the country. Livestock and dairy farmers are provided with training and assistance to both enhance their skills as small entrepreneurs and improve their market linkages. Training is provided through the Nestlé Agricultural Services in the location of training farms specially dedicated to the project.
Current dairy farming constraints
The livestock and dairy sector represent 11% of Pakistan's GDP. There are 10 million farming families and 50 million cattle heads in Pakistan, out of which 7 million farming families (approx 35 million people) live in the Punjab Province. Many of them are landless farmers.
The lack of sustainability of dairy farming in Punjab is due to the lack of training and skills, poor infrastructure, poor breeds, lack of good fodder management, lack of support mechanisms for the farmers, lack of financial services and expertise in running small enterprises.
It is then no surprise that there are no commercial dairy farms or formal dairy farming structures in Pakistan. The majority of these farmers are domestic dairy farmers with only 2 to 3 cows or buffalos.
All this amounts to poverty driven farmers, no socio-economic growth in the dairy sector, poor living conditions and very low social standing, particularly for women. 48% of the farmers are women. As part of their domestic chores, they care for the livestock but are not socially acknowledged for these services and are kept out of the decision making processes. Hence there is a strong need to initiate a development programme targeted specifically at the women which the Nestlé-UNDP Partnership Programme tackles with great success (see specific project description).
While the demand for milk and meat is growing by 5%, the actual supply increase represents less than 2% per annum. There is a large potential for farmers to play a positive role in the development of the dairy sector in Pakistan's economy. Regretfully, very few initiatives provide farmers with livestock and dairy training at the grass root level which could strongly link rural development to economic growth....
Nestlé Pakistan has established the training facility over 103 acres of leased land as an investment for the development of the dairy sector and to work towards sustainable farming and an improved rural economy - benefiting the farmers through increased prosperity and food security. Furthermore, this win-win community development model is designed to sustain itself in the following manner: Institutional linkages with the Government departments and financial institutions once established will sustain beyond the life of the project; capacities of the farmers once built shall yield economic benefits and further contribute to generate employment; training modules developed and tested by Nestlé Agri-Services will continue to be used beyond the life of the project.
Here's a BR report on State Bank of Pakistan's ag loans target for the year:
The State Bank of Pakistan has set Rs 285 billion target for disbursement of agriculture loan among small farmers for current fiscal year.
Director Development Finance of SBP Karachi, Dr Muhammad Saleem said this while addressing "Agricultural & Industrial Awareness Convention-2012" here on Tuesday.
Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Higher Education Minister Qazi Muhammad Asad Khan participated as chief guest in the convention organised by the State Bank, Rawalpindi in collaboration with commercial banks and insurance companies.
More than 120 stalls of handicrafts, clothing agriculture equipment, handmade beautiful jewellers, banking products and food, etc, were set up by women from various organisations and banks to promote rural culture and potential of trade in these areas.
Horse dancing and culture displays made this event more beautiful.
More than 1500 people including students, farmers and women participated in the convention.
Chief Manager State Bank Akhtar Raza, Group Head of United Bank Ltd (UBL) Jameel Ahmed, Vice Chancellor Hazara University Haripur, Professor Dr Sahawat and others were also present on the occasion.
Dr Muhammad Saleem said the SBP had set Rs 270 billion agriculture loans target for small farmers in the previous financial year while actually Rs 260 billion loan was distributed among farmers.
He said that agri loan is being given to farmers through one-window operation.
He said farmers could give better output if banks provide them loan in time on easy instalments.
"Agriculture is backbones of our economy and its share in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 21 percent.
Livelihood of 47 percent people is directly or indirectly is linked with agriculture sector.
The SBP is playing pivotal role in progress of agriculture sector by providing loans especially to small farmers," he said.
Dr Muhammad Saleem said the SBP formulates policy in consultation with all the stakeholders including farmers.
The SBP changes its policy with passage of time by keeping the necessities of farmers in view.
Addressing the convention, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Higher Education Minister Qazi Muhammad Asad Khan said land of Haripur is fertile and the farmers of this area can give maximum production if they were given some financial support for seed, fertiliser and tractor and other inputs necessary for increasing production.
He urged the SBP to set up its branch in Haripur for promotion of small industries and agriculture sector.
About the Haripur University, He said Haripur has also become a part of the community of 120 universities.
"The government should increase budget for education to 4% of GDP.
The quality of education can only be improved by increasing the budget for this sector.
Group head of UBL, Jameel Ahmed said the State Bank has good legal framework and governance in the region.
The employees of the Bank are servants of people.
"It is your money and used to benefit you," he added.
Vice Chancellor Hazara University Haripur, Professor Dr Sahawat said knowledge-based economy and use of latest technology is of vital importance for progress of agriculture sector.
Here's a Zee News report on crop yields in South Asia:
Productivity of major food crops such as wheat, rice, maize and pulses in India is almost half of that in neighbouring China, according to a data.
In fact, yield of staple grains like maize and pulses in India is even less than that of countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, the data presented in Parliament by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar last week said.
The productivity of rice in India is 3,264 kg per hectare, while in China it is 6,548 kg a hectare, the data compiled by UN's agriculture body FAO for the year 2010 said.
It is also high in Bangladesh at 4,182 kg/hectare and Myanmar at 4,123 kg per hectare.
China also tops the list in wheat with yields of 4,748 kg per hectare, whereas for India it stands at 3,264 kg a hectare.
India stands at the bottom in terms of maize and pulses productivity compared to China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Bangladesh leads the tally in terms of maize yields with 5,837 kg per hectare, followed by China at 5,459 kg a hectare, Myanmar 3,636 kg/hectare, Pakistan 3,558 kg per hectare, Nepal 2,118 kg every hectare, Sri Lanka 2,806 kg a hectare and in India it is 1,958 kg/hectare.
In pulses, China tops the list with 1,567 kg per hectare followed by Myanmar at 1,114 kg a hectare, Bangladesh at 871 kg/hectare, Nepal 791 kg per hectare, Pakistan 762 kg every hectare, while in India it stands at 694 kg per hectare.
Pawar said that productivity depends on factors like rainfall, extent of inputs such as fertiliser, micro-nutrients, seed replacement rate, duration of crop, extent of area sown under any crop and the nature of lands used for cultivation.
To enhance the agricultural production, the government is working on frontier areas of research like marker assisted selection, stem cell research, nanotechnology, cloning genome resource conservation, Pawar said.
The National Institute of Abiotic Research Management has been established in Maharashtra to address issues related to impending climate change, he added.
That apart, the National Institute of Biotic Stress Management and Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology are in the pipeline for undertaking high quality research, the minister added.
Here's a PakistanToday report on SBP's efforts to increase funding of agriculture and financial literacy among farmers:
Presiding over a one-day ‘Farmers’ Financial Literacy & Awareness Program on Agricultural Financing,’ which was jointly organized by State Bank and Habib Bank Ltd. today at NRSP Training Center, Bahawalpur, he said the agriculture sector has a key role in country’s economy and stressed the need for making necessary finances available to farmers for multiple cropping activities. He outlined SBP’s efforts for creating awareness amongst the farming community and developing capacity of commercial banks through its various training and awareness programmes.
Dr. Saeed Ahmed, Head, Agricultural Credit and Microfinance Department, SBP said the programme is aimed at creating awareness among the farming community about agriculture financing products & services offered by banks, money management techniques and lending procedures, documentations, etc. Besides, it would also develop capacity of agriculture field officers of banks in agri. financing and synergize the efforts of all stakeholders including policy makers, executing agencies, service providers & farming community to improve access to agricultural credit, he said, adding that SBP’s promotional initiatives and policy interventions have translated into around 200 percent increase in the flow of credit to the agriculture sector from Rs. 137.4 billion in 2005-06 to Rs. 263 billion in 2010-11.
However, he pointed out, despite this encouraging growth, the disbursement to the agriculture sector was around 40% of the total estimated credit requirements. ‘SBP has planned to increase the disbursement to 70-80 percent during the next five years covering 3.3 million borrowers by adopting a multipronged strategy,’ he added.
The inaugural session was followed by a technical session for the agricultural credit staff of banks in which senior officials of SBP and HBL made detailed presentations on dynamics of agriculture finance and related policies. The purpose of this session was to train the agriculture finance officials of banks enabling them to conduct farmers’ financial literacy programs at their end and to share the best practices in agriculture lending with the participants.
Here's a Guardian report on latest OECD happiness rankings:
For an indicator we have to use all the time, GDP has very few friends. The idea of a single number to show a country's economic power came from US Nobel-prize winning economist Simon Kuznets - and that's what GDP is, a measure of economic output.
What GDP misses is, arguably, more important than what it includes. Robert Kennedy argued that
the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile
Even Kuznets agreed that "the welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income".
This government - like many others - is keen to find new ways to compare nations, which is the motivation behind the moves to measure happiness and life satisfaction - and you can read more about these here.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development - OECD - has been trying a new approach: asking people what they think is important, via its Better Life Index.
The Index, launched a year ago, puts you in charge by allowing you to choose what matters to you - and how highly it should be ranked. Today it gets relaunched.
It's counted as a major success by the OECD, particularly as users consistently rank quality of life indicators such as education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance above more traditional ones. Designed by Moritz Stefaner and Raureif, it's also rather beautiful.
The top five countries in number of visitors are the United States (20%), France (8%), Canada (7%), Germany (6%) and the United Kingdom (6%). The BLI is now available in French. Translation is driven by usage statistics, thus German and Spanish are likely to be next languages given the number of users from German and Spanish-speaking countries.
One of the major criticisms of the index was that it didn't include inequality - and that's changing with the relaunch with new indicators on inequality and gender plus rankings for Brazil and Russia. A couple have been removed too: Governance has been renamed civic engagement, employment rate of women with children has been replaced by the full integration of gender information in the employment data and students' cognitive skills (e.g. student skills in reading, math and sciences) has replaced students' reading skills to have a broader view.
The OECD have built lots of apps off the back of the index, including this one, which offers real-time data as people fill it in.
The countries that consistently come top in users rankings (with 2012 place in brackets) are Denmark (life satisfaction and work-life balance), Switzerland (health and jobs), Finland (education), Japan (safety), Sweden (environment), and the USA (income).
The OECD has also given us the raw data behind the Better Life index too - check out this interactive to see how countries compare on everything from Housing to Employment. Download the data for yourself and let us know what you can do with it.
Here's a PakTribune report on Pakistan's rising meat exports:
The export of the meat increased from $108.54m (2010-11) to $123.61m in 2011-12, showing an increase of 13.9pc. An official of Ministry of National Food Security and Research told Our Sources that the future plan for the livestock sector is to persuade the policies to achieve 5pc or more growth in meat and 8pc or more in milk production through shifting from subsistence livestock farming to market-oriented and commercial farming.
Rising meat exports is good news.
Pakistan is in the middle of a major livestock revolution that is boosting domestic consumption and increasing exports of milk and meat products. This is great for Pakistan's rural economy. It'll reduce rural poverty and improve the lives of the people living in villages and small towns.
Here's PakistanToday on rising rice production in Pakistan:
The overall produce of rice has been estimated to reach 6.16 million tons during the current year, showing an increase of 28 percent over that of last year, official sources told APP.
“Following the remarkable increase in the yield, the rice export is expected to grow considerably during the current fiscal (2012-13),” said sources in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. They opined that it was due to prudent and pro-farmer policies of the government that rice export from Pakistan remained over US $ 2 billion for the last four years consecutively.
Giving break-up, the sources said that the rice export fetched US $ 1.836 billion 2007-08, $ 1.983 billion in 2008-09, $2.160 billion in 2009-10, $.2.160 billion in 2010-11 and $ 2.061 billion in in 2011-12.
The sources said that in the year 2009-10 rice was cultivated at an area of 2.88 million hectares with produce of 6.88 million tons, in 200-11 rice was cultivated at an area of 2.37 million hectare with produce of 4.82 million tons and similarly in 2011-12 rice was cultivated at an area of 2.57 hectares with 6.16 million tons produce.
They said that the rice was a major cash and important food crop of the country after wheat and its produce comprised 40% basmati (fine) and 60 percent coarse types. The government, they added during 2008-09 and 2009-10 intervened in order to support farmers as the rice price hit the rock bottom due to bumper crop and plummeting international price.
Highlighting the major issues, the sources said that in view of good returns of the rice crop, there is a spread of basmati varieties in non-basmati zone.
“It may affect basmati rice exports in the long run as the basmati produced in non-basmati zone lacks aroma”, they observed. The sources added that due to higher yield of hybrid rice, farmers are also shifting the Irri-6 to hybrid rice and the hybrid rice quality is low compared to Irri types. They further said that rice crop is low in productivity and production is affected by water shortage and there are enormous post harvest losses and issue of Afflatoxin which affect crop value and quality especially in case of rice export. They stressed the need for more investments in general research and development in rice for further increasing its production.
The sources said that Pakistani basmati rice was one of the top rice commodities all over the world, but the exports of this rich rice commodity witnessed sharp decline of 14.87 percent during the last fiscal year 2011-12 as compared to the previous year.
Here's BR report on Engro Foods:
Engro with its rich history of over four decades of developing the agricultural sector of Pakistan used dairy as a stepping stone to enter the foods business in 2005 to give further impetus to its already diversified business portfolio including fertilisers, petrochemicals, energy, trading and chemicals storage and handling.
In a span of just seven years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65 percent and a planned infrastructure investment in 2012 to the tune of eight billion rupees, Engro Foods has become the country's fastest growing local company catering to a wide demographic consumer base from high income groups to the more economically conscious segment of the market both in Pakistan and abroad.
Serving over five million consumers nation-wide every day, Engro Foods had revenues of about Rs 19.76 billion during 1H-2012 with profitability registering an increase of over 450 percent to close at Rs 1.02 billion. Since its inception Engro Foods has invested heavily in dairy development initiatives, cold chain infrastructure, enhancing capabilities of dairy farmers across Pakistan through innovative breakthroughs that have redefined the milk collection standards and benchmarks in the dairy industry. Employing over 12,000 individuals both directly and indirectly, Engro Foods' continues to touch and improve life for over 160,000 dairy farmers through improved payment cycles, guaranteed collection, improved margins and up to a 15 percent increase in milk yields. Through its wide network of over 900 milk collection centres, Engro Foods focuses its impact at the most economically challenged communities in Pakistan - an effort that has also been recognised at local and international fronts including the IFC managed G20 Challenge on Business Innovation where Engro Foods was declared the winner from over 300 global contracts.
The Company also had the unique opportunity to become the first company in Pakistan to produce one billion packs within a year in 2010 alone; a distinction that has been achieved by only 18 companies out of 3,000 Tetra Pak customers world-wide. Living its vision of 'elevating consumer delight world-wide' the business established its Global Business Unit (GBU) and acquired Al-Safa Halal - the oldest Halal meat brand in North America in 2010. With presence in key retail stores including Loblaws, Wal-Mart, Sobeys, Metro, Kroger etc, Engro Foods GBU has obtained a market share of 15 percent in Canada and three percent in USA in the branded foods category.
Speaking at the occasion, Afnan Ahsan - CEO Engro Foods said: "The story of Engro and that of Engro Foods is a source of national pride. The fact that in a short span of seven years a home-grown multinational company has been created - with a geographic footprint spanning across Pakistan, Afghanistan, US and Canada - is testament to the vision and business acumen of the Company. Engro Foods is an example that through focused approach companies can create real business value - not just in the Pakistani market but also globally." Building on plans for the future of the Company Afnan said: "We are in the early stages of our growth trajectory and looking ahead we will continue to further explore diversification with focused growth in our dairy and beverage business - both locally and on the international front. We are also confident that we will continue to create real value for all our stakeholders by pursuing an inclusive growth strategy that positively impacts each individual through the value chain process."
Pakistanis believe in the value of hard work, reports Express Tribune:
No matter what the prophets of doom say in nightly news shows on TV day in day out, an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis still believes that hard work is duly rewarded in the country and leads to material success, according to a recent poll by Pew Research Center — a nonpartisan “fact tank” in Washington DC.
In fact, of all the 21 countries where the survey was conducted, Pakistan came on top with 81% of respondents saying people succeed if they work hard as opposed to 15% who believe hard work is no guarantee of success.
The United States followed Pakistan with 77% of respondents saying hard work assured success. India, China and Japan were more sceptical with only 67%, 45% and 40% of the respondents recognising a close link between hard work and success, respectively.
“Fundamentally, the survey reveals that Pakistanis haven’t lost faith in the country. The Pakistani youth believes that current problems are short-term and can be resolved,” said Asad Umar, who joined politics in April after resigning from Engro Corporation, Pakistan’s largest conglomerate, as its CEO. “That’s why Pakistanis believe in hard work — and its direct relationship with material success – more than the people of the United States, Germany or Japan.”
The survey was conducted between March 28 and April 13 in all provinces face-to-face with 1,206 people of the age of 18 years or more.
While a majority of Pakistanis tend to have faith in the existing economic system to reward them with success if they work hard, less than half of Pakistanis approve of the free-market economy, reveals the survey. About 48% of the respondents think people are better off in a free-market economy, down from 65% three years ago.
“I’m not surprised that the percentage of people having faith in the free-market economy has dropped significantly in recent years. We don’t have a free-market economy. The sham system that’s in place is actually reflective of a rent-seeking economy, where self-interest is pursued shamelessly at the highest level of the government,” Umar said.
Talking to The Express Tribune, first-generation entrepreneur Shakir Husain, who is involved in several national and international ventures, said most Pakistanis don’t even understand the basics of the free-market economy.
“I’ve found that even educated Pakistanis are least versed in economics and the working of the free market. TV channels have added to the problem, where they tend to politicise structural issues that confuses people further,” he said.
The Pew survey also revealed that about 76% Pakistanis think that the economy will either worsen or stay the same in the next 12 months. The corresponding figures for India and China are 49% and 11%, respectively.
When asked if their standard of living is better than the standard of living of their parents when they were of their age said they are worse off.
Among those who think the economy is doing poorly, roughly one-third of the respondents in Pakistan held the United States responsible for bad economic conditions. Another one-third said that people are themselves to be blamed for the bad economy. On the other hand, almost two-thirds of the respondents in India blamed themselves for the bad economy.
“It’s easier for the average Pakistani to simply blame the entire ‘system’ without understanding the root of the problem. Also, our politicians and bureaucrats are not honest about their own shortcomings. Hence, the blame is put on ridiculous things,” Husain said.
Here's an ET report on HWT technology to increase shelf life and exports of fruits and veggies in Pakistan:
The establishment of Karachi’s hot water treatment (HWT) plant – a facility for post-harvest treatment and processing of fruits and vegetables – is a very good example of how the country’s agriculture sector can benefit by investing in technological advancements. It is because of this technology that Pakistan has been able to venture into some of the world’s largest markets for its mango over the past couple of months.
In order to expand mango exports, Durrani Associates, one of Pakistan’s largest mango exporters, in partnership with the government, set up the Rs220 million HWT plant, which is officially known as Pakistan Horti Fresh Processing (Pvt) Limited. This investment, according to Durrani Associates’ Director Babar Khan Durrani, can be recovered within five years.
Durrani told The Express Tribune that they were already exporting mangoes to Tesco in the United Kingdom and Carrefour in the rest of Europe – two of the world’s largest retail chains – but HWT facility has opened new markets for the exporters. The exporters can use the facility and ship their products via sea now, which will enable them to sell at competitive prices.
HWT increases shelf life of mangoes to 35 days, thus they can now be shipped by sea to remote destinations, a major development, which reduces freight charges to a great extent.
Take the example of China, Durrani said, where air freight alone costs more than $1.25 per kg of mangoes. The processed mangoes can be shipped by sea, he said, bringing the cost down to $0.20 per kg. As a result, the Pakistani exporter was able to impress Walmart China, which, in a week’s time, will strike a contract for supply of another 100 tons of mangoes.
Talking about how this technology has helped expand mango exports, Durrani said fruits and vegetables processed by HWT facility meet requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Quarantine Standards, thus making them globally acceptable.
In the past, Pakistan’s mangoes were denied access to several key markets including the US and China because of nine diseases. HWT kills anthicolas, a major disease that results in black spots on mango skin.
“The skin of our mango is rough but its taste is very good,” company’s Chairman Abdul Qadir Khan Durrani said. “HWT improves the skin while killing all diseases after treating at 50 degrees for an hour,” he added.
He claimed Pakistan has world’s largest HWT plant having capacity to treat 15 tons of mangoes per hour. The second largest plant is in Mexico that treats 4.5 tons of mangoes per hour, he said.
Besides the $2,200 per ton market of Europe, the $1,600 per ton market of China could prove to be the largest importer of Pakistan’s mangoes, Durrani said.
By contrast, the mango exports are 8% of the production or less than 50% of the export potential, a strong indication that there is still a huge space for more investment on the technology front. “We need more than 10 such plants for meeting mango demand of North American markets,” Director Durrani said.
“Our agriculture sector lacks technology. People shy away from using technology.” It will take a while before all farmers adopt new technologies, he said.
“About 30% to 40% of our fruits and vegetables are wasted because they are not processed,” Durrani said. “Given the HWT plant can process almost every fruit and vegetable that we produce, we can save our produce from being wasted,” he added.
Here's Business Recorder on Pakistan's rising wheat exports:
Following the rising demand and better price in the world market, Pakistan''s wheat exports has again picked up, witnessing some 200 percent growth during the first month of the current fiscal year. Exporters told Business Recorder on Wednesday that after posting some decline in the second half of FY12, wheat exports surged, on the back of demand from Sri Lanka and some other regional countries.
"Pakistan''s wheat exports was declining a few months ago because of low prices. However, better wheat prices and rising demand in the world market have opened up new venues for the export of the commodity," exporters said. Wheat price in the international market was rising because of reports regarding bad wheat crop in Russia, they said.
According to them, wheat prices had crossed $300 per ton after a gap of 6-8 months. Month-on-Month basis, export statistics for the first month (July) of this fiscal year were very encouraging, as wheat export witnessed a massive growth of 198 percent.
Keeping in line with the current trend, wheat exports amounted to $4.652 million in July 2012 against $1.562 million in June this year, depicting an increase of $3.09 million in a single month. In term of quantity, some 15,521 tons of wheat was exported during July against 5,592 tons in June this year.
Export figures for August will be higher than July, as huge export orders have been placed by foreign buyers and several shipments are in the pipeline. However, in the longer run, exports were linked with price stability in the world market, they added. "We are exporting wheat without any government subsidy, disposing off excess stocks, earning millions of dollars in foreign exchange. Wheat price below $300 per ton is not visible for us," exporters said.
The quality of Pakistan''s wheat is best and as per international standard it has 11 to 11.5 percent protein content and is considered perfect for markets in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Gulf states, Far East and Myanmar, they informed. Traders also confirmed that commodity exporters were quickly procuring wheat from domestic market for export as attractive prices are being offered by importers from around the world.
Expressing some reservations regarding wheat exports, they said that hasty buying of wheat from domestic market could create panic in the commodity market, resulting in a massive increase in wheat pries. Wheat prices have witnessed a surge of Rs 2,000 per ton over the past month because of huge buying by exporters. With the current rise, the price of wheat grains rose to Rs 28,000 per ton from Rs 26,500 per tone. Although, the country harvested a bumper wheat crop this year and there is an ample stock in government and private warehouses, extraordinary jump in the quantum of exports could hit domestic prices and wheat availability in the domestic market, traders said.
Here's Bloomberg on outsize returns of KSE-100:
The KSE 100 Index, the benchmark for Pakistan’s $43 billion equity market, rose 7.3 percent in the past three years when adjusted for price swings, the top gain among 72 markets worldwide, according to the BLOOMBERG RISKLESS RETURN RANKING. Pakistan had lower stock volatility than 82 percent of the nations including the U.S. (SPX) Over five years, Pakistan’s risk- adjusted returns ranked eighth.
The country’s 190 million people are boosting purchases three times faster than Asian peers as higher rural incomes and record remittances outweigh fighting on the Afghan border, violence in Karachi that led to at least 2,100 deaths this year and power outages that sparked rioting. The region’s fastest earnings growth may increase economic stability, according to Karachi-based Atlas Asset Management Ltd. Foreign investors added to holdings for five straight months, lured by Asia’s lowest valuations and biggest dividend yields.
“Stocks are very cheap and there are some very good businesses in Pakistan,” said Andrew Brudenell, whose HSBC Frontier Markets Fund has returned 18 percent this year, beating 92 percent of peers tracked by Bloomberg, and holds more shares in the country than are represented in benchmark indexes. “We still think there’s some positive growth to come from the markets.”
Earnings in the KSE 100 index advanced 45 percent during the past year, the largest gain among 17 Asian equity indexes, and this month hit the highest level since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 2005.
Consumer spending in Pakistan has increased at a 26 percent average pace the past three years, compared with 7.7 percent for Asia, according to data compiled by Euromonitor International, a consumer research firm. While the growth in Pakistan may slow to 6.6 percent in 2012, it will still exceed the 5.3 percent pace in Asia, according to Euromonitor estimates.
Engro Foods Ltd. (EFOODS), a Karachi-based seller of dairy products, reported a 214 percent jump in net income for the third quarter, while Unilever Pakistan Ltd. (ULEVER), a unit of the world’s second- biggest consumer-goods company, had a 36 percent gain, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Dividends in Pakistan have also climbed at the fastest pace in the region. Payouts increased 49 percent in the past 12 months, giving the KSE 100 index a dividend yield of 6.6 percent, double the 3.3 percent average in Asia, Bloomberg data show.
Foreign investors have purchased a net $153 million of Pakistan shares since the beginning of July, according to data from the Karachi Stock Exchange. Overseas holdings amount to about 20 percent of the bourse’s free float, or shares available for trading, according to Adnan Katchi, the head of international equity sales at Arif Habib Ltd.
Bond investors are also growing more confident. Pakistan’s international debt, rated Caa1 at Moody’s Investors Service, or seven levels below investment grade, has returned 32 percent this year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Next Generation Markets Index. Yields hit a two-year low of 8.5 percent on Oct. 26.
The country is luring more of the world’s biggest consumer brands as spending increases. Debenhams Plc (DEB), the U.K.’s second- largest department-store chain, and Nine West Group Inc., a seller of women’s shoes and handbags owned by New York-based Jones Group Inc. (JNY), opened their first Pakistan outlets this year.....
Spotting Hope in #Resilient #Pakistan http://nyti.ms/1H2kIFf via @nytimesphoto
Most photographs in Pakistan depict something awful or its immediate aftermath: suicide bombings, a horrible earthquake, even more horrible floods, unimaginable grief. The Spanish photographer Diego Ibarra Sánchez, who made Pakistan his home for five years, saw something different amid all the tragedy: hope.
His latest project, called “Resilience, Pakistan,” is the culmination of small moments from his time there, until he left in 2014 after visa problems and intimidation by the country’s main spy agency. Mr. Ibarra divided this work into two categories: “Nightmare,” for the kind of images one expects from Pakistan, and “Hope,” for less frequently seen images of daily life, like a taxi driver in his car at night, young men playing pool, even a model at a fashion show.
“I started realizing that whatever happened, Pakistanis keep moving forward,” Mr. Ibarra said. “They don’t lose their hope, they don’t stop moving to the future. I thought it was my duty to show more, to show more than the terrorism, the nightmare, that there is hope for the future.”
Mr. Ibarra, 33, left Barcelona for Pakistan in 2009 almost on a whim. He won a photo contest for taking pictures at a mall, bought a secondhand lens with his winnings, went on a brief trip to Pakistan and then packed up his belongings to move there six months later.
He started working on “Resilience” almost immediately, but didn’t realize how his photographs knit together until 2010. Everywhere, he looked for hope. He started a workshop to teach survivors of acid attacks to take pictures, and he constantly reminded himself of how Pakistanis would rush to give him anything — biscuits, curry, tea — even when they had little of their own. Many of his photographs are moody, even dark, with shafts of light that highlight a man walking, or sitting in a jail cell
“I’m always searching for this ray of light,” Mr. Ibarra said. “You know, after the storm, this ray of light that illuminates everything. This is what I’m trying to use, to explain, that no matter the nightmare there is hope.”
He walked the streets without security to take photographs, and after five years on the project, he said that the story remained unfinished and that he couldn’t pick a favorite image. “Each picture has its own moment, its own soul,” Mr. Ibarra said. “For me, each picture is some kind of gift.”
Some have a dramatic story behind them. In one, young men are silhouetted at night by fires raging after a Taliban attack on NATO supply trucks heading for Afghanistan. No one was killed in the blaze near the tribal agencies, but Mr. Ibarra, who didn’t have a permit to be there, had to flee when agents from the country’s main intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, showed up in the early-morning hours.
There are also photographs of small acts of protest: a man nervously watching a movie in the Swat Valley, even though the Taliban loathe cinema.
Pakistan can be a maddening place to be a foreign journalist, as much of one’s effort goes toward figuring out how to work despite efforts by the government and the ISI to control stories and news events. It is a country where journalists are constantly followed, where they can be kicked out for seemingly innocuous reasons, where the daily grind of shaking someone from ISI can range between humorous and scary.
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