Saturday, November 23, 2013

India's Agrarian Crisis: A Farmer Commits Suicide Every 30 Minutes

An Indian farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes. About 200,000 Indian farmers have killed themselves over the last decade, according to media reports quoting India Rural Development Report 2012-13 released in September this year.

The report, prepared by a government-funded Infrastructure Development Finance Company, was released by India's rural development minister Jairam Ramesh. It says 65% of India’s poor live in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in 2011-12, a significant increase from 50% in 1993-94.

More recent news indicates that the crisis is continuing unabated. About two-thirds of the farmer suicides are being reported from 5 states: Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Other states are not immune. Indian Punjab has seen nearly 7000 farmers kill themselves in the last decade. Gujarat, the home of BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, reported 60 farmer suicides in 2012-13.

A report by Center for Human Rights and Global Justice blames failures of biotech crops, particularly Bt cotton, for the tragedy. The report also says inadequate policy responses are contributing to the crisis. Others believe it is caused by poor irrigation. They say that cotton requires a lot more water relative to other crops. It takes 25,000 liters of water to produce one kilo of cotton, about 50 times more than to grow a kilo of potatoes, according to a report in Forbes magazine.

The problem of suicides appears to be at least in part due to the fact that India's value added agriculture continues be among the lowest in the world. Unlike India, Pakistan managed to significantly raise agriculture productivity and rural incomes in 1980s through a livestock revolution. Economic activity in dairy, meat and poultry sectors now accounts for just over 50% of the nation's total agricultural output. The result is that per capita value added to agriculture in Pakistan is almost twice as much as that in Bangladesh and India.

Adding value is the process of changing or transforming a product from its original state to a more valuable state, according to Professor Mike Boland of Kansas State University. The professor explains how it applies to agriculture as follows:

"Many raw commodities have intrinsic value in their original state. For example, field corn grown, harvested and stored on a farm and then fed to livestock on that farm has value. In fact, value usually is added by feeding it to an animal, which transforms the corn into animal protein or meat. The value of a changed product is added value, such as processing wheat into flour. It is important to identify the value-added activities that will support the necessary investment in research, processing and marketing. The application of biotechnology, the engineering of food from raw products to the consumers and the restructuring of the distribution system to and from the producer all provide opportunities for adding value."

Although Pakistan's value added to agriculture is high for its region, it has been essentially flat since mid-1990s. It also lags significantly behind developing countries in other parts of the world. For example, per capita worker productivity in North Africa and the Middle East is more than twice that of Pakistan while in Latin America it is more than three times higher.

Agriculture Value Added Per Capita in Constant 2000 US$--Source: World Bank
There are lots of opportunities for Pakistan to reach the levels of value addition already achieved in Middle East, North Africa and Latin America.These range from building infrastructure to reduce losses to fuller utilization of animals and crops for producing valuable products.  Value addition through infrastructure development includes storage and transportation facilities for crops, dairy and meat to cut spoilage. Other opportunities to add value include better processing of  sugarcane waste, rice bran, animal hides and bones, hot treatment, grading and packaging of fruits, vegetables and fish, etc.

Agriculture Value Added Per Capita in South Asia, North Africa and Latin America--Source: World Bank
Pakistan's growing middle class has increased demand for dairy, meat and various branded and processed food products. Engro, Nestle, Unilever and other food giants are working with family farms and supermarket chains like Makro, Hyperstar and Metro Cash and Carry to respond to it by setting up modern supply chains.

Growth of value added agriculture in Pakistan has helped the nation's rural economy. It has raised incomes and reduced rural poverty by creating more higher wage jobs. It has had a salutary effect on the lives of the rural poor in terms of their ability to afford better healthcare, nutrition and education. Doing more to promote value added agriculture can accelerate such improvements for the majority of Indians and Pakistanis who engage in agriculture and textiles and still live in rural areas.

Here's a Democracy Now video on Indian farmers' suicides:

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Most Indians and Pakistanis Employed in Agriculture and Textiles

Pakistan Leads South Asia in Value Added Agriculture

Pakistan Among Top Meat and Dairy Consuming Nations

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Comparing Pakistan and Bangladesh

FMCG Boom 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

Musharraf's Economic Legacy

World Bank Report on Rural Poverty in Pakistan

USAID Report on Pakistan Food & Agriculture

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


HopeWins Junior said...

^^RH: "The problem of suicides appears to be at least in part due to the fact that India's value added agriculture continues be among the lowest in the world."

It this statement is true, then, according to the graphs you have shown, Bangladesh must also be facing this problem of 'farmer suicides'.

Can you confirm?

HopeWins Junior said...

Every 1/2 hour.....

A) In India:
1,150 people are born
550 people die
(Presumably, ONE of these was a farmer committing suicide)

Therefore, their population is increasing by 1,200 people each and every hour. If that farmer had not committed suicide, it would have increased by 1,201 each and every hour.

B) In Pakistan:
375 people are born
125 people die
(How many of these are poverty-related suicides?)

Therefore, our population is increasing by 500 people each and every hour.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "It this statement is true, then, according to the graphs you have shown, Bangladesh must also be facing this problem of 'farmer suicides'. Can you confirm?"

No, Bangladesh is not because it has a lot more rain water to grow its rice than Indian farmers do to grow cotton, the wrong crop in drought stricken non-irrigated areas.

In fact the entire country of Bangladesh is one large river delta which makes it prone to periodic flooding.

However, Bangladesh rural poverty levels are very high similar to Indian rural poverty levels.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Therefore, their population is increasing by 1,200 people each and every hour. If that farmer had not committed suicide, it would have increased by 1,201 each and every hour."

It's ludicrous to compare productive farmers suicides with people dying for other causes, including natural deaths.

In fact, WHO data shows that India's premature death rates are among the highest in the world while those in Pakistan lie somewhere in the middle in spite of recent violence.

Anonymous said...

Please see this link about pakistan's future by Finance Minister.

Imran said...

It's very common. Indian Punjab is the bread basket of the country contributing more then any other region. This is why many Sikh;s want independence, they realise how the Indian union is holding them back. As for other parts of the country where suicides are common I am afraid there is no solution for them for the time being.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent story about India's declining farmer population:

Drought, urbanization, suicides and other factors are contributing to India’s dwindling population of farmers – once regarded as the very heart and soul of India’s society and economy.

According to census data from the Indian government, the number of farmers in the country plunged by 9 million since 2001.

"Cultivators," as the Indian government describes farmers, now total some 119 million, making them the second-largest group in the workforce in absolute numbers, but representing just below 25 percent of the total number of workers, down from about one-third in 2001.

While the number of “cultivators” has been decreasing, there are actually now more agricultural laborers (that is, people who work on farms but do not own the land) – numbering some 144 million, or 30 percent of the total workforce, up from 26.5 percent in 2001.

"The rise in agricultural labor could be explained by the falling size of land-holdings over time," Census Commissioner C. Chandramouli said, according to The Times of India.

P. Sainath, an expert on Indian rural affairs, suggests that the decline in Indian farmers is a national tragedy.

Writing in The Hindu newspaper, Sainath notes that India is losing more than 2,000 farmers every single day and that since 1991, the overall number of farmers has dropped by 15 million.

Part of this reduction in the number of farmers has to do with an epidemic of suicides by rural cultivators trapped in enormous amounts of debt.

"We have been undergoing the largest catastrophe of our independent history — the suicides of nearly a quarter of a million farmers since 1995,” Sainath said at a lecture at the Institute of Development Studies in Kolkata.

“We are talking of the largest recorded rate of suicides in human history.”

The India Tribune estimated that an Indian farmer kills himself every 12 hours. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), between 1995 and 2009, more than a quarter-million farmers committed suicide.

In 2009 alone, more than 17,000 farmers committed suicide just in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

Some experts believe the actual number of farmer suicides is much higher than official data indicates.

“The official statistics in India rely on the National Crime Records Bureau -- basically what are police reports of suicide," said Professor Prabhat Jha of the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto, according to BBC.
“Even now, 60 years after the British left, 70 percent of India’s farmland depends on the monsoon,” Das said.

“That means if the monsoon fails and rains fail, there is drought and the government has not invested enough in water irrigation facilities.”

Further, Professor Jha points out that the practice of suicide is spreading across the breadth of Indian society, particularly among the young.

“While suicide in farmers is certainly an important [phenomenon], if we’re concerned about suicide we need to look at the bigger picture,” he said, according to the Post.

“The main story of suicide in India is not of farmers, it is of young people, between the ages of 15 to 29, who are taking their lives. So the dominant headline I think really is, why are so many young Indians killing themselves?”

Indeed, Jha noted that the rate of suicide among Indian agricultural workers and farmers amounts to about 7 deaths per 100,000 people, while the overall suicide rate in India is more than double that amount.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's hedge fund manager Jim Rigers on India as reported by LiveMint:

Singapore: Hedge fund manager Jim Rogers has always been an India bear and a critic of the policies of the Indian government. The chairman of Rogers Holding who moved to Singapore in 2007 because he believes the centre of the world is moving to Asia, lashes out in an interview at both national political parties and dismisses Goldman Sachs’ recent report on how it was turning bullish on India because of the possibility that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Narendra Modi could be the country’s next prime minister. “I won’t invest in India” till the country opens up more, said Rogers. Edited extracts:
What do you think of the whole controversy regarding the Goldman Sachs report titled “Modi-fying our view: raise India to Marketweight”. Do you agree with what the brokerage firm said on change?
Firstly, India has been badly managed for the past 60 years. I am not talking about just the two main parties in India—get rid of all the politicians. Who knows as to who is the worse between the ruling party and the opposition. Both Congress and BJP have not been and will not be good for India, until they completely open its economy and catch on to how the world really works. India will continue to suffer—I am not saying that the opposition will be better. Everybody who has had anything to do with running India in the past so many years have failed India.
Now, it is a different issue if Goldman Sachs be allowed to comment. If they can’t comment, then can newspapers from outside (India) be allowed to comment? What Indian politicians are saying if you criticize is that you can’t comment if you are an outsider. That is one of the problems for India, and this is why India has been a disaster for so long. It keeps fouling up—telling anybody they cannot criticize or comment is a terrible, terrible mistake for India. Does that mean only Indian media can comment on what is happening there? Are politicians trying to say you can’t comment unless you agree with what they say? I find India’s reaction to the Goldman Sachs report ludicrous. I’m no fan of Goldman Sachs, but India’s reaction to the report is embarrassing. Indians should be embarrassed to have politicians who react like that to a report.
Has the BJP said or done anything revolutionary, or said anything different? They say we like business people better than Congress, but can they do anything other than making some cosmetic changes? Yes, if they (BJP) win, Goldman Sachs will be happy; they can buy stocks and markets will go up. But a year later everyone will look around and say that nothing has changed. It will still be impossible to do business in India unless you are in bed with politicians and bureaucrats. It will still be impossible for people to buy and sell currencies the way they want to…. I can buy gold nearly anywhere in the world, but not in India because I am foreigner. What kind of garbage is that?...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Forbes piece on Goldman Sachs's report on "Modi-fying India":

Global investment firm Goldman Sachs probably didn’t think it would be accused of meddling in India’s domestic politics when it upgraded its view on India. But with national elections due within a few months, it made the mistake of attributing some of its positive sentiment to the leading opposition party candidate.

In its latest report on India earlier this week, Goldman Sachs said it was “Modi-fying our view: raise India to market weight.”

The ‘Modi-fying” was a clear play on the name of Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the main opposition party to the ruling Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance.

The report said:

“Equity investors tend to view the BJP as business-friendly, and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi (the current chief minister of Gujarat) as an agent of change. Current polls show Mr. Modi and the BJP as faring well in the five upcoming state elections, which are considered lead indicators for the general election next year.”

A smarter thing for Minister Sharma would’ve been to cite the rest of the reasons that Goldman Sachs listed in its report for raising its investment case on India–a variety of measures taken by the current government and India’s central bank in the past few months and that are finally beginning to bear fruit, making India a better investment case.

Specifically, the report says:

BJP and Mr. Modi, in particular, have been focussed on infrastructure and capital spending in the past and a BJP-led government may be beneficial for the investment demand pick up, in our view.
the central bank (RBI) has taken various measures to relieve immediate pressure on the current account and encouraged capital flows which have helped arrest [rupee] weakness
Some of the key data points and lead indicators related to investment demand have started to show signs of pick up. The decline in new project starts in industrial and infrastructure projects seem to have halted in 2QFY14, although project starts still remain at low levels. We are also seeing early signs that fewer new projects have stalled – an indication that we may be close to a trough in the investment cycle given recent policy initiatives from the government and new approvals coming through in power and road projects.
Over the last month, earnings sentiment has improved significantly… with early signs of pick up in investment demand.
Foreign inflows into Indian equities have remained strong this year despite the excessive volatility and sell-off in emerging markets…. While FII flows have been strong and “sticky”, which has been supportive of the rally in equities, domestic institutions have been net sellers of equities…. If the recent rally and optimism regarding leadership change stem the redemption flow, the equity demand/supply balance could shift more favorably.
As elections loom closer and turnouts at Modi’s rallies easily outstripping those at Congress rallies, was Minister Sharma’s outburst a sign of panic? He would’ve better served his party by just holding up the report and taking some credit.

Gp65 said...

Reducing number of Indian farmers does not present a problem as long as agri production is not reducing. It is in fact desirable that people move from being small time cultivators to working in industry.

What you refer to as positive I.e. so called value addition in form of greater animal husbandry has a different way of being looked at also. As mentioned by. Vinod Khosla, meat production requires he most amount of land and a disproportionate amount of other resources. 1 kg of red meat requires 7.6 kilos of grains and more than 6800 litres of waters as well as 4.4 mega jokes of energy to produce.

If you think that Pakistan's 'leadership in this area in a region that is water stressed, energy starved and has many food insecure people is something to boast about - fine. Clearly there are other viewpoints that differ from yours.
having said that, the problem of farmer suicide is a real problem and it arises due to agricultural indebtedness. India policymakers are working on addressing the issue and the there is a significant downward trend.

Simply because Pakistan does not measure such things and in fact has not even had a census since 1998 does not mean Pakistan does not have problem with suicides.

Until recently you used to make a big deal about open defecation in India which is widely reported within India and has attention of policymakers, turns out Pakistan also has a serious problem - simply that it is not widely reported and does not have the attention of policymakers,

Riaz Haq said...

GP65: "Reducing number of Indian farmers does not present a problem as long as agri production is not reducing."

This statement would only make sense if there was significant rise in ag productivity which is not the case in India.

GP65: "Vinod Khosla, meat production requires he most amount of land and a disproportionate amount of other resources"

That's the usual vegetarian argument. What it ignores is the fact that livestock economy is a lot more than meat production. It also includes dairy and poultry which are very important sources of protein for humans.

GP65: "Simply because Pakistan does not measure such things and in fact has not even had a census since 1998 does not mean Pakistan does not have problem with suicides."

All anecdotal evidence and data from independent sources shows Pakistan has very low rates of suicide. When suicides do occur, Pakistani media covers them extensively.

Pakistan's overall pre-mature death rate is much lower than India's, according to WHO data.

GP65: " Until recently you used to make a big deal about open defecation in India which is widely reported within India and has attention of policymakers, turns out Pakistan also has a serious problem - simply that it is not widely reported and does not have the attention of policymakers"

Such data is widely available and reported ad it shows Pakistan's open defecation problem is not nearly as big as India's. And the reason for it is the success of CLTS (community-led total sanitation) campaign in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts from a recent book "Street Smarts" by Hedge Fund Manager Jim Rogers:

"Many Asians say that the Asian Way is first to open your economy, to bring prosperity to your country, and then, only after that, to open up your political system. They say thar the reason the Russians failed is that did it the other way around. Russia opened up its political system in the absence of a sound economy, everybody bitched and complained, and chaos inevitably ensued. As an example of the Asian path to political openness, they point to South Korea and Taiwan, both of which were once vicious dictatorships supported by the United States. Japan was at one time a one-party state supported by the US military. Singapore achieved its current status under one-party, authoritarian rule. All these countries have since become more prosperous and more open.

Palto,in The Republic, says that the way societies evolve is by going from dictatorship to oligarchy to democracy to chaos and back to dictatorship. It has a certain logic, and Plato was a very smart guy. I do not know if the Asians ever read The Republic, but the Asian way seems to suggest that Plato knew whereof he spoke."

Not only is the Asian model different from that of the Soviets, it stands China in marked contrast to those thirty-year dictatorships previously mentioned. Chinese leaders have put a high premium upon changing the country's economy, presumably to seek prosperity for the 1.3 people who live there."
"And yet,in 1947, when it achieved independence, India was one of the more successful countries in the world, a democratic country. But despite democracy, or maybe because of it, India has never lived up to its potential. China was a shambles as recently as 1980. India was far ahead of it. Bt since then China has left India, literally in the dust....As China rises, India continues to decline relatively. Its dent-to-GDP ratio is now 90 percent, making a strong growth rate virtually impossible."

Anonymous said...

And yet,in 1947, when it achieved independence, India was one of the more successful countries in the world, a democratic country. But despite democracy, or maybe because of it, India has never lived up to its potential. China was a shambles as recently as 1980. India was far ahead of it. Bt since then China has left India, literally in the dust....As China rises, India continues to decline relatively. Its dent-to-GDP ratio is now 90 percent, making a strong growth rate virtually impossibl

Jim Rogers is a tax dodging idiot symptomatic of the breed of over confident idiots who wrecked the world economy in 2008.

'India one of the most successful countries in the world in 1947??'

Are f**king kidding me?

No food self industrial base civil war raging.literacy of around 10%..

Though dwarfed by China India is a far better place now than in 1947 and should kicking and screaming become a second world country(per capita usd 10K(nominal),full literacy,70% urbanized) in the 2025-30 time frame. The population size will inevitably lead to economic superpowerhood...behind the US and China but far larger than any other country.

'China was a shambles as recently as 1980.

Again incorrect China overtook India in ALL major HDI indicators literacy,access to basic health care ,military might in this 1947-80 period obviously they did somethng right?The social capital that led to the growth of the next 30 years and still continuing was done in this period.

Riaz Haq said...

HUMANDEVELOPMENTINDEX. Pak better than India on poverty. WORRISOME India ranks lower than Pak on gender equality too. Chetan Chauhan.

Anonymous said...

Latha Reddy Musukula was making tea on a recent morning when she spotted the money lenders walking down the dirt path toward her house. They came in a phalanx of 15 men, by her estimate. She knew their faces, because they had walked down the path before.

After each visit, her husband, a farmer named Veera Reddy, sank deeper into silence, frozen by some terror he would not explain. Three times he cut his wrists. He tied a noose to a tree, relenting when the family surrounded him, weeping. In the end he waited until Ms. Musukula stepped out, and then he hanged himself from a pipe supporting their roof, leaving a careful list of each debt he owed to each money lender. She learned the full sum then: 400,000 rupees, or $6,430.

A current of dread runs through this farmland, where women in jewel-colored saris bend their backs over watery terraces of rice. In Andhra Pradesh, the southern state where Ms. Musukula lives, the suicide rate among farmers is nearly three times the national average; since 1995, the number of suicides by India’s farmers has passed 290,000, according to the national crime records bureau, though the statistics do not specify the reason for the act.

India’s small farmers, once the country’s economic backbone and most reliable vote bank, are increasingly being left behind. With global competition and rising costs cutting into their lean profits, their ranks are dwindling, as is their contribution to the gross domestic product. If rural voters once made their plight into front-page news around election time, this year the large parties are jockeying for the votes of the urban middle class, and the farmers’ voices are all but silent.

Even death is a stopgap solution, when farmers like Mr. Reddy take their own lives, their debts pass from husband to widow, from father to children. Ms. Musukula is now trying to scrape a living from the four acres that defeated her husband. Around her she sees a country transformed by economic growth, full of opportunities to break out of poverty, if only her son or daughter could grasp one.

But the trap that closed on her husband is tightening around her. Like nearly every one of her neighbors, she is locked into a bond with village money lenders — an intimate bond, and sometimes a menacing one. No sooner did they cut her husband’s body down than one of them was in her house, threatening to block the cremation unless she paid.

Her appeals to officials for help have been met with indifference. Lately, her fear has been getting the better of her.

Riaz Haq said...

Five farmers took their lives in Maharashtra in the three days to Monday.

The wave of farmer suicides in the rain-shadow regions of Marathwada and Vidarbha continues unabated despite the new Bharatiya Janata Party government announcing relief measures to combat the agricultural crisis affecting more than 19,000 villages in the State.

Three consecutive years of drought and unseasonable rain have broken the spirit of farmers.

Reports say changing weather patterns, mounting indebtedness and poor crop yield are driving farmers to suicide.

Tulsidas Madalwad, a minor farmer, electrocuted himself at Kakandi village in Nanded district unable to pay off the debts accumulated over multiple bad harvests on his two-acre farm. “He returned from his field and electrocuted himself by stringing wires to his feet around 10 a.m. When his wife and little daughter came with food, they found him charred to death,” a villager said.

Madalwad was devastated by the destruction of his soya bean crop and was worried about repaying more than Rs. 1 lakh to banks and local moneylenders, the people said.

In the neighbouring Latur district, Sangram Bemde, 46, another marginal farmer, immolated himself on Monday after his cotton crop failed for the third consecutive year, traumatising his family and relatives.

Kashiram Indore, 76, built a pyre and jumped into it on Friday following the poor soya bean yield from his one-acre farm at Manarkhed in Akola. Indore was despondent as just a quintal and a half of soya bean could be harvested this year.

The Javadekar family of Javda in Buldhana is facing the grimmest winter after their only son, Shivshankar, 24, hanged himself on Saturday evening as he could not repay the Rs. 60,000 loan his family took after their two-acre farm faced consecutive years of drought.

Family members said Shivshankar was aspiring to pursue higher education. Another farmer too committed suicide in the district.

Riaz Haq said...

Nestle Pakistan Ltd., a unit of the world’s biggest food company, has started selling pasteurized fresh milk in a pilot project as it seeks to develop a new segment in the South Asian country’s $23 billion dairy market.
The company has been delivering plastic pouches of milk to 100 homes in Lahore for the past three months on motorbikes and three-wheeler taxis.
“It’s like when we started with our water gallons 20 years ago, which started with delivery to offices and households, it starts small and then spreads,” Nestle Pakistan Chief Executive Officer Magdi Batato, 56, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Lahore. “There is a potential, but it’s still niche in my view.”
Nestle wants to diversify in the world’s fifth-largest milk market, where 95 percent of dairy products sold are unprocessed with people buying the liquid raw and then boiling it. Companies already sell milk in ultra-high temperature form that has a longer shelf amid long hours of energy outages in the blackout-prone nation.
Pakistan’s dairy industry has a value of about 2.3 trillion rupees ($23 billion) a year, according to Zoya Ahmed Zaidi, an analyst at AKD Securities in Karachi. She projects the sector will increase in value by about 10 percent over the next five years.
‘Right Direction’
Engro Foods Ltd., a Pakistani dairy and juice company, discontinued branded shop sales of fresh, pasteurized milk after about a year in the southern city of Karachi in December. The company was hampered by the city’s frequent power outages, said Nauman Khan, research head at Foundation Securities.
Nestle is “going in the right direction as demand is rising for branded products with the upper-middle class becoming more hygiene-conscious.” Amreen Soorani, an analyst at Karachi-based JS Global Capital, said by phone. Home delivery “is more convenient and makes it more accessible.”
Pakistan’s sale of processed drinking milk products are projected to have more than double in the past five years to 134.6 billion rupees in 2014, and are forecast to reach 203 billion rupees by 2019, according to Euromonitor International.
Batato said he expects the Pakistani processed milk market to grow to 7 percent or 8 percent in five years. “It won’t be a step change like Turkey.''
Turkey gave farmers incentives to sell milk to documented processing companies as part of its efforts to join the European Union, which boosted the share of the pasteurized-milk sector to 70 percent from 10 percent, according to Batato.
Pakistan’s middle class more than doubled to 84 million in 2002-2011, bringing almost half the nation into that segment for the first time, according to a study by Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani, a professor at the Karachi School for Business and Leadership, published last year.
Full Capacity
Nestle started its Pakistani operations in 1988 in a joint venture with Milk Pak Ltd. before taking over management of that company four years later, according to company’s website. About 80 percent of revenue is generated from milk and nutrition products including baby formula and cerelac, while the rest comes from water and beverages, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The company’s powdered milk plants in Pakistan are running at ‘‘full capacity,” Batato said. “We are taking every single drop. There is an opportunity to import tactically a bit, but this is not our business model.”

Anonymous said...

A farmer from the northern state of Rajasthan committed suicide during a rally organized by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP - anti-corruption party) in New Delhi on Wednesday (Indian Express, Economic Times). The farmer used a towel to hang himself off a tree, and also left a note stating that his crops had been destroyed by the weather. New Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal was present at the rally to protest the land acquisition bill introduced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government. Opposition parties have united to oppose the land acquisition bill, stating that the bill will force farmers and the poor to lose their lands. In 2014, the government used an executive order to amend the land acquisition bill and facilitate the buying of land for industrial projects. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh ordered a probe into the suicide and expressed his grief over the suicide.

Riaz Haq said...

INDIA’S monsoon is one of the world’s most important weather events. About half of the country's population—that is, 600m people—depend directly on the rain it bears. The monsoon sweeps northward across the subcontinent, bringing moist air from the south and south-west Indian Ocean. As it hits the land, and especially as it rises towards the Himalayas, it dumps its cargo of water, producing about three quarters of India’s total rainfall between June and September. Two-thirds of Indian agriculture is still fed by this rain, rather than by irrigation, which means India’s harvest depends on it. When the monsoon fails, as it has done this year, millions suffer. Crops wilt or fail altogether, farm land dries up, reservoirs, already too-small, run low, and winter crops (which are mostly irrigated) are imperilled. In some places this year, a lack of rain has led to shortages of drinking water.

Like all weather patterns, the monsoon is erratic. Four years in ten count as abnormal. But this year—in which total rainfall is 14% below the 50-year-average between June and September—is exceptional. Droughts of this sort happens about once every 18 years. There is also extreme variation within the variation. Some parts of the country, the western state of Gujarat for example, have seen higher-than-normal rainfall. Others, especially in the north and the eastern coast, have had precipitation that is 40% below average.

Climate change seems to be making the variations more extreme. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international group of scientists who advise governments on global warming, has warned that because of climate change monsoon rainfall extremes are likely to increase. But exactly why this should so be is up for debate. No one yet fully understands the link between the monsoon and El Niño, a warming of the waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. Over the past century, most climate scientists have argued that a strong El Niño is associated with a weak monsoon because, as the Pacific warms, the air rises and comes down again over the subcontinent, driven by prevailing wind patterns. This descending warmer air is associated with higher pressure, less moisture and a weaker monsoon. The current El Niño is the strongest since 1997 and 1998, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, and will be at its most powerful at the end of the year.

During the 1980s and 1990s, however, this link seemed to be broken. The year 1997 saw one of the strongest El Niños on record, but a normal monsoon. Balaji Rajagopalan of the University of Colorado, Boulder, argues that the puzzle can be explained by looking at which part of the Pacific warms up during an El Niño. If the eastern waters warm, the air comes down again over Indonesia and South East Asia, which tend to be drier than normal. But this may not affect India. If the central Pacific warms, the high pressure tends to form over India and the monsoon fails. If Professor Rajagopalan is right, this year’s El Niño is getting stronger in the central Pacific than in the east. The Indian Meteorological Department is hoping to incorporate this information into its monsoon forecasting system.

Riaz Haq said...

University of #California #Davis, #Pakistan launch $17M food,agriculture Center For Advanced Studies at #Faisalabad …

The launch of a $17 million collaborative project linking UC Davis and Pakistan’s leading agricultural university was celebrated today at UCD, which will receive $10 million of the funds.

The new U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Agriculture and Food Security, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, will make it possible for faculty members and graduate students from both countries to study and do research at each other’s campuses. The project also is designed to update curriculum and technical resources at Pakistan’s University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

Present for today’s ceremonial launch were dignitaries from Pakistan, USAID and UCD.

“UC Davis has been partnering with colleagues in Pakistan since 2009, sharing expertise in agriculture from crop production to post-harvest handling,” said James Hill, associate dean emeritus of International Programs for the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UCD.

“Establishment of this new center will allow us to build on those efforts, with a renewed emphasis on an exchange of faculty and graduate students,” he said.

During its first year of funding, the center will plan several workshops to assist the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, with technology transfer and entrepreneurship to strengthen its connections to the private sector. UCD also will initiate programs in both research and curriculum development to improve graduate studies.

Hill noted that two other Pakistan-focused projects are already underway through the International Programs office, primarily in the area of horticultural crops and agricultural extension activities.

Agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy, providing jobs for half of that country’s labor force. Some of the traditionally important crops in Pakistan are wheat, cotton, rice, sugar cane and maize. In recent years, crops like beans, peas, lentils, onions, potatoes, chilies and tomatoes also have increased in importance, along with fruit crops such as citrus and mangoes.

The newly funded center at UCD is the most recent of several partnerships of the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies, a $127 million investment from USAID, linking universities in the two countries and using applied research to solve Pakistan’s challenges in energy, water and food security.

The overall program includes construction of laboratories, research facilities and libraries in Pakistan. Other participating U.S. universities include the University of Utah and Arizona State University, focusing on water and energy, respectively.

Riaz Haq said...

#MIT and #Harvard Graduates Helping #Pakistan Farmers Make Big Money!

Ricult is an endeavor by a US-based start-up founded by 4 MIT and 1 Harvard graduates. They help smallholder farmers (< 10 acres holding) reduce information asymmetry and work their way out of poverty to become more impactful economic actors. At the heart of their concept is a virtual marketplace which allows farmers to procure agriculture inputs (seed, fertilizers, pesticides etc.), access interest-free/low interest based loans transparently and sell their produce directly to buyers (processing plants, corporate organizations etc.) directly from the Ricult marketplace.


Usman Javaid, (CEO) is an MIT alumnus with 15 years of experience in Telecom, Mobile Banking, Mobile Agriculture in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Jonathan Stoller, the CTO pursued his Masters in Computer Science from MIT and worked for 4 years with Google, Microsoft, Dow Jones. Aukrit Unahalekhaka handles the product at Ricult is also an MIT alumnus belongs to a family of farmers in Thailand. He worked with Accenture & Cisco in the US before taking the entrepreneurial plunge. Philip Huppe who takes care of Social Development is a Harvard alumnus. He worked with World Relief, Palo Alto Networks, and Accenture before joining hands with MIT alumni to start-up!


Their first pilot for 400 farmers is underway in Kasur area of Pakistan, where they have signed up leading agriculture organizations to supply products on the Ricult Marketplace. “The idea is to validate certain hypotheses regarding technology adoption, impact on farm profitability, technology sustainability and the reaction of local middlemen. Based on the results of the pilot, we plan to commercially launch in Pakistan, followed by China, Thailand, and Slovenia,” says the Harvard graduate.

The marketplace connects farmers to farm input sellers; farm produce buyers, bank creditors, insurers, vetinary services, farm advisory services and everything that can help them have better farming results. “But this is not just a marketplace for farmers. We believe in building strong relationships with our local farmers and ensuring that they have easy access to bigger markets, quality products, enhanced profitability and hence a better future,” says Usman.
We asked the founders if they doubted what they were doing, and they said, “Oh yes, many times you have doubts about what you are doing. Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster of emotions – it’s not for the weak hearted nor is it for the people who are impatient for results. You have to bide your time, one step at a time and take each day as it comes.”

All the co-founders started up with a passion for solving difficult social problems through the use of technology. “This is how all of us came together and this is what binds us as a team. We like solving hard but real problems that would make the world a better place,” says Usman. They are partnering with various multinational and local organizations to facilitate the growth of Ricult. Currently a team of 10 people, the start-up is not funded.

As a message for future entrepreneurs, Jonathan says, “Live your passion and your dreams. Be focused and consistent, and you will reach your destination.”