Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pakistan Leads South Asia in Agriculture Value Addition

Livestock revolution enabled Pakistan to significantly raise agriculture productivity and rural incomes in 1980s. 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 Pakistanis who engage in agriculture and textiles and still live in rural areas.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Most Indians and Pakistanis Employed in Agriculture and Textiles

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

19 comments:

Naveen said...

Wrong. Its Maldives.
that leads South Asia by miles.

Riaz Haq said...

Naveen: "Wrong. Its Maldives.
that leads South Asia by miles."

Yes, Maldives is an outlier in value added agriculture. But it's a tiny island nation(just $2b gdp) compared to big South Asian nations.

Anonymous said...

Are there only 3 countries in South Asia?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Are there only 3 countries in South Asia?"

India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the three largest countries in South Asia. Others are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Only Maldives has higher value added agriculture than Pakistan but it's a tiny island nation with gdp of just $2 billion.

HopeWins Junior said...

Agricultural output in South-Asia has been directly linked to the massive increase in irrigation of Greater Punjab that was generously financed by the US in the 60s (the Bread Basket theory).

So you should compare Indian Punjab to our Punjab. That would give you a better idea of how the two sides are doing.

Our Punjab is 60% of our 180M population. Their Punjab is only 4% of their 1200M population. So comparing India to our country in agricultural output makes little sense.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "So you should compare Indian Punjab to our Punjab. That would give you a better idea of how the two sides are doing."

Do you have value added agriculture figures for Indian Punjab. Please do share if you do.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a book review of "How Asia Works" by Amb Maleeha Lodhi published in The News:

An important new book explains why some countries have become economic tigers in East Asia while others are relative failures or paper tigers. ‘How Asia Works’ by Joe Studwell is a bold and insightful work that is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the ingredients for economic success in this continent.

It challenges much conventional wisdom in the development debate. Most significantly the book questions key tenets of the so-called Washington consensus, which prescribes free market ‘solutions’ for all economies regardless of their level of development. Studwell establishes that a nation’s development destiny is shaped most decisively by government action and policies. History, writes the author, shows that markets are created, shaped and re-shaped by political power.

---------------

At the very outset, Studwell identifies three critical interventions that successful east-Asian countries and China (after 1978) employed to achieve accelerated economic development. The first, “often ignored”, and now “off the political agenda” in developing countries, is land reform. This restructured agriculture into highly labour-intensive household farming. In the early phase of development, with the necessary institutional support, this helped to generate a surplus, create markets and unlock great social mobility.

The second intervention, as countries cannot sustain growth only on agriculture and must transition to the next phase, is to direct entrepreneurs and investment to industrial manufacturing. Manufacturing allows for trade and technology learning. And trade, says the author, is essential for rapid economic development. Studwell then demonstrates – while challenging the champions of free trade – how nurturing and protection, along with instituting “export discipline”, builds the capacity to compete globally. Manufacturing policy is a key determinant of success he says, as an infant industry strategy offers the quickest route to restructuring the economy towards more value-added activities.

Holding that development is quintessentially a political undertaking, the author sees the relationship between the state and private entrepreneurs as a critical variable. History, he writes, teaches that governments should not run everything themselves. But governments have to use their power and the right policy tools to make private entrepreneurs do what industrial development requires.

The third intervention necessary for accelerated development is in the financial sector, aimed at directing capital initially to intensive, small scale agriculture and to manufacturing rather than services. Studwell argues persuasively that it was the close alignment of finance with agriculture and industrial policy objectives that produced north-east Asia’s economic success.

Detailing the role of financial policy, he illustrates how premature bank deregulation exacted a high price in Thailand and Indonesia. China, on the other hand, and other north-east Asian countries resisted that, instead using financial management to serve development needs and an accelerated economic learning process.



http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-211468-Asian-tigers-and-paper-tigers

Anonymous said...

Riaz, India may well be facing huge problems in its agricultural production. Education has made agricultural work unattractive for many rural youth. Tracts of fertile land are untended due to very high labor costs; the threat of usurpation if land is leased out to tenants. Lots of agricultural land is left untended with the view to selling it to real estate developers.
Unplanned urban and industrial expansion into fertile agro zones - as in Mumbai and Bengaluru (Bangalore) for example, has seen the loss of thousands of hectares of paddy fields, coconut and mango groves, for example.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Education has made agricultural work unattractive for many rural youth. Tracts of fertile land are untended due to very high labor costs"

Agriculture and textiles are the largest employers in both India and Pakistan.

About 60% of India's and 42% of Pakistan's labor force are engaged in agriculture, according to World Bank.

About 60% of India's workforce is in agriculture. Textile industry is the second biggest employer, accounting for a fifth of India’s exports, and employs almost 10 percent of India’s workforce, or some 35 million people, and has the potential to add another 12 million new jobs --dwarfing the 1-2 million jobs created by the much-heralded IT and BPO sector, according to a World Bank report.

Agriculture in Pakistan accounts for 19.4% of GDP and 42% of labor force, followed by services providing 53.4% of GDP and 38% employment, with the remainder 27.2% of GDP and 20% workers in manufacturing sector. Over half of Pakistan's manufacturing jobs are in the textile sector, making it the second biggest employer after agriculture.

The dire situation in India's agriculture sector has been epitomized by over 200,000 farmers' suicides in the last decade. And the rising Indian rupee is now hurting India's textile sector by making its exports more expensive in the world market.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2010/10/agriculture-andtextiles-employ-most.html

Anonymous said...

And the rising Indian rupee is now hurting India's textile sector by making its exports more expensive in the world market.

A bit out of date.The rupee is currently near alltime lows 63 to the USD and exports are booming.

PAkistan OTOH has not had an export boom with its much less valued PKR .Why is that?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "PAkistan OTOH has not had an export boom with its much less valued PKR .Why is that?"

Indian exports boom has helped only a small fraction of India's population employed in IT and manufacturing sector.

http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/economics/what-are-the-different-compositions-of-exports/2685/

Most of the Indian exports increase has been in non-textile sectors which employ a lot fewer people than textiles.

Pakistani exports have more than tripled from $8.5 billion in 2000 to $26 billion in 2012.

http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=pk&v=85

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Riaz, India may well be facing huge problems in its agricultural production. Education has made agricultural work unattractive for many rural youth. Tracts of fertile land are untended due to very high labor costs; the threat of usurpation if land is leased out to tenants. Lots of agricultural land is left untended with the view to selling it to real estate developers.
Unplanned urban and industrial expansion into fertile agro zones - as in Mumbai and Bengaluru (Bangalore) for example, has seen the loss of thousands of hectares of paddy fields, coconut and mango groves, for example.

November 16, 2013 at 12:23 AM
---------------------------------

And India also faces an alarming reduction in freshwater supplies.
Sewage discharge into rivers and the dumping of industrial effluents into same even by so called blue chip companies.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on educating Pakistani workers on value added agriculture:

The scope of corporate farming in Pakistan is growing, showing even greater potential for this sector in the coming years, mainly due to product diversification from many local and multinationals in food, beverages and dairy segments. But are the human resources of Pakistan related to this particular sector ready to convert threats in to opportunities, in terms of technology, innovation, researches.
For local companies and corporate farmers, finding such human resources might be a little tough, unlike multinationals which can rely on the transfer of knowledge from their global headquarters. Take for example the recent diversifications in the juices and dairy sectors in the past few years, from local and multinational consumer goods and food companies. Although these companies are now making profits, they are perturbed by the increasing gap of knowledge and human resources.
A few universities and government/NGO-supported institutions are working in this sector, providing basic and slightly advanced education and field training to students and farmers.
“There are basically two groups at the business level in this sector, corporate farmers who don’t know how to improve productivity and make greater financial gains; and those who know about business but don’t know much about practical farming,” said Magdi Batato, Nestle Pakistan’s Managing Director, while talking with The Express Tribune. Pakistan as an agrarian economy needs to develop a class of professionals educated and trained in the relevant discipline, he added.
One such initiative however has already been taken by Lahore university of Management Sciences (Lums) with collaborations of Nestle Pakistan. Economic development, poverty alleviation, enhancing productivity, managing supply chain issues, and research for further innovations through agribusiness is what the market wants. The success of the initiative taken by Lums and Nestle might force other business schools to introduce similar or more up to date courses.
“Such courses/certifications will have a cascading effect on the market as more entrepreneurs will be formed which will deliver much better then now”, said Doctor Arif Nazir Butt, Dean Suleman Dawood School of Business, Lums.
Companies related to dairy segments like Nestle, Engro Foods, Haleeb Foods are all contributing positively in rural economy by involving local dairy farmers in their network. Many locals have started successful modern dairy farming, JDW dairies among which is a prominent example.
Companies have now started projects of modern orchard farms for their survival. This once again is providing opportunities for locals to start modern orchard and tunnel farming. This portfolio would benefit low line farmers in future in terms of technical assistance, education, innovation, though the high price factor which the end consumer will pay to buy such products, as in case of dairy segment, is another story.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/663433/agri-business-educating-executives-key-towards-growth/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on growth of beekeeping industry in Pakistan's Potohar region:

Battered by erratic weather patterns with decreasing and delayed rainfall, thousands of farmers in Pakistan’s northeast Potohar plateau are moving to beekeeping as an alternative source of livelihood that is less vulnerable to climate change.

A single flood, no or deficient rain in one cropping season, or lack of water in the river system due to delayed glacial melt can ruin farmers’ livelihoods. “However, training farmers in alternative climate-resilient livelihoods like beekeeping can go a long way in making farming communities resilient to climate change impacts,” said Dr. Zafar Iqbal, former chairperson of the National Disaster Management Authority, in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad.

The fact that many farmers find beekeeping a more profitable alternative and therefore reduce farming or completely shun it has its own impact on food security. But it helped many households survive in Potohar – a sprawling region between the Indus and the Jhelum rivers and stretching up to the foothills of the Himalayas. Around 70 per cent of rain in the region is received between July and August.

“Because of erratic weather patterns and unreliable crop harvests, our income had become irregular and was declining. But the beehives give us regular income,” said Hakim Khan, a beekeeper in Ghool village of Chakwal district, about 90 kilometres southeast of Islamabad.

The district — one of the four in Potohar along with Attock, Rawalpindi and Jhelum – is known for its exportable quality of groundnuts and stretches over 6,500 square kilometres of semi-arid terrain. It has a population of nearly 1.5 million and relies entirely on the rains for cultivation of crops.

It was known as an area for abundant rain. However, the situation has changed over the years. Until 1998, it would receive around 1,200 millometres rainfall annually. This has come down to less than 900 millometres, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.
----------
In this scenario, beekeeping has been a saviour for many families in the area. Hakim Khan from Ghool, for instance, survived the poor harvest by taking to beekeeping. He also continues to grow groundnut.

“The additional income from beekeeping has helped me survive crop losses. I adopted beekeeping three years ago to cover up income losses from the groundnut crop,” Khan said while examining the wooden bee boxes on a plot adjacent to his groundnut field.

He was amongst the lucky ones trained in beekeeping — producing honey, hives and wax — by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) under the Drought Mitigation and Preparedness Project. Farmers in various villages of Chakwal district have also been provided with financial aid.

In a ripple effect, Khan has taught other farmers about beekeeping and its benefits. “I learnt about the economic benefits of less labour and investment (in beekeeping)… Now, more and more farmers are approaching to me to learn about beekeeping,” he told thethirdpole.net.

Citing an example, he said a groundnut farmer-turned-beekeeper who purchased 10 wooden boxes of hives for Pakistani Rs.34,000 (about US$347) three years ago now has 90 boxes worth Pakistani Rs.1,020,000 (about US$10,400).


http://www.eco-business.com/news/pakistans-farmers-counter-climate-change-beekeeping/

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has launched a state-of-the-art system to help farmers calculate their crop losses to extreme weather more accurately and support the government in tackling hunger and malnutrition.

Late last month, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) installed the geospatial crop forecasting system at the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) to improve the quality of agricultural statistics.

Muhammad Bashir, a 45-year-old farmer in the Narowal district of Punjab province, lost 12 acres (4.9 hectares) of his rice crop when it was washed away by flash floods in September.

"Erratic weather and flash floods hit our crops each year but there is no mechanism in place to get early warning and ascertain the exact loss," said Bashir, who owns 73 acres (29.5 hectares) of land.

Growers in flood-prone areas cannot earn enough to cover their outgoings because of regular disasters, and most even fail to repay bank loans due to crop damage, he said by telephone.

"If we get data on our crop yields and weather conditions well in advance, we can prepare a good budget for educating our children," he said. The government should introduce modern technology for the farming business, he suggested.

Pakistan's agriculture sector contributes a fifth of gross domestic product and generates work for just under half the country's labour force, according to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2013-14.

The recent floods damaged standing crops on 978,363 hectares (2.4 million acres) while estimates by government ministries and experts put losses to the economy at $14-15 million.

CHEAPER, BETTER DATA

Faisal Syed, project facilitator at the FAO, said the new geospatial system would help both the government and farmers get accurate and timely data on crop yields and expected losses in the case of natural disasters like floods and droughts.

Under the system, funded by the U.S. government, SUPARCO uses Satellite Remote Sensing (SRS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies to gather crop data.

Satellite imagery is taken twice a year, while field surveys are conducted during two cropping seasons in spring and autumn. SUPARCO then uses statistical models to estimate yields.

"The geospatial system will replace the archaic manual method of crop forecasting and help decrease costs of data collection," said Syed.

The system will initially cover only two provinces of Pakistan: Punjab and Sindh.

Floods wash away standing crops on millions of hectares each year in Pakistan, but the government has always lacked precise data on the damage to crops and yields, Syed added.

"A government cannot formulate cogent policies to address the issues of food security and malnutrition in the affected areas if it doesn't have proper data," he said.

---------

Ibrahim Mughal, chairman of Agri Forum Pakistan, a body representing Pakistani farmers, said the federal and provincial governments set unrealistic targets for crop production each year so as to paint a positive picture of agriculture - which ultimately hurts the interests of growers.

The Crop Reporting Services department should be independent so it can adopt the geospatial system and relay accurate information to farmers free from government influence, he said.

"As long as the officers remain under pressure from the government, they cannot make public real data on the targets set for a crop and the expected yield," he said.

Political will should be focused rather on dealing with food security, malnutrition and erratic weather impacts, he said.

Mughal suggested the Punjab and Sindh governments should send crop data and weather forecasts to farmers each week via mobile phone to maximise the impact of the new system.

http://www.trust.org/item/20141128083628-mk8y3/?source=fiInDepth

Riaz Haq said...

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Phase Two of the American Soybean Association’s (ASA) World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) FEEDing Pakistan program to further develop Pakistan’s aquaculture sector and its use of feeds made from U.S. soy.

The additional one-year of funding allows WISHH to create even more demand for soy-based feeds, building upon the success of local fish farmers as well as private investment by the Pakistani feed industry.

“USDA support of FEEDing Pakistan boosts the growing soy-based feed industry in Pakistan, which has the sixth largest population in the world,” said WISHH Vice Chairman Lucas Heinen, a Kansas soybean grower. “WISHH’s strategy complements the U.S. Soybean Export Council’s work as Pakistan’s poultry industry now buys U.S. soybean meal and processing industry leaders import U.S. soybeans.”

Launched in 2011, WISHH’s FEEDing Pakistan has assisted approximately 2,000 Pakistani fish farmers and helped increase the market value of fish produced—tilapia—from zero at the beginning of the project to an estimated 450 mill rupees ($4.5 million USD) in 2014.

Photo: ASA WISHH’s FEEDing Pakistan project develops Pakistan’s aquaculture sector and its use of feeds made with soy. A 2013 U.S. Department of Agriculture Report projected a 525 percent increase in aquaculture production in Pakistan and a complementary increase in the demand for fish feed between 2012 and 2022.

FEEDing Pakistan tilapia averaged 600 grams per fish–double the weight of traditional Pakistan fish harvests.

“Pakistani fish farmers had never seen such results,” said R.S.N. Janjua, who leads the project as ASA/WISHH Country Representative. “The tilapia received a premium in the local market place and increased enthusiasm for further development of Pakistan’s aquaculture industry with soy-based fish feeds.

“Phase One of FEEDING Pakistan also demonstrated that Pakistan’s fish farmers, academics, private sector, and government officials are ready to help aquaculture fill the protein gap in Pakistan where 44 percent of children under the age of five experience stunting,” Janjua added.

The Kansas Soybean Commission supported WISHH’s Phase One work in Pakistan. Kansas State University conducted training courses on fish feed manufacturing and best management practices. A trainee and co-owner of a Pakistani company learned about potential for growth in the aquaculture industry. As a result, he ordered feed extrusion equipment from Extru-Tech International of Sabetha, Kansas and formally inaugurated Pakistan’s first extruder for the production of floating fish feed in July 2013. USDA’s funding allowed WISHH to ship 25 metric tons of U.S. hi-protein soybean meal, which jump-started the floating fish feed manufacturing.

A 2013 USDA Global Agricultural Information Network report projected a 525 percent increase in aquaculture production in Pakistan and a complementary increase in the demand for fish feed. Aquaculture production would increase from 120,000 tons in 2012 to 750,000 tons in 2022. The demand for fish feed will increase from 210,000 tons to 1.3 million tons, and soybean meal demand from 42,000 tons to 260,000 tons.

Phase Two will allow WISHH to provide additional training to improve feed management and increase feed production as well as feed demand, largely in Punjab and Sindh. Training will reach both large-holder farmers with 20-200 acres of ponds as well as farmers with 1-2 acres. WISHH will also assist the private sector that is interested in expanding feed manufacturing.

http://m.kmaland.com/ag/usda-funds-phase-of-asa-wishh-s-feeding-pakistan/article_ecc5cdb8-1511-11e5-9ddc-ab529a6ab095.html

Riaz Haq said...

#MIT and #Harvard Graduates Helping #Pakistan Farmers Make Big Money! http://pixr8.com/ricult/

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.



Founders

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!



PROCESS STORY:

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.”

Riaz Haq said...

Over 300 #US dairy cows worth $700K exported to #Sialkot #Pakistan by Boeing 747 flight from #Miami on March 1, 2016 http://www.bradenton.com/news/business/article64983542.html …

Renee Strickland opened the door to U.S. cattle exports to Pakistan when she chartered a Boeing 747 and flew with 302 dairy cattle to Sialkot, Pakistan, on March 1.

The long flight was the easy part. It came after five years of frustration, planning, perseverance and negotiation.

"This was a real nail biter. We had three weeks to put this shipment together, and I got my passport at midnight, three hours before the departure to Pakistan," she said.

"It was a pressure-cooker experience," Strickland said, recalling how she brokered the sale and gathered cattle from Okeechobee dairies, north Florida and Kansas.

She could only wrangle those cattle after getting clearance from the U.S. and Pakistani governments, securing a health protocol, overcoming the language barrier and closing the deal with tough negotiators in Pakistan.

"A lot of times, I just kind of thought, my gosh, I am knocking my head against a brick wall," Strickland said.

Even so, Strickland said a lot of people "jumped through hoops to make this happen," citing her partners in Pakistan and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"I have a well-respected partner in Pakistan whose family has been in agriculture for 500 years. He is a gentleman, a good person and well respected," she said.

Dix Harrell of the USDA said the beef export market to Pakistan and many other countries closed after the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as mad cow disease, in the United States.

Mad cow disease can have an incubation period as long as eight years.

"I know that in the last 10 years, the market wasn't really open to us," Harrell said. "After we had our first case, a lot of countries banned live cattle."

Strickland always flies with the cattle she brokers in sales to ensure no animal is hurt or stressed.

"The cattle traveled great and the unloading went smoothly," she said.

She has previously brokered and delivered cattle to Cuba, Oman, Trinidad and Tobago, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Guyana and Ecuador.

Pakistan is an attractive market because, with 182.1 million people, it has one of the world's largest populations. In addition, Pakistan is one of the world's largest dairy producers, ranking fifth globally in milk production.

As recently as 1986, buffalo produced most of the milk in Pakistan. Pakistani dairies, however, have been improving their cattle herds and dairy cows are now the dominant producers.

"We are known to have some of the best milking cattle in the world," Strickland said of the attractiveness of U.S. stock.

The Pakistani deal was valued at about $700,000.

"They are getting one heck of a deal," Strickland said, noting she had to sharpen her pencil in dealing with Pakistani buyers. "We are trying to open up this market. It's the most challenging export I have ever had in so many ways."

Renee Strickland, and her husband, Jim Strickland, are preparing a second airborne delivery of cattle to Pakistan for the first week of April. Jim Strickland will be the one handling escort duties next time.

While in Pakistan, Renee Strickland, an avid polo player, got to visit the Lahore Polo Club.

"I will be sending some polo ponies on my next shipment. Polo is a huge sport in that country," she said.

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/news/business/article64983542.html#storylink=cpy

Riaz Haq said...

PARC approves 16 projects worth Rs1.2bn
http://www.dawn.com/news/1296963/parc-approves-16-projects-worth-rs12bn

The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) has approved 16 research projects with a total budget of Rs1.2 billion for 2016-17.

In addition, the PARC board of governors approved Rs194 million for projects under international cooperation and Rs183m for Agriculture Linkage Programme (ALP).

Talking to Dawn on Thursday, National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) Director General, Dr Mohammad Azeem Khan said a hybrid seed processing plant will be set up at the NARC with a view to provide clean, treated and high quality seeds to farmers.

He said agricultural research facilities are now being extended to tribal agencies, particularly Waziristan.

The Arid Zone Research Institute in Dera Ismail Khan will also be expanded at the same time, he said.

Under a project, pesticides residue analysis laboratories will be set up in all parts of the country. These laboratories will cover food chains, health, and environment and production technology with a view to pursue international standards.

According to Dr Azeem, three projects will be set up in Balochistan covering horticulture and livestock.

The NARC is also developing a mechanism for the establishment of demonstration units of yogurt under public-private partnership (PPP).

The PARC has recently recommended 14 rice hybrids for different ecologies, two wheat varieties: ‘Borlaug 2016’ and ‘Zincol 2016’, two sugarcane varieties: ‘Thatta 2109’ and ‘Thatta 326’, working on commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) crops, and bioremediation on 86 sites full scale wastewater treatment facilities through Pakistan.

The performance of various PARC projects — including mobile veterinary clinic services, feed technology unit, high eggs and meat producing chicks, ostrich breeding facilities, American channel catfish hatchery at NARC, Tilapia hatchery and aqua feed production to promote intensive fish culture in the country — was also reviewed by the board of governors at a meeting.