Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Solving Pakistan's Sugar Crisis

World raw sugar futures hit a 28-year high of 23.52 cents a pound last week as the fears of a bad sugarcane harvest grew stronger. The key background factor is the continuing scarce supply scenario in the global market because of weather factors, particularly in India, the second largest producer of sugarcane, according to the Wall Street Journal. While India is dealing with too little monsoon rain, the largest sugar producer Brazil is being hurt by too much rain.

At 4.89 million tons of annual sugar production, Pakistan is the tenth largest sugar producer in the world, and yet it has to import sugar, exposing it to the effects of sugar shortages and rising prices in the world. Pakistanis consume over 25 Kg of sugar per person versus India's 20Kg. Sugar cost Rs 25 per Kg (30 US cents) at the start of 2009 and now costs more than Rs 50, says independent economic analyst A.B. Shahid. This doubling of the price is likely to further enrich the large number of sugar producing politicians who are already rich and powerful.

The most pessimistic estimates show a 23 percent decline in sugar crop production this year. While last year Pakistan produced 4.7 million tons, farmers are on track to produce 3.2 million tons this year. That means a severe shortfall as annual national consumption is 4.2 million tons.

Both sugar production and per capita consumption as well as overall calorie intake have been rising in Pakistan. In the last four decades, per capita calorie intake in Pakistan has grown from 1750-2450 (kilo)calories with an average annual growth rate of 0.90%. Nevertheless, 20% of Pakistan's population is still undernourished. Sugar consumption has been showing an increasing trend for the last 15 years. It has increased from 2.89 million tons in 1995-96 to 3.95 million tons in 2005-06. One of the many reasons behind this increase is rise in the total population of the country, which has reached 170 million. The per capita sugar consumption data shows that it has also risen from 22.2 kg in 1995 to 25.8 kg in 2004-05. For 2008-09, the overall sugar consumption is forecast at over 4 million tons, which is less than the target production. But the government is importing about 300,000 tons of sugar to ensure availability of sufficient stock to cover any shortfalls from the usual smuggling to Afghanistan which remains a fact of life in Pakistan.

In addition to relatively large per capita sugar consumption, Pakistanis also consume significantly higher amounts of meat, poultry and milk products than other South Asian nations, getting more protein and almost half their daily, per capita calorie intake from non-food-grain sources.

The fact that Pakistanis have a sweet tooth is not lost on the nation's ruling elite, particularly the powerful political families and the Pakistani military. While the military owns Fauji sugar mills, more than 50% of the sugar in Pakistan is produced in sugar mills owned by the most powerful politicians of all major parties and their families.

Multiple sources indicate that the mills owned by President Asif Ali Zardari’s family and the ruling PPP leaders include Ansari Sugar Mills, Mirza Sugar Mills, Pangrio Sugar Mills, Sakrand Sugar Mills and Kiran Sugar Mills. Ashraf Sugar mills is owned by PPP leader and incumbent ZTBL President Ch Zaka Ashraf.

The media reports also indicate Kamalia Sugar Mills and Layyah Sugar Mills are owned by PML-N leaders. Former minister Abbas Sarfaraz is the owner of five out of six sugar mills in the NWFP. Nasrullah Khan Dareshak owns Indus Sugar Mills while Jahangir Khan Tareen has two sugar mills; JDW Sugar Mills and United Sugar Mills. PML-Q leader Anwar Cheema owns National Sugar Mills while Chaudhrys family is or was the owner of Pahrianwali Sugar Mills as it is being heard that they have sold the said mills. Senator Haroon Akhtar Khan owns Tandianwala Sugar Mills while Pattoki Sugar Mills is owned by Mian Mohammad Azhar, former Governor Punjab. PML-F leader Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmood owns Jamaldin Wali Sugar Mills. Chaudhry Muneer owns two mills in Rahimyar Khan district and Ch Pervaiz Elahi and former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khusro Bakhtiar have shares in these mills.

Among other basic food commodities, per million population wheat consumption in Pakistan is 115,000 metric tons versus 63,000 metric tons in India, according to published data.

According to the FAO, the average dairy consumption of the developing countries is still very low (45 kg of all dairy products in liquid milk equivalent), compared with the average of 220 kg in the industrial countries. Few developing countries have per capita consumption exceeding 150 kg (Argentina, Uruguay and some pastoral countries in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Africa). Among the most populous countries, only Pakistan, at 153 kg per capita, has such a level. In South Asia, where milk and dairy products are preferred foods, India has only 64 kg and Bangladesh 14 kg. East Asia has only 10 kg.

While it remains very low by world standards, meat and poultry consumption has also increased significantly in Pakistan over the last decade. Per capita availability of eggs went from 23 in 1991 to 43 in 2005, according to research by N. Daghir. Per capita meat consumption in Pakistan now stands at 12.4 Kg versus India's 4.6 Kg.

In spite of South Asia's growing horticulture industry, the intake of fruits and vegetables in India and Pakistan is surprisingly low at less than 100 grams per day per capita, according to the World Health Organization. This figure is far lower than the 300 grams of fruits and vegetables per person in Australia, EU and the US.

In spite of the fact that there is about 22% malnutrition in Pakistan, the average per capita calorie intake of about 2500 calories is within normal range. But the nutritional balance necessary for good health appears to be lacking in Pakistanis' dietary habits. One way to alleviate the sugar crisis in Pakistan is to reduce sugar consumption and substitute it with greater intake of fruits and vegetables. There is an urgent need for better health and nutritional education through strong public-private partnership to promote healthier eating in Pakistan.

Here is a video clip about sugar crisis:

Related Links:

Agricultural Diversification in South Asia

Nutrition in Pakistan

FAO Report on Food Consumption Patterns

Wheat Consumption in India and Pakistan

World of Sugar

Pakistan's Livestock Farming


Anita said...

How sure are you about your ownership figures? I just got mine from an article in The Nation (which looks like what you have below, unattributed.. let me know if you got the ownership list from somewhere else).. but because these were secondary sources and I was not privy to the methodology the news paper used, we did not feel we could name names..

My economist in my sugar package (did you catch it?) said he thought sugar businesses in the hands of the elite and politically powerful topped 80%... much more than 50%..

the figs of per capita sugar consumption vs fruit and veg are truly dismaying - there's a serious health crisis coming for sure. I'd love to run those figs across a variety of nations and see how they compare.. Turkey for example (where I am now) eats a much higher proportion of fruits and veg.. I would guess...

Riaz Haq said...

Several new reports from multiple sources including the Nation, Business Recorder and Aaj TV are naming names, some of which have been confirmed by PML politicians blaming the PPP for the crisis. And there are counter accusations.

It's an open secret that the sugar cartel is operated by members of the ruling elite who know what it means to have sweet tooth.

As to percentages,some the largest mills are owned by the politicians and , by virtue of their size, the output probably exceeds 50% of total output, maybe closer to 80%.

Turkey's fruits/vegs consumption might be closer to the Mediterranean nations' that typically consume more of them. My biggest surprize is how low it is in India, where both dairy and meats consumption is also very low...consideraby lower than Pakistan's.

Riaz Haq said...

The BBC is reporting about the growing sugar crisis in India as follows:

Sugar canes are half the size they should be due to lack of rain

India, the world's largest consumer of sugar, is facing a crisis because of a massive fall in domestic production and a sharp increase in the price of raw sugar worldwide.

The timing could not have been worse - at the onset of the festival season which is a time when the demand for sugar peaks.

It's led to concern all round - for farmers struggling with a weak output, for ordinary Indians who are having to fork out more for their purchases to the owners of traditional sweet shops. ..............................
"We simply cannot do without something sweet at the end of our meal."

But that fondness for sugar is now making a major dent in household expenses.

"We used to buy sugar at 25 rupees ($0.5) a kilo but it's already about 35 rupees ($0.72) and going up all the time," says another customer.

"It's bad news for the sweet-shop owners as well.

"We're being forced to raise the prices of our sweets but it's not enough to cover the increase," says manager Harsha Kumar.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a report in Dawn today about how the Sharif brothers, waiting the wing to grab power, engaged in "money laundering", according to Ishaq Dar, a close associate and PML leader:

NAB Court documents have recently emerged which show that Senator Dar made some interesting revelations in an accountability court in April 2000.

The court was hearing the famous Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif brothers.

The 43-page confessional statement of Senator Ishaq Dar was recorded on April 25th 2000 before the District Magistrate Lahore. Dar was produced before the court by the then Assistant Director Basharrat M Shahzad, of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Dar, in his statement had admitted that he had been handling the money matters of the Sharif family and he also alleged that Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif were involved in money laundering worth at least $14.886 million.

The statement by Senator Ishaq Dar is irrevocable as it was recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Senator Ishaq Dar is a high-profile PML-N leader and has always been considered close to the Sharif brothers as his son, Ali Dar, is married to Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Asma.

But in April 2000 the top PML-N leadership had hit a rough patch by then and some of their loyal lieutenants were busy developing a new political system for General (retired) Pervez Musharraf after his October 1999 military coup.

In this context, Ishaq Dar accused Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.

Interestingly, Ishaq Dar also implicated himself by confessing in the court that he – along with his friends Kamal Qureshi and Naeem Mehmood – had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks.

He said that the entire amount in these banks finally landed in the accounts of Hudaibiya Paper Mills Limited.

Senator Ishaq Dar was the main witness against Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif in the case.

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills case is still pending in the National Accountability Bureau.

Since the statement made by Dar was recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the statement has become a permanent part of the case against the top PML-N leaders.

If the case is opened again, the Sharif brothers may discover that the tightening noose around them was originally prepared by one of their own family members and trusted lieutenant Senator Ishaq Dar.—DawnNews


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report in Daily Times indicating sugar crisis could affect pharma industry in Pakistan:

Former chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Pharmaceuticals Dr Mushtaq Noorwala, expressing serious concern over the continuing crisis of sugar in the country, has cautioned that pharmaceuticals industry and other industries using sugar as raw material will be badly affected.

If availability of sugar at low price is not ensured for the pharmaceuticals sector in the country, there will be shortage of medicine in the country, which will create serious problems especially for the common man. Besides, a large number of people engaged with this industry will be rendered jobless, he said in a statement.

Dr Noorwala regretted that despite directives of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the government’s stance about availability of huge sugar stock in the country, the commodity is sold at an un-affordably high price and is not easily available to the public.

He suggested that sugar could be sold by hawkers also to save the people from standing in long queues in front of the utility stores.

He was of the opinion that some elements by creating artificial crisis of sugar or wheat flour were actually defaming and creating trouble for the PPP-led government.

He also appealed to the consumers of soft-drinks, ice-creams, sweets, confectionery etc, to cut their consumption for saving sugar and thus contribute in bringing down its price. app


Riaz Haq said...

How many hundreds of millions of poor Indians are there? asks the NY Times:

Nobody can argue that India has hundreds of millions of poor people and that the government should help them. What remains a matter of significant dispute, however, is just how many poor people there are in India.

The government Planning Commission estimates that 27.5 percent of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, which is calculated based on how much it would cost to buy 2,400 calories a day in rural areas and 2,100 in urban areas. (City dwellers are thought to exert less energy, so they should need to consume less.)

Many have challenged the way India measures poverty. The latest complaint came last week when a commission appointed by the country’s Supreme Court said the number of people living in poverty is probably at least 50 percent, because it asserts that the Planning Commission poverty line has been wrong for years because it does not properly adjust for the rise in food prices.

The difference is not merely technical.

A high poverty line means that the federal government has to give state governments more money for various anti-poverty programs. Even the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, acknowledged recently that higher measures of poverty could be tough on government finances, which are already severely strained.

Regardless of whether or not people can buy the requisite calories, data from a national survey taken every five years shows that most Indians are indeed not consuming 2,400 (or 2,100) calories each day, and many are now consuming less than they used to 10 years ago. The poorest 25 percent of Indians now consume 1,624 calories, from 1,683.

Moreover, most of the calories consumed by the poor come from cereals, whereas the diet of the rich includes more meat, vegetables, fruit and other foods with higher nutritional value.

Perhaps even more distressing is the finding by the Supreme Court panel that more than half of the country’s poorest 20 percent of people do not have the cards that identify them as poor and are necessary to access public welfare plans. At the same time, about 17 percent of the richest Indians have such cards.

Riaz Haq said...

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) by US Dept of Agriculture (USDA) is for 2000 calories per day with 55% cabs, 30% fat and 15% protein.

According to chartsbin.com, South Asians have the following calorie intake and composition:

India Pakistan

2300 Cal 2250 Cal

71% Carbs 63% Carbs

10% Protein 10% Protein

19% Fat 27% Fat

Riaz Haq said...

Why is fat important in our diets?

Fat has many important functions as a nutrient. It is a concentrated source of energy and provides essential building blocks for the cells in the body. Fat is a carrier for fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and it contains the essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6). It is also needed by the body to support natural growth, and for the maintenance of healthy skin, reproduction, immune function and development of the brain and visual systems. Dietary fat also improves the taste and texture of food.


A fascinating new study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that dietary fat is necessary for the absorption of nutrients from fruits and vegetables. In the study, people who consumed salads with fat-free salad dressing absorbed far less of the helpful phytonutrients and vitamins from spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots than those who consumed their salads with a salad dressing containing fat.

This is interesting research, but not necessarily all that surprising. We've known for a long time that healthy fats are a critical part of a healthy diet, and that avoiding fats actually causes chronic disease. The key is in choosing the right kind of fats for your diet and making sure you don't overdo the fats, because fats have a very high caloric density and can add far more calories to your meal than you might expect.

In this study, the focus was on eating salads with either fat-free salad dressing or regular salad dressing containing fat in the form of canola oil. However, these findings apply to far more than just eating salads. Every meal that you consume should contain healthy fats, even if only in small portions. What are the healthy fats? Canola oil is what I consider a neutral fat, meaning it's not necessarily a bad fat, but neither is it considered one of the healthier fats. The healthy fats include extra-virgin olive oil, flax seed oil, and fats from plant sources such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts. These healthy fats should be consumed with every meal. Failure to include these fats in a meal will result in many of the nutrients consumed during the meal not being absorbed by the body. That's because many nutrients are fat-soluble nutrients. Beta carotene, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E are three such nutrients that require fat in order to be absorbed and used by the human body, but there are many other nutrients that also need fats for human metabolism.


We now know that this advice from the American Heart Association was, in effect, causing extreme nutritional deficiencies and actually reducing the life span of heart patients rather than helping them. Such is the case with information from many so-called disease organizations, such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Personally, I wouldn't listen to nutritional advice from any association that is so politically motivated and receives funding from pharmaceutical companies, as both of those organizations do.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/001545.html#ixzz1N2Dr0Jhj

Riaz Haq said...

Sugar mills have been one of the vehicles of political patronage in Pakistan.

In an August 2011, Zulfiqa Mirza told the media that "Asif Zardari is so generous that if you gave himn a glass of water he'd give you a sugar mill".

In Mirza's case this is definitely true as he himself admitted that he had received the permit to install his sugar mill with the help of Asif Ali Zardari, according to Daily Times.

In a Friday Times Op Ed in Sept 2011, Najam Sethi wrote that "Mr Mirza owes his great wealth (sugar mills sanctioned during the PPP's two stints in power) and power (his wife is the Speaker of the National Assembly) to Mr Zardari's largesse".

No wonder so many politicians own sugar mills that they dominate the business and control its supply and prices to enrich themselves.

The fact that Pakistanis have a sweet tooth is not lost on the nation's ruling elite, particularly the powerful political families and the Pakistani military. While the military owns Fauji sugar mills, more than 50% of the sugar in Pakistan is produced in sugar mills owned by the most powerful politicians of all major parties and their families.

Multiple sources indicate that the mills owned by President Asif Ali Zardari’s family and the ruling PPP leaders include Ansari Sugar Mills, Mirza Sugar Mills, Pangrio Sugar Mills, Sakrand Sugar Mills and Kiran Sugar Mills. Ashraf Sugar mills is owned by PPP leader and incumbent ZTBL President Ch Zaka Ashraf.

The media reports also indicate Kamalia Sugar Mills and Layyah Sugar Mills are owned by PML-N leaders. Former minister Abbas Sarfaraz is the owner of five out of six sugar mills in the NWFP. Nasrullah Khan Dareshak owns Indus Sugar Mills while Jahangir Khan Tareen has two sugar mills; JDW Sugar Mills and United Sugar Mills. PML-Q leader Anwar Cheema owns National Sugar Mills while Chaudhrys family is or was the owner of Pahrianwali Sugar Mills as it is being heard that they have sold the said mills. Senator Haroon Akhtar Khan owns Tandianwala Sugar Mills while Pattoki Sugar Mills is owned by Mian Mohammad Azhar, former Governor Punjab. PML-F leader Makhdoom Ahmad Mehmood owns Jamaldin Wali Sugar Mills. Chaudhry Muneer owns two mills in Rahimyar Khan district and Ch Pervaiz Elahi and former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khusro Bakhtiar have shares in these mills.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting comparison between the coffee elite of Central America and sugar elite of Pakistan by Dr. Adeel Malik in The News:

In his famous book, Coffee and Power, Jeffrey Paige provides a vivid illustration of how a single commodity, coffee, is sufficient to explain the power structure of Central America. Despite the varying political complexions of its regimes, Central America has one thing in common: they are all ruled by coffee elites. For decades, Central America's coffee elites have thrived on state patronage, rent seeking, and distortion of private markets. As Jeffrey Paige concludes, these elites have generated in this process "unprecedented wealth for the few at the expense of the general impoverishment of the many". Despite this, the coffee elites have been remarkably resilient in Central America, surviving periods of both revolutions and authoritarian rule.

In terms of its links with political power, sugar is Pakistan's parallel for coffee. Sugar industry is Pakistan's second largest agro-based industry. Its linkage with politics, patronage and protection sets it apart from other industries. Available evidence suggests that it is economically inefficient, enjoys one of the highest rates of protection, and is dominated by a small number of political influential owners, making it an excellent illustration of the interconnection between business and politics. The analysis of sugar markets in Pakistan, and their manipulation therefore opens up a fascinating window into how the economic interests of our political elites are strongly entrenched in the current power structure. The operation of sugar markets in Pakistan offers a telling story of how both markets and public policy are routinely captured by vested political interests.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a Unilever report on ice cream consumption in Pakistan:

0.5 liters consumption per capita but growing at double digit rate


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani millers are seeking permission from the government to export up to 500,000 tonnes of refined sugar as they are expecting bumper production, according to Dawn news:

Pakistan’s annual sugar consumption is about 4.2 million tonnes, and export of the sweetener has been banned for nearly three years due to reduced output. But this year, the country is expecting about 5 million tonnes from the 2011/12 crop, with carryover stocks of up to 600,000 tonnes, Javed Kayani, chairman of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA), told Reuters.

“Even after meeting domestic needs and maintaining strategic stocks, Pakistan could still export up to 500,000 tonnes of refined sugar, and there will be no shortage in the country,” Kayani said.

“This will also help us make payments to growers and meet our financial obligations in time, as the government is delaying a decision to buy sugar from local mills,” he added.

Government officials were not immediately available to comment.

The state-run Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) on Friday re-issued a tender to buy 200,000 tonnes of white sugar from local mills in a bid to cut cost after domestic prices fell in recent weeks to around 55 rupees ($0.61) per kg from about 70 rupees in November.

The tender was originally issued on Nov. 3. The government buys sugar every year for its strategic reserves and for its subsidy scheme. A growers’ body, Agri Forum Pakistan, has asked the government to either buy sugar from local mills or allow them to export so that they can pay outstanding dues to farmers.

If exports are allowed, Pakistani sugar would add to plentiful global supplies.

ICE raw sugar futures slipped to a 6-1/2-month low on Thursday. March white sugar futures on Liffe lost $1.40 to finish at $596.30 per tonne in modest volume of around 3,550 lots.

Pakistan had to import about 1.2 million tonnes of sugar last year after production fell to 3.1 million tonnes from the 2009/10 crop, when many farmers switched to more profitable crops.

The country, however, produced, 4.1 million tonnes of refined sugar in 2010/11 (July-June) year despite devastating floods in 2010.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan produces 13.67 million tones of fruits and vegetables per annum, according to Online News:

An official told Online on Tuesday out of which about 25 per cent goes waste, between farms to consumers, while only 4 per cent is exported at far 41 per cent lower price compared to world average price.

The horticulture sector contributes about 12 per cent to the national agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and holds great potential for increasing export of quality horticultural produce, and offering multiple employment opportunities throughout the supply chain, he added.

The official said, “However, its growth & profitability is restrained mainly by lack of proper post harvest management and transport infrastructure. Improving post harvest management infrastructure (grading, packing, storage and transport/cold-chain) will help reduce high post harvest losses, increase production surplus along with improving shelf life and quality of fresh produce, which will help to stabilize prices in domestic markets as well as to substantially boost export to highly lucrative and competitive international markets.”

It is pertinent to mention here that Ministry of Commerce had decided to establish a “Cool Chain System” under “National Trade Corridor Improvement Project”. The Cool Chain project is bound act as a backbone for the development of supply chain infrastructure for horticulture produce.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on Pakistan sugar production 2011-12:

The country will produce 4.735 million tonnes of sugar in the crushing season of 2011-12 and the carryover stock of 0.5 million tonnes of sugar will take the total to 5.2 million tonnes. Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) members stated this during a meeting of the Sugar Advisory Board held in the Ministry of Industries, which was chaired by the Ministry of Industries additional secretary on Monday.

Trading Corporation of Pakistan chairman, Punjab Food secretary, representatives of Cane Commissioners of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, State Bank of Pakistan officials, PSMA members and representatives of the sugarcane growers associations attended the meeting. The representatives of the provinces provided the meeting with the statistics about the sugar produced and the estimated production in this crushing season which will end by around March 20 in Northern Punjab and KP and by March 25 in Southern Punjab and Sindh.

It was informed that Punjab has crushed 2.7 million tonnes of sugar, Sindh 1.027 million tonnes and KP 0.275 million tonnes. Representatives of the PSMA informed that the keeping in view the current average daily production of sugar and the sugarcane available with the growers, Punjab is expected to produce 3.1 million tonnes of sugar, Sindh 1.26 million tonnes and KP 0.375 million tonnes.

The association suggested that the government should procure 0.4 million tonnes of sugar from the domestic market instead of importing the sugar at a higher price. The ministry said that the recommendations of this meeting would be discussed at the higher forum for further decision.


Riaz Haq said...

There's a report in ET claiming research at UAF that Pakistanis are now 4 in shorter than in 1960s.

This finding does not appear to be credible.

All anecdotal evidence suggests that most Pakistani children are growing up to be taller than their parents. All one has to do is keep one's eyes open & observe.

The average height in Pakistan of 20 yrs old males is now 5' 6" vs 5' 4" in India. If one is to believe this "research", then one must also believe that the avg height in Pakistan in 1960s was 5' 10'' which is simply untrue based on all known evidence, anecdotal or otherwise.

In addition, if worsening malnutrition were indeed an issue, the life expectancy in Pakistan would not have doubled since independence. Published data shows that life expectancy in Pakistan has jumped from 32 years in 1947 to 67 years in 2009, and per Capita inflation-adjusted PPP income has risen from $766 in 1948 to $2603 in 2009.



Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of ET story on Pakistan's commercial dairy business:

Economies of scale were the key to JK Dairies’ strategy, and not just in the number of animals. The company imported some of the finest milk breeds from Australia in order to improve output per animal. And it was smart in terms of the kind of cows it imported too.

Many dairy farmers have made the mistake of simply looking up which cows yield the most amount of milk per lactation and import them into their farms in Pakistan, not realising that most of those breeds are not suited to the Pakistani climate.

JK Dairies imported the Australian Friesian-Sahiwal, a breed that was created by the Australian state of Queensland in the 1960s by crossing the Sahiwal cow (named after the city in Punjab where it is from) and the Friesian breed to produce a new cross-breed that combines the sturdiness of the Sahiwal with the lactation prowess of the Friesian.

The average Sahiwal cow (still common in many parts of the Punjab), produces about 2,270 litres of milk per lactation. The Friesian Sahiwal breed produces over 3,000 litres per lactation, about 32% higher. Since then, the company has been cross-breeding the Friesian and Jersey breeds of cows that are also part of its stock with local breeds to produce better milk-giving animals that are suited to the local environment.

“We can compete with the world only by experimenting with the latest available technologies, and that’s what we are doing,” Tareen said.

JK Dairies employs a lot of foreign staff, particularly from East Asia, since Tareen feels that local universities do not have enough graduates who are familiar with global best practices in agriculture and livestock. In addition, the company does not use fodder, a common local practise and instead uses multi-cut seeds, which not only can be produced year-round but also help the cows enhance their milk production.

The company then markets its milk through various techniques, including retail outlets in Lahore as well as a home delivery service. But the bulk of JK Dairies’ sales go to Nestle Pakistan, the largest food company in the country and the owner of Milkpak, the leading brand of packaged milk.
...Tareen appears highly bullish on the livestock sector, which constitutes about 11% of Pakistan’s GDP and employs about 17% of the workforce, including most of the poorest people in the country. “The livestock sector of Pakistan can singlehandedly became a game changer for our economy.”

Others agree. “If Pakistan were to improve its overall milk yields by just 15%, it would displace New Zealand as the largest exporter of milk in the world,” said Ian Donald, the outgoing CEO of Nestle Pakistan.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistanis consume over 170 Kg of milk per capita and it's growing, according to FAO.


Growing milk consumption can help reduce malnutrition in Pakistan.

Here's a story illustrating the value of milk in reducing malnutrition in Africa:

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran kept a promise she made to WFP-supported Rilima health centre last July by giving two cows worth 1,360,000 Frw to help reduce malnutrition among poor communities in the area.

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran kept a promise she made to WFP-supported Rilima health centre last July by giving two cows worth 1,360,000 Frw to help reduce malnutrition among poor communities in the area.

The milk produced by the cows will be used to feed severely malnourished children and breast feeding mothers. “The health centre expects to get 50 litres of milk to feed over 200 malnourished children per day,” says Pascal Habyarimana assistant director of the health centre.
Rilima nutrition centre assists more than 37,000 people in the area. WFP provides monthly fortified supplementary food to malnourished children under the age of five years and malnourished pregnant or nursing women.

“Since 2009, more than 20,000 malnourished children have been supported and recovered from malnutrition", says WFP Rwanda Country Director Abdoulaye Balde. "WFP will continue to provide relevant suport to reduce malnutrition among poor communities in Rilima sector”.
Parents and nursing women come to the centre not only to collect fortified food provided by WFP but also to be trained on good nutrition practices. Training is focused mainly on balanced meals, hygiene, disease prevention and family planning.
The idea is that, after receiving assistance from nutritoon centres, parents can become agents for change in their communities with the help of a a trained community health worker.

Local mothers are currently learning how to organize vegetable gardens at home. A garden can be established on a small plot and maintained with waste water from the kitchen. The nutrition centre itself has a model garden and vegetables from it are used for cooking demonstrations.
In partnership with World Vision and Rilima health centre, beneficiaries are encouraged to develop good cooking practice at home and share them with their neighbours.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a 2009 Dawn article by Anand Kumar on edible oil consumption in South Asia:

despite being such a huge consumer of edible oil, per capita consumption of vegetable oil is still very low in India, around 12 to 13 kg (it was 10 kg in 2001). In contrast, per capita consumption of edible oil is around 20 kg in Pakistan and China. However, with rapid urbanisation and a burgeoning middle-class, besides growing health consciousness, demand for refined vegetable oil is expected to climb sharply in the future.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's another Indian report (2008) on edible oil consumption:

Vegetable oil consumption in the country is continuously
rising and has sharply increased in
the last couple of years to roughly 11.2 kg/head/year. This is still lower than the world average
consumption level of 17.8 kg and that in neighbouring countries like Pakistan (16.1 kg).

The developed western world has a per capita consumption of 44 to 48 kg/year. According to projections from the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER), per capita consumption of edible oils is likely to reach 13.95, 14.83 and 16.17 kg by 2009-2010 if per capita income grows by 4%, 5% and 6% respectively.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's Economic Times' report on Pakistan sugar exports:

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Pakistan has allowed the export of an extra 200,000 tonnes of sugar, on top of the 300,000 tonnes already allowed, as the government aims to trim surplus stocks and bolster local prices.

Higher stocks and expectations of robust output next year encouraged the Islamabad government to allow the export of the additional sugar, Ali Raza Bashir, spokesman for the Finance Ministry, said, though the permission was for less than had been sought.

"There was a request to allow (extra) exports of 400,000 tonnes but the cabinet gave its permission for 200,000," Shunaid Qureshi, chairman of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, said by telephone.

The move came as neighbour India sealed deals to import about 5,000 tonnes of white sugar, despite expectations of a domestic surplus, as some traders seek to capitalise on lower prices in Pakistan and higher prices in India.

In Pakistan, sugar output in the crop year starting Oct. 1 is likely to remain steady at last year's level of around 4.7 million tonnes, Qureshi said.

The country's sugar consumption is between 4 million tonnes and 4.2 million and it started the 2012/13 year with around 400,000 tonnes of stock, said a dealer in Karachi who declined to be named.

Most sugar so far has gone to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and east Africa.

"These countries will again show interest due to lower prices. Millers in Pakistan want cash to start the crushing season ... They can give discounts to world prices," the dealer said.


A New Delhi-based trader, who did not wish to be named, said: "The (Indian) traders who have contracted imports from Pakistan perhaps found the FOB price of $545 per tonne attractive enough to buy.

"They stand to gain $15 to $20 a tonne after paying a duty of 10 percent," the trader added.

The sugar price in western India is around $680 per tonne, while in northern and eastern parts of the country it is as high as $720.

India, the world's top consumer and the biggest producer behind Brazil, has been an exporter for the past two years. Exports in the year to September 2012 totalled 3.3 million tonnes.

Traders in India, which levies a 10 percent tax on sugar imports, have booked whites from Pakistan for delivery at the eastern Haldia port, a second Indian trader said.

India is expected to have a small exportable surplus in 2012/13, though higher production costs could make it difficult to find buyers at prices acceptable to mills.

Last month, Indian mills signed deals to buy up to 450,000 tonnes of Brazilian raw sugar because of the attractive gap between domestic and overseas prices.

The strengthening Indian rupee and a wide gap between Indian and Pakistani prices made these deals attractive, said a Mumbai-based trader with a global trading firm.

India could buy more for delivery in October and November to meet higher festival demand, traders said.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Fresh Plaza news report on fruits and vegetables production in Pakistan:

Pakistan produces over 14 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables of which almost one-third is wasted and never reaches the consumer. High post-harvest losses not only lower incomes of producers and traders, but also reduce the quantity available in local market as well as for export. Despite large production, our fresh produce exports are negligible (three per cent) and also fetch lower prices in international markets. So far Pakistani exporters have not been able to penetrate into high end supermarket chains, which account for about 80 per cent of the fruits and vegetables sales in the EU and other developed countries. Mango export earns about $24 million annually and around 60-70 per cent of good quality varieties is exported to the Middle East and 15-16 per cent to Europe.

The export of fresh produce, particularly mango is limited by enormous cost of air freight as compared to sea freight. The interest in sea freighting of mangoes is growing and probably it is the only commercially viable option for export to distant places in the future. However, it needs extended time and specific protocols to be developed for maintaining fruit quality, which is only possible using Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Technology. Mangoes from South America are being successfully shipped to the EU using CA Technology. Looking at the need and demand of the sector, Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) initiated a project on “Exploiting Control Atmosphere Technology potential for extended storage and shipping of fresh produce to international markets”. The project was managed by Dr Aman Ullah Malik, Professor of Horticulture, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) to increase shelf life of fresh vegetables and fruits for the export to distant markets.

The project was executed with collaboration of National Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFS&T), Plant Pathology department of UAF and METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan.The specific problems addressed were: optimum CA-conditions for different fruits and vegetables; extension of shelf life and maintenance of quality of mangoes and facilitating sea-freighting for reducing cost of shipment to high end markets. Chief Executive PARB Dr Mubarik Ali says the successful establishment of the SOP for CA technology for fresh produce would greatly benefit exporters in future”. It will generate a good return of money invested on research, enhance our exports and create sound recognition for Pakistani fresh products in international markets.
Dr Amanullah said the usefulness of this project has been demonstrated by arranging seminars, trainings, workshops, meetings and visits for the local growers/ store keepers/ cold store operators/ traders and exporters. Another remarkable achievement is publication of two research papers in the 7th International Post-harvest Symposium in Malaysia. A modern Controlled Atmosphere R & D infrastructure has been developed at Institute of Horticultural Sciences to meet the long-term national needs.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on sugar mills co-generation potentially adding 1500-3000 MW of electricity into Pakistan's national grid:

KARACHI: In order to take advantage of the incentives offered by the government of Pakistan and to integrate the expansion project for future mill operations, two sugar mills in Sindh have propose to implement co-generation power projects, official sources said.

Ranipur Sugar Mill and Chamber Sugar Mill have submitted their applications with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) for grant of generation licence for cumulative generation of 32MW.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in its meeting held on March 6, 2013, had approved the framework for power cogeneration 2013 bagasse and biomass as an addendum to the Renewable Energy Policy 2006. This framework is effective for all high pressure cogeneration projects, utilising bagasse and biomass, the officials said.

Nepra had already approved Rs10.50 per unit as the upfront tariff for power generation through sugar mills by utilising sugarcane bagasse.

According to Nepra spokesman, this upfront tariff has been approved to encourage sugar mills to generate around 1,500 megawatts on fast-track basis.

The applicants said, at present, hydel generation is costing Rs2.50 per unit, generation through natural gas is costing around Rs5 per unit, thermal generation from Rs14 to Rs18 per unit and electricity generated through diesel is costing Rs23 to Rs28 per unit.

The approval of upfront tariff for sugar mills will encourage sugar mills to plan their investment in this new sector for steering the country out of the power crisis. The government plans to generate around 3,000MW of cheaper electricity through sugarcane bagasse on fast-track basis and investors will be facilitated and encouraged, the official said.

Necessary amendments will also be made in the existing co-generation and renewable energy policies to make it simplified and investor-friendly.

Pakistan is the fifth largest producer of sugarcane with the production of 50 million tons of sugarcane annually, yielding over 10 million tons of bagasse.

Power generation from bagasse will not only reduce the furnace oil import but also save Rs33 billion to Rs49 billion worth of foreign exchange per annum.

The country has 87 sugar mills with the capacity to generate 3,000MW from bagasse in winter season.

Currently, seven sugar mills sell their surplus power to government, including Layyah Sugar Mills with an installed capacity of 9.2MW, exports 4MW; Hamza Sugar Mills operates 23.6MW plant, whereas Shakarganj Sugar Mills operates a 20MW co-generation power plant.

Al-Noor Sugar Mills generates 21.8MW and now plans to increase its capacity to 36.8MW. Rahim Yar Khan Sugar Mills generates 18MW and sells 10MW. Likewise, Al-Moiz Sugar Mills generates 27MW and exports 15MW, while JDW Sugar Mills generates 22MW with a surplus of 10MW.


Riaz Haq said...

Benoist Bazin, Head of Section, Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Pakistan on Thursday inaugurated the EU-funded 'High Pressure Cogeneration for sugar sector in Pakistan (HP Cogen-Pak)' under the EU SWITCH ASIA Programme. The programme will support the local sugar sector to upgrade towards high pressure boiler technology and enable them to export electricity to the national grid.

"This programme is focusing on providing support to the sugar sector, financial sector, technology providers and the public sector in popularising High Pressure Cogeneration Technology," said Bazin during his keynote speech at the ceremony. "The programme aims at achieving this by supporting sugar mills through technology standardisation, enabling access to finance, and mobilising relevant public sector authorities.

Given the background of electricity supply constraint that Pakistan is facing these days, Bazin added that promotion of High Pressure Cogeneration would promote not only energy security of Pakistan, but also generate electricity from renewable fuels.

Highlighting the various activities, Omar Malik, Project Director of HP Cogen-Pak project informed the participants that the project was currently working with 35 sugar mills, 14 financial institutions and five technology providers. Seven bankable feasibility studies are already underway. Need assessment of financial sector is in the pipeline while capacity building of Pakistani boiler manufactures is also expected to start in December 2014.

The event was attended by representatives of Ministry of Water and Power, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, Private Power Infrastructure Board, Alternative Energy Development Board, State Bank of Pakistan, Climate Change Division, Pakistani boiler manufacturers and sugar mill representatives.


Riaz Haq said...

Dr. Ishrat Husain on deregulation in Pakistan

As in most debates in Pakistan there are sharply polarised views on the regulation and deregulation of private-sector activities. Some advocate re­gulation by the state as an effective tool to curb the market’s excesses. Others think markets should be left to themselves and the state should have few regulations.


Financial markets have some unique features that are missing in product and factor markets. This distinction is lost sight of in this polarised debate. Shareholders’ equity in bank balance sheets ranges from 8pc to 10pc. The banks are highly leveraged as they raise 90pc to 92pc of their money from depositors and borrowings from other financial institutions and markets. This high leverage effect magnifies both upside gains and downside risks, inducing the bank management, whose compensations are linked to short-term profits, to resort to excessive risk-taking.

The upside gains of the leveraged bets accrue mainly to shareholders and managers, while downside losses are so heavy that the state has to bail them out using taxpayers’ money. This asymmetric treatment of the risks incurred and the accrual of rewards places a heavy responsibility on regulators to ensure that shareholders, and not taxpayers, bear the brunt of excessive risk-taking. Therefore, given the market’s structure in the financial sector, state regulation is not only justifiable but desirable.

The same logic cannot be applied to the market for goods and inputs. If a farmer’s income is determined by forces outside his control he has no incentive for higher production and improved productivity. In Pakistan, the government controls wheat prices, and fertiliser prices are subsidised, largely benefiting big farmers. Irrigation water is allocated in a discriminatory manner inducing inefficiency. The food department procures wheat at official prices from those who are influential or who grease their palms. Under such stringent price and quantity regulation why should the average farmer maximise his efforts to produce more?

The differential in the yield between a progressive and an average farmer ranges between 50pc to 70pc. If there was deregulation of prices and quantity (except for a certain amount of reserves), wheat production could jump to at least 30 million tons — a conservative estimate.

Contrast this with the deregulated milk market. Except for hygiene regulations, milk supply and demand determine the prices. The fastest growth in the average farmer’s cash income has taken place through money from milk. For other non-cereal products, market committees that are inefficient and operate in collusion with officials of the agriculture department have distorted prices.

The sugar market has, at different times, faced waves of regulation, fixed cane price and opaque market interventions. The government steps in when there is surplus production; it procures from local sugar mills and sells in international markets at loss.

In times of shortages, the government imports sugar, and sells at a price mostly to the mills’ advantage. Efficient and inefficient mills are treated equally; there is no pressure on the latter to exit the market as they are insulated from facing the market test. Thus over-regulation, procurement by the government at non-market prices and intrusive and discriminatory practices have tilted the sugar market against the consumers. Here deregulation is badly needed.

In the manufacturing sector, as many as 40 agencies and departments of the federal, provincial and local governments are involved in giving clearances, no-objection certificates, grants of permits, licences, etc. Most factory owners have reconciled to this situation, making monthly payments to functionaries of these departments commensurate with their nuisance value. A labour inspector can arbitrarily shut down a factory, causing enormous loss to the owners, for whom the easy course is to keep the inspector contented.


Riaz Haq said...

In Okara, an independent candidate Riaz ul Haq Juj polled more votes than all the political parties put together. In the last election PML-N’s Chaudhray Arif was one of those super candidates who got more than one hundred thousand votes. Imran Khan held the biggest jalsa in the city’s history during the campaign.

Where did all the votes go?

And why should we care who is the winner?

“Okara is Punjab’s Koofa,” says an old local political worker. “These people can make you king but you take them for granted and you come to a tragic end.” It was Bhutto’s Okara once. There was a strong trade union movement and small farmers didn’t fear Bhutto’s land reforms dream. When Bhutto was hanged at least two citizens set themselves ablaze. Then like most middle Punjab it went over to Sharifs. It was Punjab’s Larkana.

Take a look: NA-144: Rise of independent candidate Juj shows new trends in politics

Then it was Sharif’s other Lahore. And now it has become Punjab’s political nowhere; you don’t need politics to contest elections. You don’t need political parties. Here a relatively unknown man with moneybags can grab power weeks after making a bid for it. When Juj started campaigning three weeks before the by-elections people asked each other who was this guy? He was that boy from Nemat banaspati family. Surely people knew about the family. It’s the richest in the city. And like most rich folks very stingy.

According to the local folklore PML-N’s downfall in Okara started with a casual insult to the family. When the Juj’s family showed interest in contesting the by-election PML-N’s local stalwart quipped. “I shall not let anyone else open a new shop in this town”. Now as it happens, the banaspati family had started making its fortunes by starting a small grocery store. Everyone remembers that little shop. And the family obviously doesn’t like to be reminded of that little shop.

Specially when they have cash to spare. An average candidate is expected to spend about two crore rupees in an election for National Assembly. The family and friends set up a fund of nine and a half crores, says an associate. Money was important for an outsider. It was even more important to create an impression there was more money where those crores came from. “When Juj and his comrades go out to canvass they carry bags of cash in their jeeps,” said a supporter during the campaign. “And if they bring some back in the evening their elders scold them for not spending their day’s money.”

A brief glance at how the family operates might give us some idea about the non-politics of future. They have their ghee mill and a cardboard factory. They are well known as bad paymasters. But their real money comes from trading in sugar. They buy up most of the sugar produced by sugar mills in the area in advance. They pay up in cash. Many retirees come to them with their life’s savings. They are reliable black market investors.

Like most black marketeers in the country the family is big on charity. And they are quite sophisticated about it. Every Ramazan their managers go around grocery stores in poor areas and get information about the poorest households. Then a month’s ration is delivered to these families. That’s the beginning and end of their politics. “You buy a family a month’s ration every year,” a down on his luck theatre artist in Okara told me. “And you can have their vote and their children’s vote.”

When the voters look at a fattened and arrogant PML-N, old pirates like Manzoor Watoo running the PPP and the revolutionary PTI stealing candidates from the old pirate, the man with the moneybags with real cash seems like a logical choice. It ceases to matter that the man delivering you free sugar for a month every year made his money hoarding sugar in the first place.


Riaz Haq said...

#India likely to become net importer of #sugar in 2016-17. #Pakistan could benefit from sugar trade. #drought


It would also give rival producers such as Pakistan, Thailand and Brazil the chance to boost shipments from their ports. "India will need to import next year due to a production shortfall," Ashok Jain, president of the Bombay Sugar Merchants Association (BSMA), told Reuters.

"Drought has severely affected cane plantations in Maharashtra. The government should stop exports now to reduce import requirements in the next season."

The El Nino weather phenomenon, which brings dry conditions to many regions, has stoked the worst drought in decades in some parts of India, with thousands of small-scale sugar cane growers in Maharashtra state failing to cultivate crops for the next marketing year, starting October.

"Even for drinking water we are relying on water tankers. It wasn't possible for anyone from our village to cultivate cane," said Baban Swami, a farmer standing in a parched field in the Latur district of Maharashtra, around 500 km southeast of Mumbai.

Riaz Haq said...

A majority of sugar mills in the Sindh province belongs to one man, whether a single proprietor can set up such a big number of mills, the opposition asked the treasury benches during the Sindh Assembly session on Tuesday.

"A majority of sugar mills belongs to Anwar Majeed in the province and how many mills one person can set up," Pakistan Muslim League (PML-F) woman lawmaker Nusrat Sehar Abbasi asked to Sindh Industries Minister Muhammad Ali Malkani during a questions-answers session.

Replying to the question, the minister said that "anyone can establish as many mills he wants and there is no bar if anyone intends to set up 100 mills he can", adding that the Sindh government issued the required NOC to applicants.

"There are 35 sugar mills in the province," he told the house, saying that "the department easily issues NOC to applicants to set up a new mill". In 2013, he said the Sindh government had allocated Rs270.30 million to revamp roads infrastructure in SITE Industrial Area in Karachi.

Through the allocation, he said, 14.2 kilometres of roads network, roadside gutters and other communication and civic infrastructure had been repaired. To a question, he replied that the Sindh government did not own any ill industrial unit. "There are total 6,129 private industrial units are running in the province of which 690 are rice mills and 182 flour mills," he added.

The Sindh Bank denied encashment of compensation cheques which the Sindh government had provided to each family of the Shikarpur blast victims, PML-F lawmaker Imtiaz Shaikh told the house, saying that the bank administration had told the victims' families that they had been directed to deny conversion into cash.


Riaz Haq said...

The first raid was carried out at Omni office at II Chundrigar Road and two employees were detained. Later, the Rangers raided another office near Hockey Stadium and detained other suspects.

Rangers raid offices of Zardari’s close aide in Karachi

The raids and arrests were confirmed by the paramilitary force in a press release, which stated that an intelligence-based raid on a company’s offices at II Chundrigar Road and Hockey Stadium was carried out. “Five people were rounded up and a huge cache of arms and ammunition was also seized from the premises,” it added. “Those who have been detained include Shahzad Shahid, Rajab Ali Rajper, Ajmal Khan, Kamran Munir Ansari and Kashif Hussain.” It added that the seized ammunition comprises 17 Kalashnikovs, 4 pistols, 3,255 bullets, 9 ball bombs. The statement said legal action will be taken against the suspects and their facilitators after a complete scrutiny of weapons and documents.

Majid is a Karachi-based businessman and a close friend of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Zardari, who looks after his businesses including sugar mills. Majid’s name came to fore for the first time after former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza revealed the relation between Zardari and Majid, alleging that Majid is a partner of Zardari in corruption deals. Reacting upon the raid, information adviser Maula Bux Chandio said that the paramilitary force did not take Sindh government and police into confidence before the raid. Speaking to the media, he labelled the raid ‘political victimisation’ of the party. “The action has been taken after federal interior minister’s remarks against PPP.”

Zardari returns to a different role

Differences with IG

Majid is also alleged to have been involved in the transfers and postings of police officers in Sindh and is believed to have played a vital role in the chief minister’s recent decision to send Sindh IG Allah Dino Khawaja on a ‘forced leave’.

A police officer, requesting anonymity, said that Khawaja had differences with the PPP leadership with regards to issues such as transfer and postings of the policemen. However, the recent differences between Khawaja and Majid emerged when the latter refused to involve the police in a dispute between sugarcane growers and millers. It became the main reason behind sending IG on a ‘forced leave’.

“They two men had a verbal spat and then Majid complained to Zardari and asked him to remove the IG,” the officer explained.

Interestingly, the matter is only not limited to transfer and postings of police officers but also relates to raids and recovery of sophisticated arms and ammunitions from a bungalow in Clifton.

Sindh govt sends IG on ‘forced leave’

During the second week of November, a huge cache of weapons was recovered when law enforcement agencies raided a house in the Old Clifton area. Eight bags full of weapons were seized from the house, which included seven M-4 rifles, six sub-machine guns, two 7mm rifles, two .223 rifles, four 12-bore, one G3, one 222 rifle and two 9mm pistols. Two police caps and two daggers were also found from the house.

According to police sources, the weapons belonged to Nisar Morai, the former chairperson of the Fisherman Cooperative Society. He was also known to be a frontman of Zardari. The police have remained tight-lipped over the weapons bust and said that the weapons were recovered from a garbage dump. A case was registered at the Boat Basin police station against unidentified persons. A source in the police department said that the police had been pressurised from publicising the news and IG Khawaja was asked not to publicise the news and return the weapons back from where they were seized. However, the IG refused to cooperate with the Sindh government.


Riaz Haq said...

Here are a couple of excerpts from "Playing with Fire" by Pamela Constable:

"Sugar is critical commodity in a country (Pakistan) where people consume vast amounts of sweet tea, soft drinks, and cakes, using about 4 million metric tons of sugar a year. .....Sugar is also very profitable. Pakistan is among the top five producers of sugar cane in the world, employing more than two million seasonable laborers at harvest time, and sugar refining is the second largest agribusiness after flour milling. According to National Accountability Bureau, a majority of country'd eighty-plus sugar mills are owned by political families, including Sharifs and Bhuttos, as well as members of parliament and several military-controlled enterprises."

"In Pakistan, the sugar industry is actually a political industry in which powerful politicians on all sides are involved", said a 2009 statement from the Sugar Mills Workers Federation that described how the big millers cheat mall growers through fake middlemen, then manipulate sugar prices by pressuring the government to stimulate or discourage exports depending on how much cane has been harvested."

"Throughout the 1990s, during two periods of rule by Sharifs and two by his archrial Benazir Bhutto, the privatization process became a game of grab and run. Investing of investing in solid projects, many business groups colluded with corrupt officials to make quick profits. They borrowed huge sums (from state-owned banks) without collateral, created and dissolved ghost factories, purchased state assets at token prices, avoided paying taxes, defaulted on shaky loans, or deferred paying them indefinitely....Major defaulters and beneficiaries of loan write-offs, granted by both the Bhuttos and Sharif governments, included some of Pakistan's wealthiest business families-- Manshas, Saigols, Hashwanis, Habibs, Bhuttos and Sharifs......using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the (Musharraf) regime (after year 2000) went to prosecute eighteen hundred cases of corruption to recover nearly $3.4 billion in assets."


Riaz Haq said...

Asia Is Eating Less Rice, More Wheat
Published on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 15:00 Written by Saigoneer.


As Asian nations become wealthier, more and more people are eating wheat.

According to The Economist, the popularity of rice in Asia remains well above the global average; in fact the continent is responsible for 90% of the world’s rice consumption. Historically, the grain was – and still is – a staple for many, particularly the latter half of the 20th century, when rice consumption in Asian nations reached as high as 103 kilograms per person annually, the news outlet reports.

However in recent years, as incomes have risen and tastes have changed, the grain’s much-coveted position in many Asian societies has weakened a little. Though rice is still ubiquitous across the continent and is not likely to disappear any time soon, its consumption has been on the decline since 2000 in countries like Singapore, China, Indonesia and South Korea.

Instead, some Asian consumers are turning to wheat, reports The Economist. In 2016, for instance, Vietnam consumed 39.9 kilograms of wheat per person, a steady increase compared to the country’s consumption in 2000. Though it’s still a far cry from the global average – 78 kilograms per capita – the figure puts Vietnam above the Southeast Asian average of 26 kilograms per person each year, and consumption is expected to continue growing in the future. In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects Southeast Asians to consume roughly 23.4 million tons of wheat in 2016-2017.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is a major rice grower and exporter, while its wheat-producing sector supplies the domestic market as well as delivering flour to neighboring Afghanistan. The market is closely managed by the government to ensure supply to the population.


The International Grains Council (IGC) puts Pakistan’s total grains production at 31.3 million tonnes in 2016-17, compared with 31.1 million the year before. That includes an unchanged 25.5 million tonnes of wheat and an also unchanged 200,000 tonnes of sorghum.

Pakistan is set to import a total of 200,000 tonnes of grains in 2016-17, down from 400,000 the year before. The IGC’s report shows it importing an unchanged 100,000 tonnes of wheat, while exporting 500,000 tonnes, also the same level as the previous year.

Pakistan is a big producer and exporter of rice. The IGC forecast its production in 2016-17 at 6.6 million tonnes, down from 6.7 million the year before. It put exports at 4.3 million tonnes, up from 4.2 million the prior year.

“In Pakistan, where threshing was completed in the final stages of 2016, production is estimated to have fallen slightly y/y, to 6.6 million tonnes,” the IGC said. “According to local reports, this reflected a heavy drop in plantings in Punjab province, to a nine-year low, only partly offset by increased seeding in Sindh. In Sri Lanka, expectations for total output from 17 main (Maha) and secondary (Yala) crops have been scaled back on persistent drought conditions.”

The government is eager to promote exports.

“The Commerce Ministry said on Dec. 20, 2016, that 20 billion Pakistani rupees (U.S.$193 million) will be spent over the next three years as part of efforts to boost commodity exports, including basmati rice,” IGC said.

“Wheat is one of the main agricultural crops in Pakistan, with 80% of farmers growing it on an area of around 9 million hectares (close to 40% of the country’s total cultivated land) during the winter or ‘Rabi season,’” the USDA attaché’s annual report on the grains sector, issued in April 2016, said. “This crop alone contributed about 10% of value added in agriculture and 2.1% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015.”

The Pakistan government has decided to buy 6.95 million tonnes of wheat from the next harvest against the target of 6.6 million tonnes in the previous year. The government has maintained the wheat support price for the MY 2016-17 crop at the last year’s level of 1,300 rupees per 40 kilogram ($310 per tonne).

In an update issued in December, the attaché outlined the latest thinking on the crop.

“The government of Pakistan has set the wheat production target at a record 26 million tonnes for the 2016-17 Rabi (winter) crop that will be harvested in April and May of 2017,” the report said. “During the last marketing year the government also set a target of 26 million tonnes, but drier-than-normal weather and high temperatures resulted in lower yields and 2016 production of 25.3 million tonnes.”

Riaz Haq said...

The annual report explained that wheat is Pakistan’s dietary staple.


“Pakistan has a variety of traditional flat breads, often prepared in a traditional clay oven called a tandoor,” the report said. “The tandoori style of cooking is common throughout rural and urban Pakistan. Wheat flour currently contributes 72% of Pakistan’s daily caloric intake with per capita wheat consumption of around 124 kg per year, one of the highest in the world.”

Diets are changing in Pakistan, the report said.

“As incomes increase and a stronger middle class emerges, consumers are gradually shifting towards more dairy, meat, and other higher-value food products in their diet,” the report said. “Over the long term, this shift to a more balanced diet has the potential to limit the pace of growth in wheat consumption.”

The attaché forecast 2016-17 wheat demand at 24.5 million tonnes and explained that just 3% would be used for food, with 97% going for planning and human consumption.

Riaz Haq said...

India ranks 43rd in the global ranking in average per capita tea consumption with 0.73 kg compared with 7.54 kgs in Turkey, 4.34 kgs in Morocco, 2.74 kgs in United Kingdom and 1.01 kgs in Pakistan.


Per capita consumption of tea
Country Quantity (Per KG)
Turkey 7.54
Morocco 4.34
Ireland 3.22
United Kingdom 2.74
UAE 1.89
Kuwait 1.61
Russia 1.21
Iran 1.07
Pakistan 1.01
India 0.73
Source: Industry, Wikipedia


A massive increase of 35.8 per cent in per capita consumption of tea in Pakistan has been recorded from 2007 to 2016.

According to the current market situation and medium-term outlook, published by the Food and Agriculture (FAO) of the United Nations, Pakistan is among the seven countries where per capita consumption of tea has been increased.

The highest increase was seen in Malawi with 565.2pc, followed by China 128.6pc, Rwanda 110.2pc, Turkey 25.9pc, Indonesia 26.6pc and Libya 39.8pc.

Currently, black tea consumption in Pakistan has been estimated at 1,72,911 tonnes which is expected to increase to 2,50,755 tonnes in 2027, the FAO report projects. This showed in next 10 years, tea consumption will increase by 77,844 tonnes.


Riaz Haq said...

USDA Pakistan Annual Sugar Report states that total per capita refined sugar consumption is estimated at 25 kilograms and it is based on improved supply and strong demand. Falling behind Pakistan are other countries of the region like India with 14 kg/person, China with 11 kg/person and Bangladesh with 10 kg/person.


Riaz Haq said...

#Sugar Is Muscling Out #Cotton in #Pakistan. Farmers have shifted to sugar cane from cotton because of higher government support prices, which have increased threefold in a decade, crippling #export prospects and increasing #imports https://finance.yahoo.com/news/sugar-muscling-cotton-pakistan-060806148.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw via @YahooFinance

Pakistan has cut its cotton production estimate for this year as competition from other crops shrinks the planted area in the country’s biggest growing province, according to a government official.

The food ministry reduced its target to 12.7 million bales of 170 kilograms apiece for the year through March from 15 million bales previously, the official said, asking not to be identified because of internal policy. Pakistan is the world’s fifth-largest grower, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

While output is still forecast to be higher than last year, the revision will be a blow for Pakistan’s $13 billion textiles sector, which employs 10 million people, and accounts for about 8% of the economy and more than half foreign exchange earnings. The country is spending about $1.5 billion a year on cotton imports due to a shortage, said Ahsan Mehanti, chief executive officer of Arif Habib Commodities.

The target has been revised because competing crops like sugar, corn and rice are limiting the area under cultivation in Punjab, the official said. The estimate for the province has been cut to 7.9 million bales from 10.6 million bales.

Sugar Rush

Farmers have shifted to sugar cane from cotton because of higher government support prices, which have increased threefold in a decade. The nation’s sugar area surged 18% in three years to 1.34 million hectares in 2017-18, before slipping last year mainly due to water shortages.

Provinces set support prices for sugar cane to establish a minimum amount that farmers receive from mills.

After climbing to 14 million bales in 2014-15, cotton production is estimated to have declined to 9.9 million bales in 2018-19, the lowest in at least 17 years, mainly because of reduced acreage. The area has shrunk about 20% since 2014-15, according to government data.

Locust Threat

This year’s cotton crop is facing another threat. A massive swarm of locusts has migrated from Iran to Pakistan. The government has deployed aircraft and spray-mounted vehicles to treat about 10,000 acres in Sindh province, Muhammad Hashim Popalzai, secretary of the food ministry, said last month. Authorities are still assessing the extent of the damage.

Pakistan is desperate to prevent a further decline in cotton output as it seeks to shore up the economy after securing this month a 13th bailout of about $6 billion from the International Monetary Fund. Cotton imports by the textile industry more than doubled in three years to 2017-18, mainly from the U.S. and India, according to central bank data.

Lower production of cotton not only crippled export prospects, but instead caused hefty imports, according to the latest quarterly report of the State Bank of Pakistan. Still, those purchases are now coming more cheaply, with futures trading at their lowest level in three years in New York.

“We are badly hurt,” said Asif Inam, vice chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association. About 30 textile mills have shut down in the last five years partly due to poor availability of cotton, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's average daily per capita calorific intake was estimated by ADB at 2,440 kcal in 2013. Cereals accounted for 48% of daily calorific intake in 2013. Calorific intake from animal sources comprised 22%, while fruit and vegetables accounted for 2%. The average daily per capita protein consumption was estimated at 65.5 grams, while the average dietary energy supply adequacy was estimated to be 108% in 2015-2017.


Approximately 46% of agricultural production comes from the cropping sector, compared with 54% from livestock. Buffalo meat was the single most valuable commodity produced in Pakistan in 2016 at around $9.8 billion. Other important commodities produced included buffalo's milk ($9.4 billion), wheat ($7.4 billion), beef ($5.5 billion), cotton ($3.3 billion), and chicken meat ($3.2 billion).

Sugarcane was the largest crop produced with 65 million tons in 2016. Other important products included wheat (26 million tons), rice (10.2 million tons), maize (6.1 million tons), and cotton (5.3 million tons). Around 4.5 million tons of fertilizers were used in Pakistan in 2016, and a further 913,000 tons were imported into the country that year.

Pakistan's livestock sub-sector, on the other hand, has demonstrated steady growth, especially in the face of increasing demand for livestock products due to a growing and rapidly urbanized population.

The country's livestock sub-sector represents approximately 56% of value addition in agriculture and employs roughly 30 million people. Despite the increased production of poultry products, its external trade is low and has not realized the potential experienced in other livestock sub-sectors. In 2016, total poultry exports were valued at $2.7 million.

Pakistan imported $7.1 billion worth of agricultural goods in 2016, compared with $3.7 billion in agricultural exports. Pakistan's main agricultural export commodities were rice ($1.7 billion), wheat flour ($173 million), tangerines and mandarins ($158 million), beef ($155 million), sugar ($123 million), and dates ($103 million). Palm oil was Pakistan's main food import at $1.7 billion, followed by cotton lint ($581 million), tea ($490 million), rapeseed ($464 million), soybeans ($383 million), and coffee ($329 million).

Riaz Haq said...

Agriculture Development
in the Central Asia Regional
Economic Cooperation Program
Member Countries
Review of Trends, Challenges,
and Opportunities

Food Intake
The average daily per capita calorific intake was estimated at 2,440 kcal in 2013. Figure A.62 displays the
proportion of calorific intake contributed by each of the major food groups. Cereals accounted for 48% of
daily calorific intake in 2013. Calorific intake from animal sources comprised 22%, while fruit and vegetables
accounted for 2%. The average daily per capita protein consumption was estimated at 65.5 grams, while the
average dietary energy supply adequacy was estimated to be 108% in 2015–2017.


Riaz Haq said...

Sugar and spice
Khurram HusainUpdated April 09, 2020


Listen carefully to what Jahangir Tareen, the man at the centre of the storm, had to say during his first two TV appearances since the scandal broke. Both appearances were on Monday night, one at 8pm and the other at 10pm. And his message during both was the same.

The first thing he did in both interviews was to underline his deep roots in the party, which critically for him go back to the aftermath of the defeat of 2013 and the ensuing days of rage that were the dharnas. In doing so, he let the cat out of the bag, ie one of Imran Khan’s principal grievances aired from every platform he had at his disposal in those days, about the 2013 elections being ‘rigged’ and the ‘35 punctures’ was in fact wrong.

“There was rigging,” Tareen said, “but only on a few seats, mostly it was all just about raising a hue and cry.” He then went on to explain how, in the aftermath of the elections, he showed Imran Khan the scale of the defeat the party had just suffered. “Half the seats in Punjab that we lost in 2013, we were not even in second place; in some cases, we were not even on the table, we were third, fourth or fifth! In those in which we came second, we secured 20 per cent of the vote, and in 66pc of them, we didn’t even get 20pc of the vote!”

He says he tried to explain to the prime minister what that meant. “We had the wrong candidates, we need to change our candidates, this is Punjab, there are political families here and until you bring them in you cannot become prime minister,” he said.


It will be instructive to see how all this develops, but if history is any guide, then it is likely to not go very far. Already the affair has blown the lid off. Somebody like Tareen saying on national TV that the post-2013 rigging allegations were nothing but ‘noise’ and the election was lost because the party ran with the wrong candidates is explosive material. What else may come spilling out if this factional fighting intensifies?

There is one person who cannot afford to have this escalate, and that is Imran Khan himself. Last year, when the medicine price hike shook his government, he was moved to fire his then health minister, Aamir Mehmood Kiani, an old stalwart of the party. The firing happened in April 2019, and by July of that same year, Kiani was appointed secretary general of the party. Today, he appears standing next to Imran Khan on important occasions.

The sugar cartels are not worried. Watch Tareen’s appearances carefully, note the soft, understated confidence, the chuckles when the scale and scope of his meddling in government affairs is read out to him. But above all, note the quiet smirk on his face throughout the interviews. That is what says it all.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: Imran Khan tackles sugar barons in push to hold on to power


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When Imran Khan was elected Pakistan’s prime minister in July 2018, he tasked his top adviser Jahangir Tareen with recruiting independent members of parliament to support him after failing to win an outright majority.

The sugar baron criss-crossed Pakistan in his private jet scooping up politicians one by one, flashing a winning smile as he welcomed them to the party alongside Mr Khan. His nationwide headhunt was immortalised in satirical memes that showed him leaping out of his luxury SUV to capture candidates and successfully recruiting others from Mars.

Mr Tareen's horse-trading gave Mr Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, or the Movement for Justice, a razor-thin majority by the time the former cricket superstar was sworn in three weeks later, with many of the new recruits coming from the leading political families of Punjab, the country's most populous province and heartland of the powerful sugar industry.

The formation of PTI’s parliamentary majority perfectly captured the indispensable role of sugar barons in Pakistan's government, who along with the military and Islamic groups dominate the country's politics. In the absence of an organised public donation system for campaign funding, the barons bankroll every party in Pakistan, simultaneously serving as MPs and, in Nawaz Sharif’s case, as prime minister.

That cozy relationship was upended in April when Mr Khan released the initial results of a probe into a 20 per cent rise in the price of the commodity over the past year that has prompted heavy criticism of the sugar industry.


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The calculation is straightforward. Mr Khan has been under intense pressure from the military, which has undermined his authority during the coronavirus crisis, and is encroaching on his civilian government. In a bid to re-establish his political standing with the people, he has decided to do battle with the sugar barons.

The probe alleged Mr Tareen and others close to the ruling party colluded to influence policy that allowed them to continue exporting sugar despite low stocks and benefit from an export subsidy worth Rs2.5bn ($15m). They then subsequently gained, the report said, from the steep rise in prices caused by the sugar shortages at home.

The final report — which could pave the way for criminal prosecutions — is to be released later in May.

Riaz Haq said...

#SugarInquiryReport: Major #Pakistan #sugar mills underreported sales, committed fraud. Culprits include top sugar-mill-owning political families: #PMLN(Salman Shahbaz Sharif), #PMLQ (Moonis Elahi) , #PPP (Zardari) , #PTI (Jahangir Tareen). #democracy https://www.dawn.com/news/1558734

Information Minister Shibli Faraz and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Accountability Shehzad Akbar on Thursday revealed details from a report issued by the Sugar Forensic Commission (SFC) constituted to investigate and assign responsibility for the shortage and price hike of the commodity in the country in recent times.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside the information minister, Akbar said the commission's report, which had already been discussed by the federal cabinet earlier today, revealed that six major sugar mill groups were acting as "cartels".

"They hold 51 per cent of the total supply," he added.

"A mill called Alliance from Rahim Yar Khan — partially owned by Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) senior leader Moonis Elahi — was audited. It showed that between 2014 to 2018, farmers faced an 11-14pc systematic cut, which translated into Rs970 million and was a huge blow to them," Akbar said.

He added that the mill under-reported sugar sales "for years" and sold the commodity to unnamed buyers and had committed violations under the Pakistan Penal Code.

Akbar also mentioned the JDW sugar mill in which PTI stalwart Jahangir Tareen has a 21pc stake. He said according to the report, the mill committed "double booking, under-reporting and over-invoicing".

"The report noted that the mill [JDW] under-invoiced sales from bagasse and molasses which resulted in 25pc cost inflation. They also committed corporate fraud whereby money was transferred from their PLC to their private company.

"Forward sales, satta, unnamed sales have all been associated with JDW too."

The Al Arabiya mill owned by Salman Shahbaz Sharif was also audited, the SAPM said, adding that it was found to have committed fraud worth Rs400m through informal receipts and market manipulation.

Akbar said the report had proven what PM Imran Khan had always maintained.

"Whenever a businessman comes into politics, he will always do business even at the expense of the poor. So his [PM's] thinking has been validated. A certain business community has captured the market and as a result, people are suffering," he said.

He added that the report will be available online shortly for anyone to read following the prime minister's orders.

Akbar said that the report revealed that certain sugar mills also used informal receipts. "It was ultimately the farmer who was crushed because there was no official record. The mill owners showed the price of production as more than the support price which meant that farmers earned less."

He added that mill owners also engaged in informal banking with the farmers, which hurt the latter because it was an unregulated process. "This gave the mill owners a profit of up to 35pc," he said.

Akbar said it was the first time that an "independent inquiry" had been conducted into the cost of production. "In 2017-18, sugar mills determined the cost of production at Rs51 per kilo whereas the report gave an estimate of Rs38 instead," he said.

"In 2018-19, sugar mills calculated cost price at Rs52.60 while the report gave an estimate of Rs40. [The sugar mill owners] purchased sugarcane at a lower price but showed a higher price in the invoices," he said.

The SAPM said the report also pointed out that the sucrose content as shown by Pakistani mill owners (9.5pc to 10.5pc) was less than the international standard.

Riaz Haq said...

UNDP: Elite privilege consumes $17.4bn of #Pakistan’s #economy. Top beneficiaries are corporate sector (tax breaks, cheap input prices, higher output prices, access to capital, land) – 2nd & 3rd biggest recipients of privilege are richest feudal landlords https://aje.io/dvkng

The UNDP’s Wignaraja noted that this creates a paradox where those responsible for doling out the privileges were also those who were receiving them.

The biggest beneficiary of the privileges – which may take the form of tax breaks, cheap input prices, higher output prices or preferential access to capital, land and services – was found to be the country’s corporate sector, which accrued an estimated $4.7bn in privileges, the report says.

The second and third-highest recipients of privileges were found to be the country’s richest 1 percent, who collectively own 9 percent of the country’s overall income, and the feudal land-owning class, which constitutes 1.1 percent of the population but owns 22 percent of all arable farmland.

Both classes have strong representation in the Pakistani Parliament, with most major political parties’ candidates’ drawn from either the feudal landowning class or the country’s business-owning elite.

Economic privileges accorded to Pakistan’s elite groups, including the corporate sector, feudal landlords, the political class and the country’s powerful military, add up to an estimated $17.4bn, or roughly 6 percent of the country’s economy, a new United Nations report has found.

Released last week, the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) National Human Development Report (NHDR) for Pakistan focuses on issues of inequality in the South Asian country of 220 million people.

The report uses the prism of “Power, People and Policy” to examine the stark income and economic opportunity disparities in the developing country.

“Powerful groups use their privilege to capture more than their fair share, people perpetuate structural discrimination through prejudice against others based on social characteristics, and policies are often unsuccessful at addressing the resulting inequity, or may even contribute to it,” says the report.

Kanni Wignaraja, assistant secretary-general and regional chief of the UNDP has been on a two-week “virtual tour” of Pakistan to discuss the report’s findings, holding talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and other top members of his cabinet, including the ministers of foreign affairs and planning.

She says Pakistani leaders have taken the findings of the report “right on” and pledged to focus on prescriptive action.

“[In our remarks in meetings] we focused right in on where […] the shadows are, and what is it that actually diverts from a reform agenda in a country,” she told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview.

“My hope is that there is strong intent to review things like the current tax and subsidy policies, to look at land and capital access.”


The country’s powerful military, which has directly ruled Pakistan for roughly half of its 74-year history, was found to receive $1.7bn in privileges, mainly in the form of preferential access to land, capital and infrastructure, as well as tax exemptions.
The report noted, however, that Pakistan’s military is also “the largest conglomerate of business entities in Pakistan, besides being the country’s biggest urban real estate developer and manager, with wide-ranging involvement in the construction of public projects”.

“These things are not neatly separate entities,” said Wignaraja. “You do see some of… these are overlapping so you almost get a double privilege by the military. The minute in a country the military is a part of big business, it obviously doubles the issue and the problem.”

In a country like Pakistan, where the military continues to hold power over many aspects of governance, she warned that it would take “almost a social movement” to displace structures of power that were so entrenched.

Riaz Haq said...

Palm Oil Imports by Country
by Daniel Workman


International purchases of imported palm oil cost an estimated total US$33.8 billion in 2020.

Overall, the value of palm oil imports increased by 19% for all importing countries since 2016 when international purchases of palm oil cost $28.4 billion. From 2019 to 2020, globally imported palm oil appreciated 12%.

An edible vegetable oil, palm oil is derived from the reddish pulp of oil palm plant fruit. Palm oil is a highly saturated vegetable fat used for lower-cost cooking, blending into mayonnaise and as a butter substitute. Palm oil is also an ingredient for biodiesel fuels.

The 5 biggest importers of palm oil (India, China, Pakistan, Netherlands, Spain) bought 43.2% of total palm oil purchased via international markets in 2020.

From a continental perspective, Asian countries imported the highest dollar worth of palm oil during 2020 with purchases valued at $17.7 billion or over half (52.3%) of the global total. In second place were European importers at 24.8% while a fast-growing 15.7% of palm oil imported worldwide was delivered to Africa.

Smaller percentages went to customers in North America (4.3%), Latin America (2.5%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.3%) led by Australia and New Zealand.

For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 1515 for palm oil and its refractions, whether or not refined.

India: US$5.1 billion (15.1% of total imported palm oil)
China: $4.1 billion (12.2%)
Pakistan: $2.1 billion (6.2%)
Netherlands: $1.9 billion (5.5%)
Spain: $1.4 billion (4.1%)
Italy: $1.2 billion (3.7%)
United States: $1.1 billion (3.2%)
Bangladesh: $896.9 million (2.7%)
Kenya: $829.6 million (2.5%)
Russia: $793.2 million (2.3%)
Egypt: $732.5 million (2.2%)
Vietnam: $694.7 million (2.1%)
Malaysia: $657.1 million (1.9%)
Myanmar: $645.3 million (1.9%)
Germany: $599.1 million (1.8%)
Among the above countries, the fastest-growing markets for palm oil since 2019 were: Myanmar (up 660.4%), Kenya (up 59.2%), Vietnam (up 30.8%) and Italy (up 20.2%).

Only one top country posted a decline in its imported palm oil purchases namely India thanks to its -5.4% drop.

By value, the listed 15 countries purchased 67.4% of all palm oil imported in 2020.

Riaz Haq said...

Tea Imports by Country
by Daniel Workman


Global purchases of imported tea totaled US$6.7 billion in 2020.

The overall value of tea imported by all buyer countries shrank by an average -2.1% since 2016 when tea purchases cost $6.8 billion. From 2019 to 2020, the total dollar amount for imported tea slipped by -5.5% from 2019 to 2020.

The 5 most valuable import markets for tea (Pakistan, United States, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia) accounted for almost a third (31.1%) of the worldwide sales of imported tea in 2020.

From a continental perspective, Asian countries bought the most imported tea during 2020 with purchases costing $2.9 billion or 43.7% of the worldwide total. In second place were European countries at 29.3% while 14.4% of all tea imports were delivered to customers in Africa.

Smaller percentages went to North America (9.1%), Oceania (2%) led by Australia and New Zealand, and Latin America (1.5%) excluding Mexico.

For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix for tea is 0902.
Tea Imports by Country

Below are the 15 countries that imported the highest dollar value worth of tea during 2020.
Pakistan: US$589.8 million (8.9% of total imported tea)
United States: $473.8 million (7.1%)
Russia: $412.2 million (6.2%)
United Kingdom: $348.7 million (5.2%)
Saudi Arabia: $243.6 million (3.7%)
Iran: $236.3 million (3.5%)
Hong Kong: $221.8 million (3.3%)
Morocco: $202.3 million (3%)
Egypt: $197.2 million (3%)
Germany: $195 million (2.9%)
China: $180 million (2.7%)
France: $168.1 million (2.5%)
United Arab Emirates: $164.9 million (2.5%)
Japan: $156.6 million (2.4%)
Iraq: $134.7 million (2%)
Among the above countries, 4 markets for tea imports grew since 2019 namely: Hong Kong (up 19%), Pakistan (up 18.7%), Saudi Arabia (up 2.9%) and France (up 0.7%).

Those countries that posted declines in their imported tea purchases were led by: Iran (down -39.9%), Egypt (down -28.7%), Iraq (down -23%) and United Arab Emirates (down -21.7%).

By value, the listed 15 countries purchased 58.9% of all tea imported in 2020.

Riaz Haq said...

Our total consumption of wheat and atta is about 125kg per capita per year. Our per person per day calorie intake has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2,580 in 2020-21

By Riaz Riazuddin former deputy governor of the State Bank of Pakistan.


As households move to upper-income brackets, the share of spending on food consumption falls. This is known as Engel’s law. Empirical proof of this relationship is visible in the falling share of food from about 48pc in 2001-02 for the average household. This is an obvious indication that the real incomes of households have risen steadily since then, and inflation has not eaten up the entire rise in nominal incomes. Inflation seldom outpaces the rise in nominal incomes.

Coming back to eating habits, our main food spending is on milk. Of the total spending on food, about 25pc was spent on milk (fresh, packed and dry) in 2018-19, up from nearly 17pc in 2001-01. This is a good sign as milk is the most nourishing of all food items. This behaviour (largest spending on milk) holds worldwide. The direct consumption of milk by our households was about seven kilograms per month, or 84kg per year. Total milk consumption per capita is much higher because we also eat ice cream, halwa, jalebi, gulab jamun and whatnot bought from the market. The milk used in them is consumed indirectly. Our total per person per year consumption of milk was 168kg in 2018-19. This has risen from about 150kg in 2000-01. It was 107kg in 1949-50 showing considerable improvement since then.

Since milk is the single largest contributor in expenditure, its contribution to inflation should be very high. Thanks to milk price behaviour, it is seldom in the news as opposed to sugar and wheat, whose price trend, besides hurting the poor is also exploited for gaining political mileage. According to PBS, milk prices have risen from Rs82.50 per litre in October 2018 to Rs104.32 in October 2021. This is a three-year rise of 26.4pc, or per annum rise of 8.1pc. Another blessing related to milk is that the year-to-year variation in its prices is much lower than that of other food items. The three-year rise in CPI is about 30pc, or an average of 9.7pc per year till last month. Clearly, milk prices have contributed to containing inflation to a single digit during this period.

Next to milk is wheat and atta which constitute about 11.2pc of the monthly food expenditure — less than half of milk. Wheat and atta are our staple food and their direct consumption by the average household is 7kg per capita (84kg per capita per year). As we also eat naan from the tandoors, bread from bakeries etc, our indirect consumption of wheat and atta is 41kg per capita. Our total consumption of wheat and atta is about 125kg per capita per year. Our per person per day calorie intake has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2,580 in 2020-21. The per capita per day protein intake in grams increased from 63 to 67 to about 75 during these years. Does this indicate better health? To answer this, let us look at how we devour ghee and sugar. Also remember that each person requires a minimum of 2,100 calories and 60g of protein per day.

Undoubtedly, ghee, cooking oil and sugar have a special place in our culture. We are familiar with Urdu idioms mentioning ghee and shakkar. Two relate to our eating habits. We greet good news by saying ‘Aap kay munh may ghee shakkar’, which literally means that may your mouth be filled with ghee and sugar. We envy the fortune of others by saying ‘Panchon oonglian ghee mei’ (all five fingers immersed in ghee, or having the best of both worlds). These sayings reflect not only our eating trends, but also the inflation burden of the rising prices of these three items — ghee, cooking oil and sugar. Recall any wedding dinner. Ghee is floating in our plates.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is the world’s 6th largest sugar producing country

Pakistan produces 6.1 million tons of sugar in 2022



Pakistan 5th largest sugar cane producing country

67 million tons of sugar cane in 2019


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan sugar production for 2023/24 is forecast to rise 250,000 tonnes to 7.1 million due to the recovery in sugarcane area harvested from the flood-damaged crop the year before.


It is reported by USDA in its May report.


Sugarcane production is forecast up 3 percent to 83.5 million tons due to the expected recovery in area. Favorable prices are encouraging farmers to maintain sugarcane area vis-à-vis planting other crops. Farmers’ preference toplant sugarcane is also due to the crop’s resiliency to weather hazards compared to alternative crops. Sugarcane is produced in three provinces, with Punjab accounting for 68 percent of total production, followed by Sindh with 24 percent, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) with 8 percent. The Bahawalpur division of Punjab and the Sukkur division of Sindh account for more than half of the total sugarcane area. Sugarcane is planted in two different seasons: spring planting runs from February to March and the fall season is from September to October. Punjab and Sindh farmers plant sugarcane in both seasons, while most cane in KPK is planted in spring. Yields per hectare are relatively low due to lack of high yielding varieties, water shortages, and uneven fertilizer distribution.

Pakistan has been one of the top eight sugar producers for the past 3 years and is forecast to be the seventh largest exporter in 2023/24. Sugar consumption is estimated up 150,000 tons to 6.3 million supported by population growth and higher supplies. Despite the rise in production, sugar exports are forecast down 200,000 tons to 800,000 as the government seeks to curb exports. Fearing domestic price increases, the government is expected to be reluctant to approve too many exports this year by monitoring the market situation on a fortnightly basis to decide on the timing and quantity of exports. Stocks are expected to be flat.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan world's 7th largest sugar producing country.


10. Australia 4.1 million tons

9. Russia 5.4 million tons

8. Mexico 6.1 million tons

7. Pakistan 7.8 million tons

4. Thailand 10.3 million tons

3. European Union and UK 21 millon tons (Beet sugar in France, Germany, Belgium, Poland)

2. Brazil 34.9 million tons

1. India 36 million tons

7. Pakistan

Sugarcane is a major cash crop for Pakistan and, unlike India and Brazil, Pakistan grows the plant almost solely for the purpose of sugar extraction. In 2021/22 the nation produced 7.8 million tonnes of sugar – its highest volume ever. Pakistan’s sugar industry was challenged by drought in 2019/20 which, for an agrarian economy like Pakistan with a cane yield per hectare smaller than the world average (46 tonnes per hectare verses 60 tonnes per hectare respectively), was a serious problem. From 2016/17 to 2019/20 Pakistan saw year-on-year decline in its sugar output. But its fortunes have changed. Sugar production increased for two consecutive seasons because yields and land area for sugarcane increased significantly and government measures to protect farmers’ incomes guaranteed a minimum sales price.

In February 2021 Pakistan’s sugar prices rose as predictions of overall output being 200,000 tonnes less in 2021/22 than the 2020/21 season influenced speculative action in the market. That did not happen. Instead, Pakistan’s sugar output was over two million tonnes higher in 2021/22 than 2020/21. In October 2022 traders found themselves waiting on the government to authorise exports of the excess sugar produced.

Riaz Haq said...

In Pakistan, flood damage meant 2022/23 cane sugar production reduced to 7.2 mln tonnes compared to 8.6 mln tonnes in 21/22. The area under cane remains consistent with last season, but reduced fertilisers prices could push 23/24 sugar production to 7.8 mln tonnes.


Unpredictable rains in India and Pakistan squeeze cane production
Estimates for India’s sugar production from the 2022/23 cane crop are below the decreased figure we estimated last October. The 35.6 mln tonnes we expect is much lower than the 39 mln tonnes produced in 21/22. Any further exports onto the global market this season seem unlikely, despite India having an export quota of 6 mln tonnes for the world market.

Despite an increased area under cane, low rainfall during the growing season and too much rain just before the harvest began resulted in lower cane yields. For the 2023/24 crop, the area under cane has increased again. If the monsoon rainfall is average, we expect India to produce 36.4 mln tonnes of sugar. However, that figure only holds if there are no major increases in cane juice or molasses diverted into ethanol production. In 22/23 the equivalent of 4.5 mln tonnes of sugar was used for ethanol production. In 23/24, we expect that figure to be 3.78 mln tonnes.

If an El Niño weather pattern develops, dry conditions would affect cane planting for the 24/25 crop. In neighbouring Pakistan, flood damage meant 2022/23 cane sugar production reduced to 7.2 mln tonnes compared to 8.6 mln tonnes in 21/22. The area under cane remains consistent with last season, but reduced fertilisers prices could push 23/24 sugar production to 7.8 mln tonnes.

Riaz Haq said...

In its first official assessment for 2023-24 (May-April), the government of Pakistan is forecasting the country’s wheat production to grow 6% to a record 28 million tonnes, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.


“In recent years, abnormally hot and humid weather near harvest negatively affected output,” FAS Post Islamabad said. “This year, however, the weather was favorable throughout the growing season, resulting in record output. Government policies ensured adequate supply of seeds and other inputs throughout the growing cycle.”

Punjab, the major wheat-growing province, produced more than 1 million tonnes than last year, reaching 21.2 million tonnes. Production in other provinces — Sindh (3.8 million), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1.4 million) and Baluchistan (1.6) — was almost the same as last year.

The record harvest will help lower the country’s forecasted import needs from 3 million to 2 million tonnes in 2023-24 even as total consumption grows to 30.2 million tonnes from 29.2 million tonnes. Pakistan imported 2.6 million tonnes last marketing year.

“Domestic demand continues to expand with population growth, and the record crop production will still be insufficient to meet domestic needs,” the FAS said.

The government has procured about 6 million tonnes of wheat from the domestic market to replenish its strategic reserves, and government stocks as of mid-June were about 10 million tonnes, the FAS said. The government is expected to start releasing wheat to millers in August, which is later than last year. Until then, millers will buy wheat from the open market.

Prospects for the 2023-24 rice crop remain good, and the production forecast is unchanged. Weather during seeding and transplanting in May through June was optimum in the rice-growing areas. Rainfall was good, which reduced the need for irrigation water. The 9-million-tonne forecast, if realized, will be the second-largest crop ever, slightly less than the record 9.3-million-tonne crop in 2021-22.