Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Pakistan Among World's Largest Food Producing Countries

Pakistan's agriculture output is the 10th largest in the world. The country produces large and growing quantities of cereals, meat, milk, fruits and vegetables. Currently, Pakistan produces about 38 million tons of cereals (mainly wheat, rice and corn), 17 million tons of fruits and vegetables, 70 million tons of sugarcane, 60 million tons of milk and 4.5 million tons of meat.  Total value of the nation's agricultural output exceeds $50 billion.  Improving agriculture inputs and modernizing value chains can help the farm sector become much more productive to serve both domestic and export markets.  

Top 10 Countries by Agriculture Output. Source: FAO


Pakistan has about 36 million hectares of land under cultivation. Wheat and rice are grown on more than half of it. Fruits and vegetables each account for only about 3% of the cultivable land.  Since year 2001, the country's cereal production, mainly wheat, corn and rice, has grown about 45% to 38 million tons. Pakistan produced 6.64 million tons of vegetables and 5.89 million tons of fruits in 2001. 

Pakistan is the world’s 4th largest exporter of rice. The country's domestic production is estimated to surge 13.6% to an all-time high of 8.4 million tons in the year end June 2021, according to Bloomberg.  

Vegetable production rose to about 10 million tons and fruit production increased to nearly 7 million tons in 2015.  A little over 60% of Pakistan's agriculture consists of livestock. Pakistan produces 60 million tons of milk and 4.5 million tons of meat.  Fish production adds up to about 575,000 tons. 


Pakistan's Rising Rice Exports. Source: Bloomberg


Share of Land For Various Crops in Pakistan

Crop yields in Pakistan are low, mainly due to poor quality inputs like seeds. In addition to fertilizer and water, seed is the basic input for agriculture sector and has a major role in enhancing agriculture productivity. This needs to be a key area of focus for Pakistani policymakers working on agriculture. 


Other critical area is post-harvest handling, particularly storage and transportation that is in desperate need of improvement. Post-harvest losses in fruits and vegetables due to mishandling of the perishable product, poor transportation, and inadequate storage facilities and market infrastructure account for about 30%–40% of total production, according to experts at Asian Development Bank.  


World's 5th Largest Population of Chicken in Pakistan 


Improvements in agriculture inputs and modernization of post-harvest process require significant financing and investment. Growers get only a small fraction of value of what they produce, making it difficult for them to make these investments. Middlemen finance farmers and take the lion's share of profits in the value chain.  

Source: FAO via Kleffmann Group

Most of the farmers sell their produce to wholesalers via middlemen called arthis, according to an ADB report. Farmers contract out fruit orchards during the flowering stage to the middlemen (arthis), commission agent, and/or wholesalers who provide loans to the farmers over the course of production. Vegetables and fruits are transported by the same cart or truck from farms to the main markets in the absence of specialized vehicles for specific products. The same vehicle is used for many other purposes including animal transportation. Recently however, reefer (refrigerated) trucks have been introduced on a limited scale in some parts of Pakistan. In the absence of direct access of carrier vehicles to the farms, farmers gather their products in a convenient spot along the roadside for pickup. When middlemen or contractors are involved, it is their responsibility to collect and transport the produce. The unsold produce in one market is sent to other markets in the same locality. 

Date Palms in Sindh, Pakistan. Photo: Emmanuel Guddu


Investments in modernization of the agriculture production process and farm-to-market value chain will require major reforms to ensure growers get a bigger share of the value. The extraordinary power of the middlemen (arthis) as financiers needs to be regulated. This can not happen without legislation in close consultation with the growers. Improving agriculture inputs and modernizing value chains can help raise the productivity of the farm sector for it to serve both domestic and export markets better.  

Related Links:


Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Chicken Cheaper Than Daal

Meat Industry in Pakistan

Bumper Crops and Soaring Tractor Sales in Pakistan

Meat and Dairy Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistanis Are Among the Most Carnivorous

Eid ul Azha: Multi-Billion Dollar Urban-to-Rural Transfer

Pakistan's Rural Economy

Pakistan Leads South Asia in Agriculture Value Addition

Median Incomes in India and Pakistan

38 comments:

Kaiser said...

We should aim to triple our agricultural production. Pakistan has amongst the lowest agricultural yield per acre in the world due to the use of obsolete technology and seeds. We can easily triple our yield production, while improving access to technology and building better infrastructure.

Also we produce so much food there is no reason any Pakistani should go hungry. All children should be fed in school. Only once our population is well fed should we export overseas.

Habibullah K. said...

Despite this Mafia gangs of hoarders and profiteers cause the shortages of food and undue increase in prices!Their punishment should be “Hanging by the rope”!

Riaz Haq said...

Purdy, Chase. Billion Dollar Burger (pp. 5-6). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

It was surreal but deeply compelling. As I would find out over the course of the following year, that pasty clump of cells spread over toast represented something much bigger and more globally significant: a preface to a growing food movement that’s seeking to provide an ethical solution to the many unethical problems of the modern food system. By harvesting animal cells and quite literally growing them into fat and muscle tissue inside industrial bioreactors, humans have figured out how to create the exact same meats we’ve eaten for more than half a million years. In doing so, those scientists hope to enable us to sidestep the need to slaughter billions of animals annually, and theoretically, in time, eliminate the need for an industrial farming system that pumps an alarming amount of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s warming atmosphere each year. Scientists agree that animal agriculture is responsible for about 14 percent of greenhouse greenhouse gas emissions. Fully wrapping our heads around the impact of the animal agriculture system we’ve always known is mind-bogglingly difficult. Lots of scientists attempt to measure the full environmental footprint of animal agriculture, and almost all of them have run into fierce sets of critics who challenge their methodologies and motives. Did the scientist measure the life cycle of a single animal and then multiply those data to represent its specific sector? Did they include data on the energy used to grow, manage, and transport the feed grain for cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals? How about factoring in deforestation to make room for grazing? Or the long impact of water pollution from nitrous oxide in manure?


Riaz Haq said...

What Is The Future Of Meat?

https://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/fake-meat-science/

More and more people are trying meat alternatives, and for good reason: The meat industry is a major contributor to climate change. Almost 15% of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock, with cattle making up about two-thirds of that. Others avoid meat because of ethical problems with slaughtering animals.

Altogether, plant-based meats are having a major moment, making their way onto the shelves of major grocery stores, and the menus of fast food chains. It’s now possible to eat a burger that tastes, looks, and feels like beef—while being entirely made of plants.

Some scientists are devoting their careers to creating a future where more meat comes from plants, or even cells grown in a lab. Joining Ira to mull over the future of meat is Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods, and Isha Datar, executive director of New Harvest, a non-profit that promotes the research and development of cell-based animal products.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is Asia's #2 Dairy Milk Producer , 2020


https://www.globaltrademag.com/asias-milk-production-is-expected-to-increase-by-2-in-2020/

From 2009 to 2019, the average annual rate of growth in terms of volume in India totaled +5.4%. The remaining consuming countries recorded the following average annual rates of consumption growth: Pakistan (+3.2% per year) and China (-1.2% per year).

In value terms, India ($146.8B) led the market, alone. The second position in the ranking was occupied by Pakistan ($37.3B). It was followed by China.

The countries with the highest levels of whole fresh milk per capita consumption in 2019 were Uzbekistan (339 kg per person), Turkey (281 kg per person), and Pakistan (231 kg per person).

From 2009 to 2019, the biggest increases were in Uzbekistan, while whole fresh milk per capita consumption for the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Market Forecast 2020-2030
Driven by increasing demand for whole fresh milk in Asia, the market is expected to continue an upward consumption trend over the next decade. Market performance is forecast to decelerate, expanding with an anticipated CAGR of +2.4% for the period from 2019 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 477M tonnes by the end of 2030.

According to FAO projections, Asian production is expected to increase by 2% in 2020 due to expected growth in India, Pakistan, and China, while Turkey may experience a decline. India, the world’s largest milk producer, is projected to increase production by 2.6 percent, or 5 million tonnes. The increase expected this year reflects the efforts of the vast network of rural cooperatives that have been mobilized to maintain milk collection despite the pandemic lockdown. Given the loss of sales in the foodservice industry due to the COVID-19 lockdown, large volumes of milk were sent for processing to drying plants, which were reported to operate at almost full capacity.

Pakistan’s milk production is projected to increase by an average of 3% due to an increase in the herd population.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan can significantly ramp up agriculture yields and supply.

Unfortunately, Pakistan's farm-to-market system is controlled by powerful arthis (middlemen) who finance, store, transport and distribute all #produce (#fruits, #veggies). Reform is needed to incentivize growers by assuring a bigger share in the #value chain.

Riaz Haq said...

Parliamentary panel stresses focus on agriculture under CPEC - Profit by Pakistan Today


https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/01/06/parliamentary-panel-stresses-focus-on-agriculture-under-cpec/

The committee further recommended the government to capitalize on opportunities available in China’s meat market, as the China imports meat worth $48 billion from other countries. It called for measures to meet international food standards and initiate negotiations with China to remove anomalies in this regard.

Earlier, the committee was briefed by National Food Security and Research Secretary Ghufran Memon and PARC Chairman Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan on the existing projects in the agriculture sector.

Dr Azeem, while sharing 10-year development targets under CPEC, informed the committee that PARC’s aim is to make Pakistan a cotton exporting country, thereby helping it save foreign exchange worth $1.5 billion.

“Besides renovation of existing orchards, introduction of new varieties, reduction in post-harvest losses, improvement in value chain and development of rural industries are major proposed interventions.”

Meanwhile, the committee members also paid a visit to the exhibition at National Agriculture Research Centre where a comprehensive briefing was given on agro-tech, aquaculture and fisheries programme, honeybee research institute, alternative energy use in agriculture and vegetable and fruit crops cultivation processes.

The committee members remarked that farmers are the major stakeholders of the agriculture sector, and it is a matter of concern that seeds of various crops are not being provided to farmers on time.

They called for removal of bottlenecks to ensure fair and timely distribution of crops seeds to the farmers.

Riaz Haq said...

Advances in farming technology and intensification of animal agriculture increase the cost-efficiency and production volume of meat. Thus, in developed nations, meat is relatively inexpensive and accessible. While beneficial for consumer satisfaction, intensive meat production inflicts negative externalities on public health, the environment and animal welfare. In response, groups within academia and industry are working to improve the sensory characteristics of plant-based meat and pursuing nascent approaches through cellular agriculture methodology (i.e., cell-based meat). Here we detail the benefits and challenges of plant-based and cell-based meat alternatives with regard to production efficiency, product characteristics and impact categories.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20061-y


Global production and consumption of meat continue to surge as demand is driven upward by population growth, individual economic gain, and urbanization1,2. In 2012, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations projected the global demand for meat would reach 455 M metric tons by 2050 (a 76% increase from 2005)3. Likewise, the global demand for fish is projected to reach 140 M metric tons by 20504. The majority of this incline is attributed to middle-income countries (e.g., China), as consumption in higher-income countries is relatively stagnant or marginally decreasing (e.g., United Kingdom) and in lower-income countries, the rate of consumption is fairly constant (e.g., India)1. This pattern is consistent with a proposed theory that the relationship between meat consumption and income follows an “inverted U-shaped” trend; consumption initially increases with rises in income but eventually reaches a turning point at which consumption stagnates or declines5. This observation may be rationalized by correlations between high income and increased concern for the consequences of animal agriculture5.

This rising demand is problematic as current methods of large-scale animal husbandry are linked to public health complications, environmental degradation and animal welfare concerns. With regard to human health, the animal agriculture industry is interconnected with foodborne illness, diet-related disease, antibiotic resistance, and infectious disease6,7. Notably, zoonotic diseases (e.g., Nipah virus, influenza A) are linked to agricultural intensification and meatpacking plants in the United States were hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks7,8. Animal agriculture also contributes to environmental issues including greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and water use1. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a 2018 report asserting that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced 45% by 2030 to prevent global temperatures from increasing 1.5 °C; a target that could mitigate catastrophes associated with a 2.0 °C increase9. Conventional mitigation techniques include improvements in reforestation, soil conservation, waste management as well as tax policy, subsidies, and zoning regulations10. While these strategies remain important, the urgency of climate change may require more transformative approaches. Lastly, with regard to animal welfare concerns, each year billions of animals are killed or suffer either directly (e.g., farm animal slaughter, seafood fishing) or indirectly (e.g., fishing by-catch, wildlife decline due to habitat destruction) in relation to human food systems11,12.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is one of the few countries of the world, where a variety of fruits are grown in cool temperate climate such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, and those grown in the warm temperate climate are apricots, figs, grapes, pomegranates, melons and the rest in the tropical and sub-tropical climate like bananas, mangoes, dates, guava and citrus fruits, which are available throughout the year.

http://www.amis.pk/files/F&V%20Statistics%202015-16.pdf


While the fruits grown in temperate climate are produced in Baluchistan and NWFP, tropical and subtropical fruits are mostly grown in Punjab and Sindh. The various varieties of fruits are grown over an area of about 8.04 million hectors. The annual production of fruits in Pakistan is estimated at around 6.57 million tonnes, of which only 674 thousand tones were exported in 2015-16. In 2015-16 overall fruit export has witnessed a steady growth. More than 29 types of fruits and 33 types of vegetables are produced in the country throughout the year. The highest production have reached i.e Citrus fruit & Mango 2.3 and 1.3 million tons, the largest fruit crop group by volume and are major export revenue earner. According to latest figures Pakistan exported 674 thousand tons of fruits, vegetables 692.2 thousand tons and condiments 20.5 thousand tons in FY 2015-16.

Anonymous said...

Tractors Industry is one of our most promising export-oriented area. I am glad to share that number of tractors sold in first half of FY 2020-21 increased by 43% to 21,800 units as compared to 15,200 units sold in same period of FY 2019-20, showing an increase of 6,600 units. 1/4

https://twitter.com/razak_dawood/status/1355055410538045441?s=20

Even more encouraging is the increase in export of tractors during the first half of FY 2020-21, especially Millat Tractors whose exports grew by 68% in value to USD 6.9 million compared to USD 4.1 million in the previous year...2/4

…In terms of quantity, Millat exported 850 tractors during the first half of FY 2020-21 as compared to 500 tractors in previous year showing a growth of 70% in quantity terms.
I congratulate the tractor manufacturing industry for this outstanding performance.. .3/4

…and encourage them to strive even harder to increase their footprint in the international market. 4/4

Anonymous said...

Tractors Industry is one of our most promising export-oriented area. I am glad to share that number of tractors sold in first half of FY 2020-21 increased by 43% to 21,800 units as compared to 15,200 units sold in same period of FY 2019-20, showing an increase of 6,600 units. 1/4

https://twitter.com/razak_dawood/status/1355055410538045441?s=20

Even more encouraging is the increase in export of tractors during the first half of FY 2020-21, especially Millat Tractors whose exports grew by 68% in value to USD 6.9 million compared to USD 4.1 million in the previous year...2/4

…In terms of quantity, Millat exported 850 tractors during the first half of FY 2020-21 as compared to 500 tractors in previous year showing a growth of 70% in quantity terms.
I congratulate the tractor manufacturing industry for this outstanding performance.. .3/4

…and encourage them to strive even harder to increase their footprint in the international market. 4/4

Riaz Haq said...

#ImranKhan:#Pakistan to get help from #China in improving #agriculture. #Pakistani government is collaborating with China in learning agricultural techniques under #CPEC to enhance yield of crops, modernization of irrigation system and value addition #food https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/pak-to-get-help-from-china-in-improving-agriculture-sector-imran-khan-121013000259_1.html#.YBXWprfULJM.twitter

"The production of crops and dairy products in China is far more than that of Pakistan due to their advanced research and technology," the Prime Minister said.

He added that his government is taking revolutionary steps to uplift agro-based industries of the country to ensure sustainable development and prosperity, and China is willing to help Pakistan in this regard.

Agriculture is the backbone of the Pakistani economy, and cooperation with China could turn a new page in agricultural modernization and will be a destiny changer for the people of Pakistan, he said.

On Tuesday, China and Pakistan launched an online platform to collect and display information and achievements of agricultural and industrial cooperation between the two countries, aiming at enhancing bilateral cooperation under CPEC in the two sectors.

Riaz Haq said...

#China-#Pakistan #agro-industrial online platform will boost exchange and cooperation. China is committed to strengthening #agriculture cooperation with Pakistan to add impetus to the economic and social development of the two countries- Global Times #CPEC https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202101/1214193.shtml#.YBn4f8fmjSM.twitter


The new China-Pakistan Agricultural and Industrial Cooperation Information Platform will boost exchanges and cooperation, said a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.

China and Pakistan launched an online platform on Tuesday to collect and display information and achievements in agricultural and industrial cooperation between the two countries, aiming at enhancing bilateral cooperation under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"We have noted the relevant situation and I extend my congratulations. I have worked at [the Chinese Embassy in] Pakistan before and have been following the progress of the CPEC closely since returning home," said Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the ministry, during a daily press briefing on Wednesday.

Agriculture is an important area of practical cooperation between China and Pakistan, as the two countries have strong agricultural complementarity. China is committed to strengthening agricultural cooperation with Pakistan to add impetus to the economic and social development of the two countries, Zhao said.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan's economy and contributes some 18 percent of the country's GDP. The sector employs a large number of people and is essential for the country's food security and export potential, Xinhua reported on Tuesday citing Asim Saleem Bajwa, chairman of the CPEC Authority in Pakistan.

"We hope and believe that the launch of the information platform will further promote exchanges between the two sides and produce more cooperation," Zhao added.

The Chinese and Pakistani governments established a joint working group on agricultural cooperation in 2018, and established another working group on agriculture under the framework of the CPEC in March 2020.

Riaz Haq said...

Point Counterpoint: Sonali Ranade rebuts Sadanand Dhume’s piece on farmers in Wall Street Journal
His acceptance of propaganda on farm reforms and superficial analysis of farmers’ movement are problematic, writes Sonali Ranade in a rejoinder to Sadanand Dhume’s opinion in Wall Street Journal

@sonaliranade
Sonali Ranadi Tweet: My take on the rather misleading article by
@sdhume (Shadanand Dhume) in WSJ on the farmers protests.

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/point-counterpoint-sonali-ranade-rebuts-sadanand-dhumes-piece-on-farmers-in-wall-street-journal



https://twitter.com/sonaliranade/status/1357545430960099330?s=20

The truth is superficial reportage on the farmers' real grievances is rife and Dhume's piece only misrepresents the farmers' case to US readers.

For the sake of perspective, let me at the outset clarify that the reforms Dhume is talking about have already been carried out in Bihar. The net result of these reforms was that the price of cereals in the State fell by 20 to 30%, and continue to be well below the national average.

Which farmers, in which part of the world, would not be concerned by 20 to 30% fall in their income?


Sadanand Dhume:

The protests simmered for months before exploding into violence on Jan. 26, Republic Day. Tens of thousands of farmers stormed the national capital, battling cops and marring a national celebration. Protesters hoisted a Sikh religious flag on a flagpole at the Red Fort, a symbolic seat of power. One farmer died when his speeding tractor overturned at a barrier, according to police.

A standoff continues between the government and protesters at three sites on Delhi's borders. Farmers face thousands of police in riot gear behind concrete barriers, coils of barbed wire and iron spikes.

There's nothing wrong with celebrities taking an interest in events half a world away. But when it comes to the farmer protests, celebrity Twitter activism is based on a reductive caricature of complex issues as a faceoff between colorfully turbaned sons of the soil and a thuggish government backed by evil corporations.

Sonali Ranade

There is so much spin packed into these words, that it is hard to know where to begin.

Fact is farmers didn't storm Delhi. They were barricaded at the borders, with concrete barriers, deep trenches dug on national highways, armed police, parked buses, and now spiked roads. They were denied their right to enter the capital, were branded as traitors, insulted & humiliated.

The farmers entered the Capital after receiving Govt. permission. True some, very few, given their large numbers, deviated from agreed route, and landed in the Red Fort, where they raised a Sikh religious flag on one of the masts. [Not the main mast.]

It is not at all clear if this wasn't a false flag operation, instigated by some people who are known to be ruling party supporters.

Yet, the entire propaganda machinery of the Govt. including some sections of the media, swung into action to discredit and delegitimate the 2 month old protest, on the basis of that one stray incident, that the ruling party itself may have orchestrated for the purpose.

Shouldn't Dhume at least mention this side of the story to his readers?

Dhume is no newbie to the Indian scene? Has he represented the reform bills in their true perspective? As I shall show, he has glossed over the key aspects of why these reforms, by wrong sequencing, result in an unintended transfer of wealth from farmers to traders.

But here Dhume criticises the celebrities for something he himself is guilty of.

Fact is, these celebrities were simply asking for the issue to be examined and discussed because on the face of it, hundreds of thousands of peasants don't sit in protest for over 2 months, for nothing. But that obvious fact is of no salience for the jaded sensitivities of a Dhume.

Riaz Haq said...

Plan bee: #Pakistan's Rs 1 billion #honey exports create #jobs buzz. The government has pledged to increase the plantation of specific trees and flora to improve the quality and production of honey and grant interest-free loans to traders. #PTI https://www.arabnews.com/node/1807296#.YCfeQNVjPyY.twitter

When Ameer Ahmed set up his bee farm as a part-time business with 30 beehives last year, the 22-year-old university student did not expect to turn the trade into a full-time job after making hefty profits.

Today, he has 100 beehives on his farmland in the Chakwal area of Pakistan’s populous Punjab province, and earns between $13,000 and $16,000 annually, mainly by exporting honey to countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is an easy and profitable business as one can start it without getting any formal skills and education,” Ahmed told Arab News.

He is among a growing legion of unskilled laborers, students and growers in remote areas of the country who are turning to beekeeping as a profitable source of income since it requires minimal capital and skill.

“I am encouraging my friends to get into this business, too,” Ahmed said, adding that he had to hire two workers to look after his growing apiary.

Commercial beekeeping is fast becoming a thriving business in Pakistan’s rural areas, providing new job opportunities for thousands of men and women, and helping the country earn foreign exchange through exports, mainly to Middle Eastern countries, according to researchers and honey traders.

The business is growing in the Chakwal, Jhelum, Attock and Sargodha districts of Punjab province, some parts of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which have areas suitable for the exotic bees.

The South Asian nation currently produces around 7,500 metric tons of honey annually, with more than 8,000 beekeepers rearing exotic species in 1 million beehives, according to the government’s Honeybee Research Institute in Islamabad.

Around $6 million in foreign exchange is earned annually through honey exports to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.

Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the “Billion Tree Honey Initiative” in December last year to increase honey production to 70,000 metric tons in a year.

The government estimates the project will help generate around 43 billion rupees ($268 million) for the national economy and provide about 87,000 green jobs.

Under the program, the government has pledged to increase the plantation of specific trees and flora to improve the quality and production of honey and grant interest-free loans to traders.

Raza Khan, president of the All Pakistan Beekeepers Trade and Exporters Association, said Pakistan was producing “100 percent organic” honey through modern bee farming, and demand was increasing, particularly in Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.

In the 2018-2019 financial year, Pakistan exported honey worth 966 million rupees ($5.8 million), about 260 million rupees more than the year before, according to the Honeybee Research Institute.

Industry insiders predict the numbers will keep going up as the country’s beekeepers benefit from Pakistan’s push to reforest the land under its “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” project, launched in 2018.

“Our honey is unique in the world for its natural taste, color and texture,” Khan said. “Its demand abroad is growing fast,” he added, urging the government to provide more incentives to boost the business and grant industry status to commercial beekeeping.

“The government should strengthen certification and quality standards of the honey so that we can also export it to the European market,” Khan said.

Riaz Haq said...

Farmers in Pakistan are increasingly moving towards tunnel farming to produce summer vegetables and fruits in winters for a market continuously looking for better, and fresher produce. But is it economically feasible?

https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/06/17/does-growing-off-season-crops-in-tunnels-makes-for-a-good-business


Cultivation in tunnel farms usually begins in autumn. A normal tunnel farm ranges from 10 to 20 acres with most farms needing a covered area of at least 3 acres to be economically feasible. Steel pipes, aluminium pipes or bamboos are used to create D shaped rows of support structures around the plantation that are usually 3 to 12 feet in height and about 5 feet wide. The structures are covered with polythene sheets to create either low tunnels, walk-in tunnels or high tunnels depending on the farmer’s needs.

The polythene sheets traps heat inside and keep rain and frost outside, simulating summer and enabling the plants to be able to bear produce that would not be able to grow if exposed to the natural climate.

In Pakistan, especially in the fertile plains of Punjab, farmers are fast switching away from conventional farming and adopting tunnel farming techniques, which reportedly give a higher per acre yield and higher profits compared to conventional farming.

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

Pakistan growers receive technical greenhouse training

https://www.hortidaily.com/article/9291322/pakistan-growers-receive-technical-greenhouse-training/

The Food and Agriculture Organization has introduced high tunnel-farming with drip-irrigation systems in newly merged tribal districts to promote off-season crop production through agro-technology in the wide-range climate of the region.

One hundred high tunnels have been installed in districts of Khyber, Orakzai, North and South Waziristan, twenty each. These tunnels will be supplemented with a drip irrigation system, a method of controlled irrigation with which water is slowly delivered to plants, resulting in efficient use of water and fertilizer.

As part of promoting off-season vegetable production, FAO arranges extensive off and on-job training and exposure visits for the farmers who are less or no familiar with tunnel farming methods for commercial agriculture.

"It is crucial to provide technical training to the farmers in these areas as there is very little technical assistance and extension work available on tunnel-farming for growing vegetable crops in targeted areas," says Rustam Khan, an expert agriculturist from FAO.

Quality seeds
The farmers are also provided with the certified quality seeds and trained on low-tech procedures of growing high-quality food to reap more profits.

FAO continues familiarizing farmers with agro-technology in tribal areas to boost the production aiming food security and agro-based livelihood opportunities. Walk-in tunnels help increase productivity reducing the gap between current and potential production of agro-food targeting promotion of traditional economy and restoration of livelihood in insurgency-affected areas.

With the tunnel farming techniques, farmers in the Merged Districts of KP are evolving from subsistence to commercial agriculture. The growing practice is promoting farmers learning in agriculture development, climate security, creating socioeconomic resilience and improving market services on a sustainable basis.

Riaz Haq said...

Speaking at a Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry webinar in December, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Husain stressed the importance of looking beyond the textile sector and diversifying Pakistan’s exports. Otherwise, he warned, we will remain “stuck” at 25 to 30 billion dollars in exports per year.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1611075

“If we can capture just one percent of the Chinese market by providing components, raw materials [and] intermediate goods to the Chinese supply chain,” he had said, “we can get 23 billion dollars in exports to China, which is very favourably inclined towards Pakistan...”

From the looks of it, others were on the same page as Husain. Last month, it was reported by China Economic Net (CEN) that China will import dairy products from Pakistan. The Commercial Counsellor at the Pakistan Embassy in Beijing, Badar uz Zaman, told CEN that Pakistan got this opportunity due to its high quality dairy products, available at a low price.

Pakistan is the fourth largest milk producer globally, Zaman pointed out.

Indeed, the country’s dairy industry has great potential and can prove to be ‘white gold’ for Pakistan. Unfortunately, the sector is currently struggling due to various reasons but, if its export potential is realised, it can transform not only the sector itself but Pakistan’s economy as well.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation at the United Nations, in the last three decades, global milk production has increased by more than 59 percent, from 530 million tonnes in 1998 to 843 million tonnes in 2018.

This rise in global milk consumption is an opportunity for countries such as Pakistan to earn foreign exchange by exporting milk and dairy products to countries which have insufficient milk production. According to a Pakistan Dairy Association estimate, with support from the government, Pakistan can earn up to 30 billion dollars from exports of only dairy products and milk.

Riaz Haq said...

PIA cuts freight charges to 24 cents, about Rs40 per kg (US$0.04 per kg) for vegetable/fruit to boost #exports to the #MiddleEast. PIA has installed a large scanning machine at #Islamabad Airport where 100 boxes at once. Will do same in #Karachi, #Lahore. http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit/article/184618/pakistan-international-airline-looks-to-boost-exports

Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has slashed its freight charges for the export of fruits and vegetables to the Middle East, in a move it hopes will facilitate substantial growth in horticulture exports.

According to Pakistan Today, the airline made the decision after a detailed meeting between PIA chief executive air marshal, Arshad Malik, chief executive of the Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) Waheed Ahmed, and officials of Ministry of Commerce (MoC).

Pakistan Today reports PIA has revised air freight charges downward to 24 cents, equivalent to Rs40 per kg (US$0.04 per kg) for vegetable and fruit exports to the Middle East, including Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Dubai.

The airline also assured PFVA of low freight charges in the future, along with the provision of state-of-the-art ground handling facilities.

Malik informed officials the airline has already installed a large scanning machine at Islamabad Airport where 100 boxes can be scanned at the same time. The same scanners will be installed at Karachi and Lahore airports, he added.

He also said he was keen to meet with Pakistani mango exporters before the start of the season so that close coordination could be maintained with all stakeholders.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan gearing up to G.I. trademark #Himalayan pink #salt for #exports. #Pakistani Pink salt is valued around the world for its #health benefits. Pakistan possesses one of the world's largest salt deposits stretching over 209 km in #Punjab salt range. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/asiapacific/2021-03/04/c_139783791.htm?bsh_bid=5595117575

Muhammad Irfan, 38, was keenly supervising the crafting of decoration items made of the famous Himalayan pink salt at his factory located in Khushab, a district in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province.

Thousands of people in Khushab are linked with the salt industry as the district is rich in minerals including huge deposits of salt, he said.

"We are associated with this business since 1990. Initially, we have been manufacturing edible salt, but over the past few years we have started making other products made of Himalayan rock salt considering their high demand, both locally and abroad," Irfan, the owner of M&S Salt Factory, told Xinhua.

The Himalayan pink salt has been a preferred choice for use in daily diet by people around the globe due to its health benefits, he said, adding that products like lamps, candle holders and tiles made from the pink salt are also greatly adored as they have seen a substantial boost in exports to the United States, Europe and the Gulf states.

Talking about the difference between the ordinary salt and the pink salt, Irfan said that the most special aspect about the pink salt is its color which makes it unique and popular in Pakistan and many other countries, adding "the pink variety of salt is only found in Pakistan."

Pakistan possesses one of the world's largest salt deposits stretching over 209 km lying in areas between the eastern district of Jhelum and northwestern Kohat district. The country is also home to the second-largest salt mine in the world, the Khewra Salt Mine in Jhelum.

According to officials from the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation, Pakistan's annual export of salt totals around 400,000 tons.

In an effort to curb the unauthorized use of Pakistan's indigenous products by other countries, Pakistan has recently announced to register its pink salt as the Geographical Indications (GI).

The registration will serve as a potential economic tool to promote and enhance national and international trade of Pakistan and earn revenue, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said recently, adding that this will encourage and motivate Pakistani producers to expand their business at a global level.

Pakistan has enacted the Geographical Indications Act, 2020 last year to protect its indigenous products, combating counterfeiting and ensuring premium prices in foreign markets.

In a conversation with Xinhua, Ismail Sattar, a prominent salt exporter and chief executive officer of the salt manufacturing company HubSalt Pakistan, said that his business has been profitable and is expected to see further growth after recent steps taken by the government to standardize the pink salt industry of Pakistan.

"The special focus being given by the incumbent government to regularize salt trade and develop a branding mechanism to sell the commodity in the international market at competitive prices will definitely give a new impetus to the industry," he said.

In the past, many illegal local traders exported the indigenous crude pink salt to other countries, which would then brand it as their produce and earn huge profit, but the huge profit otherwise could have been earned by Pakistan, Sattar said.

Pakistan remains at the 20th place in the list of salt exporting countries despite the fact that Pakistan is among the biggest salt producers, the salt exporter said, blaming the situation on illegal regional trade and absence of the GI.

Riaz Haq said...

Aarthi’s role in Pakistan agriculture


https://www.theigc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Haq-Et-Al-2013-Working-Paper.pdf
Pakistan’s agriculture sector forms the backbone of the economy, generating not only 21 percent of the GDP directly but also feeds large-scale industries such as textiles and agro-based SMEs. It accounted for 16.5 percent of country’s exports in 2012 and employs 45 percent of the country’s labor force. Yet, productivity indicators suggest that yields have stagnated over the past decade in most crops and the productivity gap with high performing countries is wide. There is also a clear mismatch between the level of real economic activity taking place in agriculture and flow of formal credit to the sector: in 2010- 11, lending to agriculture sector made up only eight percent of the banking sector’s total advances and 7.6 percent of private sector credit. Planning Commission estimates for 2011-12 show that demand for agriculture credit stands at PKR 750 billion whereas the flow to the sector stood at PKR 294 billion only (34 percent of total demand). This demand has been growing at a rate of 14.6 percent per annum over the past five years whereas actual disbursement has increased by only 8.6 percent, creating a widening supply-demand gap that is being met through informal sources.
In Punjab, the arthi remains the largest source of informal credit for agriculture. He successfully lends to the segment considered risky and not credit worthy by banks. Not only does he make money but also manages his risk well. In order to generate some outside-the-box thinking on the issue of linking banks to the small farmer, this scoping study take a close look at the arthi system in Punjab to understand the arthi’s role in the agriculture supply chain by mapping his network and linkages, understanding his operations, finances (such as sources of funds, interest rates, costs and profits) and risk management techniques. Lessons from the arthi model are used to propose ideas for pilots and research that can break this apparent deadlock with regards to channeling institutional credit to agriculture in a profitable and sustainable manner.
Based on field interviews with arthis, wholesalers, input dealers and farmers, we find that arthis are not a uniform set but consist of different types offering a range of services depending upon the market they serve. However, commonly they operate out of the province’s 325 commodity markets, which act as the central place where all players in the agriculture marketing chain interact. The arthi provides two major services to the farmer: firstly, he provides inputs on credit at the time of sowing of a particular crop and secondly, acts as the sale agent for the farmer and facilitates the sale of the harvested crop in the market. By taking advance from the arthi, the farmer is bound to sell his produce through the same arthi giving the arthi control over the farmer’s cash flows. The rates charged by the arthi and his portfolio’s risk profile demonstrate that there is money to be made in agriculture lending to small and medium farmers. With operational costs at less than 2.5 percent of total volume of lending, nominal write-offs and interest rates ranging between 62 percent and 80 percent, profit margins for the arthi are quite significant. In addition to earning from credit, the arthi also earns commission from the sale of the produce of his borrower, calculated as a percentage of the sale price of the produce ranging from 2 percent to 4 percent depending upon the crop and his terms with the client.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #wheat production this year may surpass previous records with a big margin, crossing 28.75 million tons, two million tons more than the previous record of 26.67 million tons set in 2016/17 #food #agriculture #economy #COVID19 #pandemic https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/819211-pakistan-poised-for-mammoth-wheat-production

If this feat is achieved, Pakistan may not require further imports at least in considerable quantities. Owing to last two back-to-back failures of crops, Pakistan had to import over two million tons during the last one year to meet shortfall in grain production. These reports are, however, in complete contrast to what federal government projected about the grain output. While reviewing performance of the rabi crops (2020/21) last week, the Federal Committee on Agricutlure estimated wheat production at 26.04 million tons, showing an increase of 1.7 percent over the last year.

In Punjab, having share of around 75 percent in total production, wheat harvest may hover around 21.75 million this year, if present trend in early harvesting is something to go by. Official circles also lately voiced a significant upsurge in wheat output, at least in the Punjab.

According to a senior official of provincial Agriculture Department, more than 35 maund (40kg each) per acre average output is recorded in the crop cut samples. This is more than the 30 maunds average per acre output of wheat in the province. To have an idea about how much total production could increase with even a slight increase in per acre yield, an official said, provincial production jumped around 600,000 tons with one maund per acre increase in the production if present area under cultivation is taken into account. The official was optimistic about production close to 21.75 million tons in the province against the previous high of 20.46 million tons achieved in 2016/17. Last year, Punjab’s output was 19.40 million tons.

Against the official estimates of more than 33 maunds per acre, farmers seem more upbeat about harvesting much greater output of wheat in 2020/21 season. “We have never heard so consistently about 40-45 maunds per acre yield by so many growers this year,” said Ibrahim Mughal, chairman of Agri-Forum Pakistan. The conducive temperature for most period of crop, close to no rains which led to virtually no attach of rust due to low humidity and much of early sowing brought a synergy of three factors for cultivation of a super healthy crop this year, he observed. In districts like Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh and Layyah, many farmers even reported 50-55 maund per acre yield of wheat.

“Safely, we may see at least 1.5 million tons of more production than the initial estimates,” Mughal said. Procurement target by public sector department should be met at all cost so farmers could be able to get due share of their produce. Pakistan Kissan Ittehad also predicted one of the greatest jumps in wheat production in ongoing season, pegging national production at over 28.5 million tons.

Many farmers viewed that they are harvesting about 10 maunds per acer greater crop size this year compared with the last year. Reports of achieving 35 to 40 maunds per acre of wheat is normal nowadays. There could be a significant jump in yield of crop due to multiple factors. Increase in wheat support price gave an impetus to wheat plantation in the country. Early sowing and subsequent unprecedented old nights and cool days for almost three months gave an ample time for growth of plant and grain development.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan to benefit from China's high-yield seed development technology: PM

http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2021-04/27/content_77444378.htm

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that his country will follow China's footsteps in the field of agriculture and get benefit from China's high-yield seed development technology.

Addressing a ceremony to give away "farmer card" to farmers in the country's east Punjab province on Monday, the prime minister said that his government had taken an important step to make the agricultural sector a vital part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to uplift the sector and lives of the farmers.

He said that Pakistan's own research institutions on seed development will also be revamped to produce good quality seeds at home.

He said that unlike China, Pakistani farmers are still using old techniques of agriculture, which needs a major transformation, and with the government's efforts, the farmers will gradually shift to modern agricultural modes.

Khan said that under the "farmer card," the local farmers will get subsidized fertilizers, seeds and pesticides besides low-interest loans and compensation for damaged crops in case of any natural calamity. Enditem

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's #cotton production jumps 18%. #USDA: "Pakistan's cotton production for marketing year 2021/22 is forecast at 5.3 million 480-pound (lb) bales, up 18% from 2020/21 estimate, due to new seed varieties, better pest management & government support" https://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/pakistans-cotton-production-seen-rising-18-in-202122-usda


April 7 (Reuters) - Following are selected highlights from a report issued on Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service post in Islamabad:

"Pakistan's cotton production for marketing year 2021/22 is forecast at 5.3 million 480-pound (lb) bales, up 18 percent from the revised 2020/21 estimate, due to availability of new seed varieties, better pest and disease management, and government support."

"Pakistan's cotton output still remains at historic lows, but to keep its textile mills humming it will continue to import large volumes of cotton. Marketing year 2021/22 imports are forecast to remain constant at 5.0 million 480-lb bales. Textile mill consumption is forecast slightly higher at 10.3 million bales, due to brisk milling activity undergirded by strong government support policies for the country's important textile industry."

Riaz Haq said...

PM #ImranKhan: Kisan Card will 'transform' farming in #Pakistan. #Technology will eliminate bribes and let #farmers get #agriculture loans and have direct access to agriculture #subsidies for #seeds, #pesticides & #fertilizer.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1620494


The premier said that the subsidy on DAP (diammonium phosphate), which was previously Rs500, would also be increased to Rs1,000 under the Kisan Card.

"Subsidies will also be available for seeds and pesticides," said the prime minister, adding that loans to farmers would also be provided through the card and preparations for this were already under way.

---"

The premier said that during the PTI government's tenure, farmers had gained an additional Rs1,100 billion due to the prices they received for produce such as sugarcane, wheat and corn.

"Pakistan's poverty is concentrated in rural areas," he said, adding that the additional money that farmers would gain would help to improve their standard of living. He said that reducing poverty had been the "real purpose" of the PTI government since day one, adding that it was now "moving towards that target".

The prime minister also mentioned other measures the government was taking to improve the agricultural sector and pointed out the Rs300bn transformation package.

"Water is a very big problem. If farmers face water shortages then their produce is affected," he said, adding that two big dams were being made after 50 years to address this issue and Rs220bn from the transformation package was set aside for the fortification and lining of canals. Additional small scale water projects were also being carried out, he said.

He also stated that due to his efforts, agriculture had been brought under the scope of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to benefit from Beijing's agricultural technology and seed development. Pakistan's own research institutions on seed development would also be revamped, the premier said.

The prime minister also stated that a lot of agricultural produce that was imported, would now be grown in Pakistan, adding that the country's favourable climate and temperature provided the necessary conditions to increase crop yield.

"Our farmers are still using old methods," lamented the premier and stated that extension services were being privatised. A trained professional per Union Council would be responsible for visiting farmers on a motorcycle in the area and informing them about new agricultural techniques.

"There is great need for this because we need [to adopt] new [agricultural] practices," said the prime minister, adding that Pakistan's agriculture was subsistence level so "we will train them (farmers) through extension services to increase their productivity."

He also pointed out initiatives to develop Pakistan's livestock and said Pakistan still imported milk due to low productivity. Thus, Rs40bn have been set aside to import semen so livestock breeds could be improved, said the premier.

"You will see that change will come in one to two years and because of that, milk production will increase three-fold," he said, adding that improving the breed of livestock will not only allow Pakistan to provide cheap milk but also export cheese and milk.

"We can earn $25bn just from cheese and milk exports in the next three years."

Prime Minister Imran Khan lamented the losses that vegetables and fruits suffered at 50 per cent and 20pc for grains. "So we have decided to develop storage for them and food processing plants," he announced, adding that billions of rupees were lost due to 20pc of wheat being lost and fruits and vegetables could otherwise be provided much cheaper.

Among other measures he mentioned were doubling of loans for farmers, local production of fertilisers, doubling cereal production as well as improving local production of medicinal plants, corn and developing the fishery sector such as prawns.

Riaz Haq said...

Kisan Cards to digitize #Pakistan's rural #economy with direct financial benefit to farmers. Access to loans & crop insurance will diminish power of 'Arthi' or middle-man. Farmers will become empowered to improve their #productivity & #income. #Agriculture https://www.brecorder.com/news/40089062

The Kisan Card program is expected to boost the demand for phosphate fertilizers and result in positive yield outcomes for the farmers and support the digitization of rural economy.

Industry experts said that the launch of Kisan Cards is a major milestone for the development of Pakistan's agricultural sector as it will provide targeted subsidies to small farmers, improve their financial inclusion, and digitize the rural economy.

During the first quarter of 2021, urea and DAP sales have witnessed high growth of around 35 percent and 51 percent, respectively. The increase in urea sales can be attributed to higher wheat support prices, better water supplies and availability of urea in the local market at Rs 1717 per bag compared to the global rates of more than Rs 3500 per bag.

At the launch ceremony of Kisan Cards in Multan, Prime Minister Imran Khan also announced to increase the subsidy on DAP (diammonium phosphate) from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 under Kisan Card. Meanwhile, the federal government's targeted subsidy package on agriculture input remains unmaterialized in Sindh as the provincial government has to date not reached a consensus on its implementation mechanism.

In this regard, Nadir Salar Qureshi CEO of Engro Fertilizers has said Kisan Cards will provide targeted, smart subsidies on agricultural inputs to subsistence small land holding farmers, and other benefits like crop insurance and subsidized loans.

Kisan Cards will reduce inefficiencies and corruption in subsidy disbursement of agricultural inputs, while also improving financial inclusion by adding millions of farmers to the formal banking system, he added.

Appreciating Prime Minister's leadership in prioritizing the transformation of agriculture sector, he said that by delivering such initiatives, the PTI government is living up to its promise of supporting the agricultural sector that is the backbone of Pakistan's economy. When agricultural economics improve the knock-on effects are felt through the entire national economy. The prudent policies of government enabled the agricultural sector to overcome the COVID-19 shock and register record growth in farm economics in the past two years, he added.

With greater access to loans and crop insurance, the influence of 'Arthi' or middle-man will reduce and the farmers would become more empowered to improve their productivity and earnings. "We believe the Kisan Card initiative has put Pakistan's agriculture sector on the road to digitization and documentation of rural economy that will immensely benefit the country in the long-term", he maintained.

Lauding the PM's vision on agriculture development and bringing it on top of the Government's agenda, CEO Engro reiterated that Engro Fertilizers vision is to transform the agricultural landscape of Pakistan. He assured that Engro remains ready to support the Government in bringing his vision on agriculture to life.

Riaz Haq said...

Kisan cards to provide direct financial benefit to farmers: Dr Firdous
This would benefit the farmers’ community in the province as a subsidy worth billions of rupees would be provided annually to one million farmers, she said.


https://www.brecorder.com/news/40089264/kisan-cards-to-provide-direct-financial-benefit-to-farmers-dr-firdous

Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday said the government had taken a historic initiative of launching Kisan (farmer) Card which would provide direct financial benefits to the farmers in the shape of cash transfer besides encouraging them to grow more crops.

Talking to the media along with Provincial Minister for Agriculture Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi here, Dr Firdous said that farmers would be able to timely procure pesticides, seeds and other essential items by collecting subsidy amount directly from the ATM through Kisan Card.

This would benefit the farmers’ community in the province as a subsidy worth billions of rupees would be provided annually to one million farmers, she said.

The Special Assistant said the farmers through this card would get subsidized fertilizers, seeds and pesticides besides loans and compensation for damaged crops in case of any natural calamity.

The Kisan Card would bring about a revolution in the country by making the life of farmers easy through the use of technology, enhancing agricultural production, and saving foreign exchange, she further said.

Dr Firdous regretted that agricultural development was not among the priorities of previous governments who ignored farmers in their regimes however, the PTI government was paying special attention to this important sector which was considered as the backbone of the economy.

The SACM said the PTI government was fully committed to providing farmers agricultural support, besides resolving their problems at their doorsteps.

The need of the hour was to use the modern techniques for increasing the per acre yield, she stressed.

Dr Firdous said the NA-249 Karachi by-election had raised many questions.

The PPP used government machinery and resources ruthlessly to support its candidate in the by-election, she added.

The SACM urged the opposition to support the government for electoral reforms which was the need of the hour for ensuring transparent election process in the country.

Riaz Haq said...

#Arabian varieties of #dates offer better yield in #Pakistan, among the top date producers and exporters in the world, with annual date production of more than 535,000 tons.Local farmers have developed interest in growing the foreign varieties. #fruits https://www.arabnews.com/node/1855331/world

KHAIRPUR: Five years ago, 70-year-old Ghulam Qasim Jiskani, a farmer in Khairpur, Pakistan’s largest date-producing region, experimented with Middle Eastern varieties of the fruit to see if he could increase his yield.

Today, he is spearheading a successful campaign to produce Arabian dates at home.

Pakistan is one of the top date producers and exporters in the world, with annual date production of more than 535,000 tons, according to data from the Trade Development Authority.

The main region for date cultivation is Khairpur district in southern Sindh province, Jiskani’s hometown.

On his farmland in Kot Diji village, Jiskani has planted date palm varieties that are grown in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Morocco.

“It can be a game-changer for the area’s date production and export,” Jiskani told Arab News last week, saying by planting foreign varieties of the fruit, Pakistani farmers could earn up to 15 times more from their harvest.

“I brought 400 tissues of 15 date palm varieties from Dubai five years ago,” he said.

“These trees are now laden with fruit and I plan to market the yield in July when they are ready for harvest. My experiment has been successful.”

Jiskani’s plantation covers two acres of land, but as his Arabian varieties of dates have grown so well on the land, he now plans to dedicate three more acres to the fruit and hopes other growers will follow suit.

Jiskani believes that with the Arabian varieties, local growers would be able not only to tap into domestic demand but also boost Pakistan’s date exports.

“Pakistani date farmers also have a good chance to penetrate the international market with their yield,” he said.

“With that in mind, we are striving to replace local varieties with foreign ones.”

Local farmers have already developed interest in growing the foreign varieties.


“After Jiskani’s experiment, a significant number of Khairpur’s date farmers want the government to facilitate the procurement of foreign palm tissues at feasible rates,” Mushtaq Soomro, a senior official at the Sindh Agriculture Extension Department, told Arab News.

“If they start cultivating today, 40 percent of the region’s date cultivation will transform, and we will see the exotic varieties of the fruit covering much of this land.”

One of the reasons for the growing interest was climate.

“Monsoon in Pakistan arrives in June and persists for a few months,” Soomro said.

“This is also the harvesting season for locally produced dates. Rainfall on the ready-to-rip crops is destructive, however. To get away from possible losses, growers opt for dried dates, though they are comparatively less lucrative for them. By growing the Middle Eastern varieties, though, date famers are hoping for a more exotic early monsoon crop.”

One problem with dried dates from Kahirpur is that their main export destination is India.

“For the past four years or so, however, direct trade of dried dates between India and Pakistan is on a halt, which has resulted in significant losses for local farmers,” Jiskani said. He added that another advantage of the Arabian dates was their longer shelf life and the fact that with higher fiber component they were also healthier.

Rustam Phulpoto, a representative of Khairpur’s KHajjoor Market, said by sticking to its native date types, Pakistan was not focusing on the value addition that the foreign varieties bring.

“This lack of value addition not only makes us import more but also limits our exports as well,” he told Arab News.

Under the Sindh administration’s Agriculture Growth Project 2015-2020, the government was required to import 3,000 exotic date tissues and provide them to local farmers at 70 percent subsidized rates. But that did not happen.

Riaz Haq said...

Despite bumper wheat crop Pakistan still not food secure
Amjad Mahmood Published May 27, 2021

https://www.dawn.com/news/1625954


THIS season the country has reaped an all-time high wheat output of 28.75 million tonnes, two million tonnes more than the target of 26.78 million tonnes. The government claims the milestone has been achieved through a 3.25 per cent increase in the area under wheat, a favourable weather throughout the season that helped grow a healthy grain and repel yellow rust attack, and employing of more intensive labour as well as improved farm input use by the growers in the wake of a better price they had secured for their crop last year.

If one goes by the official data, though some experts suspect the official figure saying it lacked any substantial reason in support of the yield boost, the country is far from achieving its food security even with this record output of grain, the main staple food of the population.

The Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) has estimated that the country will need 29.50 million tonnes, including one million tonnes of strategic reserves, of wheat to feed its people until the next harvest. The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) estimates per capita consumption of wheat at 125 kg per annum as grains make up on an average 60pc of daily diet of an ordinary citizen. The recently released results of the 2017 census put the national population figure at over 220.5 million. This means the country has enough wheat to meet its food security and with import of around 500,000 tonnes of grain it will be able to maintain its strategic reserves as there are about 324,000 tonnes of carryover stocks.

But this simple calculation excludes three factors: the need for more than one million tonnes of seed for the next plantation, staple food requirements of close to 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees in the country, and smuggling of approximately 300,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan each year. To meet these needs, the government will have to import over 1.5 million tonnes more wheat taking the total import to over two million tonnes to make the country food secure for the year [the federal food ministry has announced plans to import four million tonnes of grain]. This will give a headache to the foreign exchange-starved government already worried at the rising food import bill.


The National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) that recently met under the chair of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin tasked National Food Security & Research Minister Syed Fakhar Imam and Industries Minister Khusro Bakhtyar to look for options to bring down the volume of food imports.

The government’s worries are not implausible. For nature may not be supporting all the time. As one sees that during the last decade there had thrice been a substantial decline in the expected wheat output: -6.9pc in 2012, -3.44pc in 2015, and -3.19pc in 2019. Also the increase in wheat acreage has come at the cost of the area under sugarcane and cotton crops. And the cut in the acreage of the two cash crops means costlier import of the sweetener and white lint to meet domestic needs. A Catch-22 position for the government.

The only solution to the situation lies in improving crops per acre yields. Dr Javed Ahmad, Director of the Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad, says the seed varieties developed by AARI have genetic potential of nine tonnes per hectare yield but certain factors are reducing the yield to one-third of the potential. Non-availability of certified seed and lower than needed fertiliser intake are the two major reasons he puts forth behind the poor wheat production as compared to neighbouring India and China which are harvesting four and six tonnes per hectare, respectively.

Riaz Haq said...

New farming method promises to multiply Pakistan’s mango yield

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1865876/world


Mango grower in Sindh has introduced the small tree system of cultivating orchards, which allows more trees to grow on a smaller area
Sindh has seen a decline in production volume largely due to outdated farming techniques

TANDO ALLAHYAR: After a decade of declining harvest, mango growers in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province are pinning their hopes on a new farming technique that would allow them to increase their fruit yield up to six times, several growers and experts said.
Pakistan is the world’s sixth-largest mango producer, with an annual production volume of about 1.7 million tons. While most of the harvest comes from Punjab, the Sindh province has the second-largest yield and is known for the Sindhri variety of mango, famous for its honey-like sweetness and deep, thin yellow peel.
But farmers are increasingly sounding the alarm on declining crop yield.
Sindh cultivated mangoes on 59,215 hectares of land and produced 381,269 metric tons in 2010. Provincial agricultural data shows this yield reduced to 329,300 metric tons by 2019.
Realizing that a major reason for the decline was outdated farming practices, one grower, Mahmood Nawaz Shah from the Tando Allahyar district, decided to try something new at his Genuine Delight Farms.
In 2019, he initiated a pilot project to cultivate new orchards under the small tree system (STS) on 1.6 hectares of land using a pruning technique that keeps the height of the mango plants at nearly nine feet, making their management easier and helping to accommodate more trees in a smaller area.
“The STS can revolutionize the quantum of our mango production,” Shah, who also represents a provincial farmers’ body, the Sindh Abadgar Board, told Arab News.
“We can increase our mango production some five times in this country,” he added, explaining that while the average mango yield per acre was five metric tons from large trees, an average of 25 to 30 metric tons could be harvested from the same area using the small tree system.
According to estimates by the Sindh Abadgar Board, the STS is currently being used on only 1,618 hectares of Pakistan’s total mango cultivation area of 167,000 hectares. In Sindh, only 10 growers have so far adopted the method.
“We are far behind when it comes to modernizing our farming structures and techniques,” Dr. Noor-un-Nisa Memon, a faculty member at the Sindh Agriculture University in Tando Jam, said.
It was high time, she said, that old mango orchards were replaced with new ones, but farmers in Sindh were reluctant to prune their trees, thinking it would reduce their yield.
Farmers, however, say they are willing to adopt new techniques but cannot do it without government support as most are small-scale growers.
“It is extremely important to adopt the STS to deal with the situation,” Mir Zafarullah Talpur, a grower from Sindh’s largest mango-growing district, Mirpurkhas, told Arab News.
“The government should arrange an extensive awareness program for farmers and provide them subsidies and installment facilities so they can import modern instruments.”
Hidayatullah CHajjro, director-general at Agriculture Extension, said the provincial administration had already arranged several training sessions to raise awareness among mango growers about new farming techniques but agreed that subsidies needed to be given to farmers who wanted to import essential gadgets and machinery.
“By adopting a comprehensive approach, such as the STS, not only can we reclaim our previous production level but also enhance it further,” CHajjro said.
Shah, who introduced the new farming method to Sindh, is hopeful the trend will gain momentum in the next few years.

Riaz Haq said...

With 1.32 billion birds, #Pakistan has the world's 5th largest #poultry population. #meat #eggs #protein https://www.statista.com/statistics/263961/top-countries-worldwide-by-chicken-stock-2007/

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1408522023186227202?s=20

Riaz Haq said...

FAO on Pakistan:

Pakistan has a semi-industrialised economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector. The country’s economy was the 23rd largest in the world in 2018 in terms of nominal Gross Domestic Product (purchasing power parity, PPP).

http://www.fao.org/pakistan/our-office/pakistan-at-a-glance/en/

According to the Labour Force Survey of 2017-18 conducted by Pakistan Bureau of Statistic, thirty-nine percent of the country’s labour force is engaged in agriculture (30.2 percent males and 67.2 percent females). In total, the agriculture sector contributes 18.5 percent to the country’s GDP.
Out of the total area of 79.6 million hectares, 22.1 million hectares are cultivated; the rest of the territory is comprised of culturable waste, densely populated forests and rangelands. Cropped area constitutes 23.3 million hectares, while forests cover 4.6 million hectares of the total land. The country has the world’s largest contiguous irrigation system with almost 80 percent of the cultivated area irrigated.
Pakistan is also amongst the world’s top ten producers of wheat, cotton, sugarcane, mango, dates and kinnow oranges, and is ranked 10th in rice production. Major crops (wheat, rice, cotton and sugar cane) contribute around 4.9 per cent, while minor crops contribute 2.1 percent to the country’s total GDP.
Livestock sector contributes 11 per cent to the country’s GDP (60.5 per cent in agriculture sector) and employs approximately 35 million people. Fisheries and forestry sectors each contribute an estimated 0.4 per cent to the GDP (2.1 per cent in agriculture sector).

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan rice #exports to surge to a record this year on bumper production in the world’s No. 4 exporter & growing #Russian purchases. Pak domestic production is estimated to surge 13.6% to an all-time high of 8.4 million tons in the year ended June. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-02/pakistan-trains-sight-on-russia-to-boost-rice-exports-to-record

A jump in exports, which are likely to climb as much as 15% from a year earlier to more than 6 million tons in 2021, will be good for Pakistan as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government is trying to revive the fragile economy with the help of the International Monetary Fund, and aims to cut imports and boost overseas sales.

“We have got access to the Russian market and our exports to that region will increase by as much as 200,000 tons,” said Syed Waseem-ul-Hassan, food security commissioner at Pakistan’s national food ministry. Total exports are expected to increase by 10% to 15% this year from 2020 as the government also aims to boost shipments to regions like Africa, he said by phone.

Russia lifted its 2019 ban on purchases from Pakistan in early June after the South Asian nation strengthened its phytosanitary quality certification process for rice processing units, according to the food ministry. The government also sees increased buying from other countries in the region, such as Ukraine, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Pakistan exports rice to about 140 nations.

The resumption of rice exports to Russia is a milestone, said Malik Faisal Jahangir, senior vice chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan. Four members of the group have already complied with the Russian milling standards, and many more compliant units will be added this year, he said, noting that overseas sales are attractive due to the huge availability of rice.

Domestic production is estimated to surge 13.6% to an all-time high of 8.4 million tons in the year ended June, according to government data.

However, a rise in global supply could further pressure prices of the staple, a predominant source of nourishment for more than 3 billion people worldwide. The Asian benchmark for Thai white rice has slumped 24% since a peak in February, while rice futures in Chicago have gained only 4% during the period.

Currency Boost
A weaker local currency has also helped shippers as Pakistani rice becomes relatively cheaper for overseas buyers. The rupee fell about 3.5% against the dollar in the April-June quarter, according to Bloomberg data. It may slide further by the end of September, with high commodity and oil prices weighing on sentiment.

“A weaker rupee will benefit rice exports, which are already increasing,” said Ahsan Mehanti, chief executive officer at Arif Habib Commodities. “We see our competitors getting more impacted by Covid. This too would help Pakistan’s exports,” he said, adding that shipments of more than 6 million tons would be a record high.

India, the second-biggest grower and top exporter of rice, is just emerging from a devastating second wave of the pandemic. Some scientists say a third wave could arrive within months, driving fears the country may see a repeat of the recent nightmare of oxygen shortages and overwhelmed hospitals.

Pakistan’s successful effort this year to secure the Geographical Indication tag for its basmati rice has also helped the country to compete with India. Basmati rice exports from Pakistan surged 68% to 87,413 tons in March from a month earlier, according to official data.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Among Top 10 Producers Of Wheat, Rice, Sugarcane

https://www.bolnews.com/latest/2021/07/pakistan-among-top-10-producers-of-wheat-rice-sugarcane/


Pakistan is blessed with a rich natural resource base for agriculture and is among the top 10 producers of wheat, rice, sugarcane and certain fruits, a government official said on Wednesday.

Addressing the participants of the international conference on “Best practices for building sustainable food systems in OIC Region”, held virtually, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam said that despite having one of the world’s best alluvial soils and the best irrigation system, the country could not fully harness the potential of the agricultural sector.

The main issues of the agriculture sector included the lack of quality seeds, cold storage facilities, farm mechanisation, trained manpower, post-harvest management, processing industries, and digital agricultural platforms, etc, he added.

The minister said under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government has prioritised the agriculture sector.

“We are working to diversify this sector, by enhancing focus on high value horticultural crops, oilseeds and pulses. Our government is also taking keen interest in livestock breed improvement, water conservation and promoting farm mechanisation. We are supporting farmers by furnishing quality seeds of improved varieties, providing farm machinery at subsidised rates, and disseminating improved production packages,” Imam said.

“Due to the excellent agricultural policies of our government; despite [the] Covid pandemic and locust attack, the production of wheat, rice, maize and sugarcane has increased to a record level. This year has been remarkable for [the] agriculture sector of Pakistan, and our economy got a boost with the record agricultural production, indicating a lesser reliance on food imports in 2021/22,” he added.

Additionally, due to the government’s favourable policies and interventions, the exports of agro-commodities have also increased significantly, the minister said, adding that considering the role of the provinces, the government is also engaging diversified stakeholders as the best tactic for building a sustainable food system in Pakistan. These strategic initiatives will help improve the public health situation, which is reflecting high rates of stunting, he added.

The conference was organised by the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS) in collaboration with various international research organisations.

Riaz Haq said...

Gomal Zam Dam Makes Two Lac (200,000) Acres Land Cultivable In KP Southern Districts in Pakistan

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/gzd-makes-two-lac-acres-land-cultivable-in-kp-1358175.html

He said 200,000 acres barren land have been made cultivable in DI Khan and others southern districts of KP which means that Rs20 billion could be generated only from agriculture and 18megawatt affordable electricity in one year.

Focus are being made on food processing in agriculture sector to counter challenges related to food security, he said, adding the Government would help encourage food processing in merged areas to explore and take full advantage of its fruits and agriculture wealth.

The PM's special assistant said DI Khan, Mianwali and Bhakkar districts were going to become a hub of agriculture goods including fruits and vegetables to cater needs of every growing population including Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

Agriculture sector had achieved tremendous growth in the country where rice and maize production increased each by over 18pc, cotton by 50 and a record 100MT sugar were produced recently, adding that Rs 12,00 billion value addition were also achieved directly benefiting farmers and agriculture growers.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #agriculture #startup Tazah gets #2 million pre-seed funding. It screens produce for quality, removes rotten produce. It sorts into categories for specific types of buyers. Now it offers 5 products: ginger, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes & onions. https://tcrn.ch/3lgDm7C

The founders of Tazah Technologies, a B2B agriculture marketplace in Pakistan, met while serving leadership roles at Uber subsidiary Careem. Abrar Bajwa and Mohsin Zaka bonded during long working hours as the platform dealt with COVID-19’s impact. Eventually, the two started talking about creating their own startup. When asked how they got from ride-hailing to agri-tech, Bajwa told TechCrunch that the two grew up in farming communities. “We are from central Punjab and every family there has something to do with agriculture,” he said. “We had seen firsthand how farmers, or people who are involved in small holder farming, do not encounter social mobility based on how the deck is stacked against them.”

Agriculture is Pakistan’s biggest sector, contributing about 24% of its gross domestic product and employing half of its labor force, according to government statistics. But fragmented and complicated supply chains lead to inflated prices, food waste and low profits for farmers, all problems that Tazah wants to solve. The startup, which launched two months ago in Lahore, announced today it has raised a $2 million pre-seed round led by Global Founders Capital and Zayn Capital. Other participants included Ratio Ventures, Walled City Co, i2i Ventures, Suya Ventures, Globivest, Afropreneur Syndicate, +92 Ventures, Sunu Capital, Musha Investments and angel investors like senior executives from ride-hailing platforms Careem and Swvl, where Bajwa worked before launching Tazah.

There are currently about 300 small- to medium-sized sellers buying inventory through the platform and it moves multiple truckloads of produce per day. Right now it offers five main kinds of products: ginger, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes and onions. Tazah plans to expand into other vegetables and fruits, but wants to ensure that it can guarantee consistent supply and quality. For example, instead of just serving as a marketplace to connect farmer and buyers, Tazah also screens produce for quality, removing rotten produce. Then it sorts them into categories for specific types of buyers.

For example, potatoes are separated into ones for households, restaurants, small retailers, or to be made into French fries, based on what Bajwa and Zaka learned during market research. “We have spent months in wholesale markets, we’ve interviewed hundreds of retailers and we got to know that standardization of product is needed in Pakistan,” said Bajwa. “We get into the bottom of operations, because retailers will know what exactly is in the sack.” This has resulted in a monthly retention rate of more than 80%, and most customers buy from the platform about four times a week.

“We’re not just a box-moving operation because in one sack of potatoes, there can be multiple rotten potatoes, so you don’t want to just buy from farmers and then give to retailers. That doesn’t add a lot of value,” said Zaka. Tazah is currently focused on small to medium-sized sellers who are overlooked by fast-moving consumer goods and grocery product inventory providers because they aren’t able to buy at sufficient bulk. It’s also started talking to other customer segments, including B2C marketplaces, grocery apps and stores.

Increasing farmers’ profits and reducing food waste
Tazah’s founders say fragmented supply chains mean that about 30% to 40% of produce is wasted because they perish or are damaged each time they are unloaded, warehoused and reloaded onto a truck. The company wants to fix that by creating a shorter, more streamlined logistics infrastructure. It plans to keep costs down by working with third-party warehouse and trucking providers instead of owning its own facilities.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan #agriculture #startup Tazah gets #2 million pre-seed funding. It screens produce for quality, removes rotten produce. It sorts into categories for specific types of buyers. Now it offers 5 products: ginger, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes & onions. https://tcrn.ch/3lgDm7C


“There is the traditional supply chain and we’re building a parallel customized supply chain that is a more efficient supply chain,” said Bajwa. “It’s almost like reinventing the wheel to build a supply chain that ensures products move as fast as possible from point of harvest to point of retail.” This means Tazah will make early investments as it works with its warehousing and trucking marketplaces for middle- and last-mile deliveries, establishing best practices for how to handle produce.

Since Tazah needs to make deliveries early in the morning, it operates small fulfillment centers in addition to warehouses to stay close to customers. Part of its new funding will be used to expand its fulfillment center network in Lahore, with the goal of being operational in the entire city by the middle of October, before expanding into new regions.

Over-harvesting also contributes to food waste, and one of Tazah’s goals is to build a data and analytics platform that will help farmers plan crops to make sure there is no oversupply in the markets they serve. Farmers typically sell their produce at markets, occasionally forming groups with other farmers. But they don’t have a lot of information about market places and supply/demand beyond their communities. They also often end up in debt to middlemen because they lack access to working capital.

While Tazah is currently focused on its supply chain work, it plans to eventually add financing options for farmers after doing research, like going through several more procurement cycles to understand what how much capital farmers need and how they are able to repay it. Some of the barriers they face include lack of formal credit histories or access to financial institutions that usually don’t open branches in rural areas. Sometimes they borrow working capital from intermediaries in the supply chain, or loan sharks who charge interest rates of more than 60%, creating cycles of indebtedness.

“Financing is something we are aggressively looking after because it’s a future play for us and we are working with farmers to know what they are doing, and how they are actually getting financing,” said Zaka.

Tazah’s founders hope to see more startups emerge to solve problems for Pakistan’s farmers. “Agriculture has been a mostly ignored sector in Pakistan from a technology perspective, and I think that as more people come into this, they’re going to help each other, as opposed to competing with each other,” said Bajwa. “We feel that as more people come in, it will be better because it will accelerate the problem solving in this very difficult space.

He added, “this is such a large space in Pakistan and it’s so inefficient that if we are even able to make a small dent, it’s going to lead to social uplift for hundreds or possibly thousands of farmers, improve the availability of fresh produce, result in less food tasted and reduce food price inflation.”

Riaz Haq said...

Bumper #cotton crop and high global prices to help #Pakistani farmers this year. National rough estimates put cotton production between 7.5 and 8.5 million bales.Cotton price has surged to Rs14,500 per maund. #agriculture #economy #Pakistan #textiles https://www.dawn.com/news/1650366

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1445783179051163655?s=20

National rough estimates put cotton production between 7.5 and 8.5 million bales against the official estimates of 10.5 million bales. The country will need to import around 5.0 million bales to meet demand of the local textile industry.

Cotton surges to Rs14,500 per maund

LAHORE: A bullish trend again gripped the cotton market on Tuesday as white lint rate hit Rs14,500 per maund for the third time during the current season.

Brokers say the main reason behind the hike in local white lint rate is reports that cotton futures in the New York market are trading at their highest price in a decade.

Naseem Usman, Karachi Cotton Brokers Forum chief, says that New York cotton futures traded at $1.07 on Monday, sending a panic wave among the textile industry relying heavily on imported lint after failure of the local crop year after year.

He says that local cotton rates are likely to go further up in line with the surge in New York future prices amid heavy buying by China. Pakistan imports cotton from the US, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, South Africa and Central Asian States to meet requirements of its textile industry.


Mr Usman says increasing disparity among dollar and rupee, recent spell of rains in Punjab’s cotton belt, reports of white-fly, mealybug and pink bollworm attacks as well as unavailability of latest reliable data about the crop size are adding to the worries of the local buyers.

Punjab produces 80 per cent of cotton in the country. It had fallen short of the crop sowing target as only 3.1 million acres against the target of 4.0 million acres could be sown for the 2021-22 season. National rough estimates put cotton production between 7.5 and 8.5 million bales against the official estimates of 10.5 million bales. The country will need to import around 5.0 million bales to meet demand of the local textile industry.

Ijaz Ahmed Rao, a cotton grower from Lodhran, says those who have sown the crop early in the season are harvesting 40 to 50 maunds per acre, while the average yield of other growers has been estimated at 25 to 30 maunds.

Responding to a query, he says that pink bollworm and climatic conditions have hit the lint production. “In the desert area, the crop apparently looks healthy with a good number and size of balls. But, when one opens a ball, it’s found to be pink.”

In some areas, he says, a fungus has hit the plants making them look burnt out. Seemingly the difference in atmospheric and soil temperatures has damaged the crop, he adds.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan faces an existential crisis with fast melting glaciers. It has more glaciers outside of the polar icecaps than anywhere on earth. The glaciers feed one of the oldest and most fertile valleys on the planet. #water #agriculture #food https://aje.io/rnedz9 via @AJEnglish


The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its latest report in August 2021, on the heels of one of the hottest and most devastating summers on record: floods in northern Europe and China, wildfires in the US, and heatwaves everywhere.

The report tells us that the consequences of the current global warming crisis are largely irreversible. The most we can do is to prevent all-out ecological collapse.

One of the more sobering findings of the report is that polar and mountain glaciers are likely going to continue to melt, irreversibly, for decades or centuries to come.

Pakistan has more glaciers outside of the polar icecaps than anywhere on earth. The glaciers feed one of the oldest and most fertile valleys on the planet – that of the Indus Basin, split between India and Pakistan. Roughly 75 percent of Pakistan’s 216 million population is settled on the banks of the Indus River. Its five largest urban centres are entirely dependent on the river for industrial and domestic water.

Pakistan has been blessed with regular agricultural cycles that have sustained its economy through successive crises. However, if the IPCC Report is correct – which it almost certainly is – by 2050, the country will be out of water.

Pakistan is not the only low-income country facing the impacts of climate change. It is not alone in looking on helplessly as industrialised nations – China and the US being the foremost – drag their heels on lowering emissions. Pakistan, like the Maldives and many other island nations, will suffer from the consequences of global warming disproportionately. However, unlike many countries that have taken up the issue of global emissions at the UN, Pakistan is not doing even the bare minimum to try and secure its future.

To say that this is the largest security issue the country will face in the next few decades would be putting it mildly. No other country is as dependent on non-polar ice for freshwater as Pakistan. No other country stands to lose as much. Yet, Pakistan’s government seems singularly unaware of the looming crisis. It has not even made much effort to meet its target of producing 60 percent of its electrical power from renewable sources by 2030. At the moment, the country still gets well over 60 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels.

Pakistan is already facing mounting environmental challenges. Heatwaves are killing scores of people and impacting crop cycles and yields on a regular basis. This year, both its largest city Karachi and its capital city Islamabad experienced devastating floods. Furthermore, the 806-kilometre (500-mile) Karakoram Highway, which is a critical part of Pakistan’s economic corridor with China, was shut down multiple times, for multiple days, due to landslides. These devastating landslides were a direct result of large-scale deforestation in the area north of Kohistan and south of Jaglot. Further north towards Shimshal and east towards the Skardu Valley, timber mafias are rapidly stripping old-growth forests, all but guaranteeing future environmental catastrophes.




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Today, Pakistan is facing an existential crisis. The effects of climate change are not threatening a single sector or region of the country, but the lives and livelihoods of its entire population. As this year’s IPCC report underlined, we are, sadly, already too late to reverse the damage caused by the rampant consumption of fossil fuels. The choice we are facing now – in Pakistan and around the world – is to continue on a path to certain destruction, or start fighting for our collective survival.