Saturday, April 23, 2011

Poll Finds Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors

You wouldn't know from the headlines what Gallup global poll on wellbeing found through its recent survey: More Pakistanis say they are thriving than do Indians or Chinese.

The results of the 2010 global wellbeing survey of 124 nations conducted by Gallup reveal that Pakistan ranks 40th with 32% of Pakistanis saying they are thriving. By contrast, India ranks 71st with 21% of the Indians thriving and China ranks 92nd with only 12% of the Chinese considering themselves “thriving,” the highest level of wellbeing.

Pakistanis are a resilient people. But the only tangible explanation for Pakistanis ranking ahead of their neighbors in the wellbeing Gallup survey can be found in the strength of Pakistan's rural economy. It is being spurred by the higher food and commodity prices resulting in the transfer of additional new tax-free farm income of about Rs. 300 billion in the current fiscal year alone to Pakistan's ruling party's power base of landowners in small towns and villages in Southern Punjab and Rural Sindh, from those working in the the economically stagnant urban industrial and service sectors who pay bulk of the taxes. The downside of it is a bigger hole in Pakistan's pubic finances which is being funded with increased foreign aid and loans.

Moazzam Husain, the Director General of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, describes the current rural resurgence as follows in a recent blog post titled "The Other Pakistan":

"GLORIOUS countryside lies between Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur. Travelling across six districts in Punjab, before a blazing summer sets in, I experienced endless fields of wheat waiting to turn golden, of freshly harvested mustard, acres of ripe sugarcane and sprawling mango orchards.

Far from the drudge and gloom of metropolitan Pakistan, economic privation, traffic snarls, extreme religion and the cricket World Cup agony, this is another Pakistan. Over a quarter of a century after the green revolution ended the rural economy is back in boom, this time on the back of rising prices. The feel-good factor is all around.

Burgeoning commodity prices are churning unprecedented amounts of cash through the farm sector. I pass tractor-pulled trolleys laden with sugarcane waiting outside sugar mills. The crushing season is in full swing. Meanwhile, the flour mills are still grinding away at last year’s surplus crop. This is an agro economy at serious work.

Alongside the cash economy, the place is also brimming with ideas, and with an entrepreneurial spirit. A young man I meet at Rahim Yar Khan’s chamber of commerce has an IT degree and owns an ice cream distribution business spawning an elaborate cold chain across three districts. He tells me that sales are surging because rural society is transitioning to modern desserts which are now more affordable than traditional sweets like mithai and khoya.

Meanwhile, he’s toying with the bigger vision of an electronic marketplace for agricultural produce. Live connectivity to grain mandis and markets for fresh produce and milk will empower farmers to obtain prices online and through their cellphones. He wants to materialise this and wants tips. I give him my two cents worth: study similar models, write a concept paper, galvanise partners around it, put in seed money and get the venture to mezzanine level."

In 2008, the government pushed the procurement price of wheat up from Rs. 625 per 40 kg to Rs. 950 per 40 kg. This action immediately triggered inflationary pressures that have continued to persist as food accounts for just over 40% of Pakistan's consumer price index. According to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) analysis, cumulative price of wheat surged by 120 per cent since 2008, far higher than the 40 per cent between 2003 and 2007. it is also many times greater than the international market price increase of 22 per cent for wheat in the same period. Similarly, sugar prices have surged 184 per cent higher since 2008, compared with 46 per cent increase during 2003-07.

Bumper crops and exports at higher prices are also contributing to the rural prosperity in Pakistan. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported increased Pakistan's wheat exports in a recent story as follows:

"Asia's immediate wheat demand is being met by ample supply from Pakistan, which is exporting existing inventories to make way for the new harvest, trading executives said Monday.

"Pakistan has filled a crucial gap in Asian wheat trade due to the absence of supply from the Black Sea region," said a Singapore-based executive with a global trading company.

If Pakistan hadn't permitted wheat exports during this period of tight overall global supply, price conscious buyers in South Asia and Southeast Asia would have had to turn to costly alternative supply from Canada, the U.S. and Europe.

The absence of Pakistan would have also increased demand pressure in Australia, where ports are already facing congestion and there are logistical delays in moving wheat from upcountry warehouses.

Pakistan approved wheat exports in December and shipments began the following month.

In less than four months it has shipped out an estimated 1.16 million metric tons of wheat.

The International Grains Council has projected Pakistan's wheat exports in the year ending June 30 at 1.6 million tons, the highest in at least four years."

The steps such as the increased exports, the transfer of additional Rs. 300 billion to Pakistan's agriculture sector during the current fiscal year 2010-2011 by higher prices of agriculture produce, and direct flood compensation to 1.6 million affected families at the rate of one hundred thousands rupees each are boosting economic confidence in the countryside. This infusion of money is also generating rural demand for consumer items including consumer durables such as fans, TVs, motorcycles, cars, refrigerators, etc.

The big feudal landowners have been the biggest beneficiaries of the PPP's gift of high crop prices. However, the policy has helped small farmers as well, as shown by a recent survey reported by The Nation newspaper. The survey of 300 farmers in Sind's Sukkur district was conducted by Sukkur Institute of Business Administration for the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). It has highlighted the following about district's rural economy:

1. In Sukkur district, majority of the farmers are subsistence farmers. 31 percent of them own less than 5 acres of land, and another 34 percent own up to 12.5 acres of land.

2. They spend an average of Rs. 1,611 a month on their children's education, with some of them spending up to Rs. 12,000 a month.

3. Wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane are the major crops being cultivated by 93 per cent, 58 percent, 37 percent and 12 percent of the respondent farmers in that order.

4. 24 percent of them are also growing fruits including dates, mangoes and bananas.

5. 22 percent of the respondent own livestock.

6. About half (49 percent) use privately purchased seeds for wheat cultivation, 33 perecent use their own retained seed and 18 perecent use the seed purchased from Public Sector Seed Corporations.

7. On average, a farmer uses 96.73 Kg chemical fertilizer per acre with the maximum and minimum of 350 Kg and 40 Kg respectively. The average per acre cost of wheat production is Rs. 10,670.

8. All 300 farmers are using tractors for cultivation and preparing land for crops, and some are using tractors for fetching their crop produce to market.

It appears from the economic data and anecdotal evidence that bulk of the 32% of the Pakistani poll respondents who say they are thriving have income from the rural sectors of Pakistan's economy.

As expected, the people in the developed world report higher state of wellbeing than those in the developing nations. With Danes ranked the most satisfied people with 72 percent of respondents considering themselves “thriving,” people in Sweden and Canada follow close behind, each at 69 percent in Gallup’s 2010 Global Wellbeing Survey. The US came in somewhat near the bottom among developed western nations, with 59 percent of Americans thriving.

A median of just 21 percent were found to be “thriving” in the Gallup survey polling 1,000 adults, age 15 and older, in both face-to-face and telephone interviews in each country throughout 2010.

African nations show up near the bottom of the list, with only 12 percent of the respondents considering themselves to be thriving in Egypt, followed by 6 percent in Kenya and Chad with 1 percent ranking it dead last at 124.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Rural Economy

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

Agriculture, Textiles Employ Most Indians and Pakistanis

New Index Finds Indians Poorer Than Africans, Pakistanis

Pakistan's Exports and Remittances Rise to New Highs

Sugar Crisis in Pakistan

Agricultural Growth in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

Pakistan's Rural Economic Survey

Pakistan's KSE Outperforms BRIC Exchanges in 2010

High Cost of Failure to Aid Flood Victims

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010

Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009

Darkness Before Dawn? Future of Pakistan

Musharraf's Economic Legacy

World Bank Report on Rural Poverty in Pakistan

Copper, Gold Deposits Worth $500 Billion at Reko Diq, Pakistan

China's Trade and Investment in South Asia

India's Twin Deficits

Pakistan's Economy 2008-2010


Anonymous said...

I have only seen the heading and can only imagine the readers from our easterns neighbors getting on your case. How dare you said some thing positive about Pakistan and something negative about India - blabla bla bla.

G Ali.

Riaz Haq said...

G.Ali: "I have only seen the heading and can only imagine the readers from our easterns neighbors getting on your case. "

Unfortunately, you are right. Some of them can't stand to see Pakistanis even a little bit happier than they are.

I have already gotten a bunch of comments laced with some of the worst profanities.

While differing perspectives on my posts are welcome, I do not publish outright senseless abuse.

Shafiq said...

We could be far happier and at higher position in the table than we are if we only had few politicians who were happy with the loot they have and diverted their energies towards development instead of plundering and gathering more loot.

And of coures, if we had no load shedding.

Imran said...

A good read and has the basis to be expanded into Pakistan’s educational review.


Riaz Haq said...

Asian Development Bank is cautioning that rising food and fuel prices is threatening economic growth in Asia, according to the BBC:

Soaring food and fuel prices are threatening to derail growth in Asian economies, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The bank has warned that if food and fuel prices continue to surge, economic growth in the region could be reduced by up to 1.5% this year.

According to the bank, domestic food prices have risen at an average of 10% in many Asian economies this year.

Oil prices have also surged because of the crisis in the Middle East.

The bank said that a combination of these two factors has been a major setback for growth in Asian economies.

Extreme poverty

While Asian economies have emerged strong from the global financial crisis, the rising cost of living has become a big concern in the region.

The ADB has warned that the recent surge in food price is threatening to push millions of Asians into extreme poverty.

According to the bank's study a 10% rise in domestic food prices may result in almost 64m people being pushed into extreme poverty.

According to the ADB's chief economist, Changyong Rhee, "for poor families in developing Asia, who already spend more than 60% of their income on food, higher prices further reduce their ability to pay for medical care and their children's education."

"Left unchecked, the food crisis will badly undermine recent gains in poverty reduction made in Asia." he added.
Export bans

The bank also warned that food prices will remain volatile in the short term.

It said that while there have been production shortfalls in some countries because of bad weather, prices have also been pushed up by other factors, such as the weakening US dollar and rising fuel costs.

This has resulted in many countries imposing export bans on their produce, a practise that is not helping the cause, according to the bank.

"To avert this looming crisis it is important for countries to refrain from imposing export bans on food items, while strengthening social safety nets," said Dr. Rhee.

"Efforts to stabilize food production should take centre stage, with greater investments in agricultural infrastructure to increase crop production and expand storage facilities,"

Dr Rhee added that these measures will ensure that food produce is not wasted, thus helping to keep prices in check.

Ashmit (India) said...

Here's a story from the Economic Times (16/04/2011). It was headlined saying - "Growth in India, China helped in poverty eradication: WB, IMF".

WASHINGTON: Rapid growth in economies like India and China has helped millions of people escape the dungeons of poverty and based on current economic projections, the world is on track to reduce the number of extremely poor people by half, the World Bank and IMF said in a report.

"Two-thirds of developing countries are on track or close to meeting key targets for tackling extreme poverty and hunger," the World Bank and IMF report -- "Global Monitoring Report 2011: Improving the Odds of Achieving the MDGs" said.

Giving statistics, the report said the number of people living on less than USD 1.25 a day is projected to be 883 million in 2015, compared to 1.4 billion in 2005 and 1.8 billion in 1990.

Regarding India, the report said in 1990 as many as 51.3 per cent of Indian population was living on less than USD 1.25 a day, which got reduced to 41.6 per cent in 2005 and is expected to further decline to 22.4 per cent in 2015.

The decline in poverty has been more drastic in China, where in 1990, as much as 60 per cent people were living under USD 1.25 per day, which is likely to reduce to 4.8 per cent by 2015, the report added.

Commenting on the findings, World Bank director of development prospects Hans Timmer said "reaching the MDGs is a significant achievement for developing countries. But there is still much to do in reducing poverty and improving health outcomes even in the successful countries".

Among developing countries, 45 per cent are far from meeting the target on access to sanitation; 39 per cent and 38 per cent are far from the maternal and child mortality targets, respectively, the report added.

"The challenge in low income countries is to sustain and accelerate growth through better policies that will create jobs and greater opportunities for the private sector," Hugh Bredenkamp, deputy director of the IMF's Strategy, Policy, and Review Department said.

Ashmit (India) said...

Here's a story from The Hindu (20/04/2011). It was headlined saying - "Poverty rate declines from 37.2% to 32%".

The latest data of the Planning Commission indicates that poverty has declined to 32 per cent in 2009-10 from 37.2 per cent five years ago.

The preliminary estimates are based on the formula suggested by the Tendulkar Committee for computing the number of poor.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Wednesday told reporters that the 2009-10 data shows a decline in poverty from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 32 per cent in 2009-10 as the per the preliminary data worked out by the Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen.

The Tendulkar Committee had suggested that poverty be estimated on the basis of consumption based on the cost of living index instead of caloric intake. It said that the basket of goods should also include services such as health and education. The new poverty line, as suggested by the Tendulkar Committee, is different for rich and poor States, and for rural and urban areas within a State. “These are preliminary data. Mr. Sen has worked on them. He has reported that the 2009-10 data shows a decline in poverty from 37.2 per cent in 2004 to 32 per cent in 2009. I agree with him,” Dr. Ahluwalia said.

He said the National Sample Survey, which conducts large sample surveys every five years, will launch its next round in 2011-12. Estimates of poverty are important because the cheap grains under the proposed Food Security law will be provided based on these numbers.

Dr. Ahluwalia also raised doubts over the feasibility of achieving 10 per cent average economic expansion in the 12th Plan (2012-17), and said the next plan would target GDP growth of 9 to 9.5 per cent in the next five years. “If you ask me personally, I think setting the target of 10 per cent GDP growth as an average for [the] 12th Plan is not feasible. It would be somewhere between 9 and 9.5 in the next Plan period,” he said.

Riaz Haq said...

TC: "It is quite amazing how Pakistanis (especially the educated) use India as their yardstick..."

Here's the Times of India headline about this particular Gallup poll that my post is about:

Pakistanis happier than Indians: Gallup survey

Do you think the above headline suggests that "Indians (especially the educated) use Pakistan as their yardstick"?

Here are a few more Indian news headlines to ponder:

1. Pakistan ahead of India on human development indices: UN report

2. Doing business? India lags behind Pakistan!

3. India trails Pakistan, Bangladesh in sanitation

4. India worse than Pakistan, Bangladesh on nourishment

5. India is worse than Pakistan on gender equality

KarachiMan said...

pakistan is ahead of india in shortage of power too.


The Karachi Electric Supply Company on Sunday ran out of furnace oil
due to which electricity in the industrial areas has been suspended
since 12 hours, DawnNews reported.

Loadshedding period in the residential areas is also expected to rise.

According to a KESC spokesman, the organisation had paid Rs.35 crore
in advance for the furnace oil, however, that has finished. Therefore,
it was reported that the industrial areas in Karachi have no
electricity since 1am.

The spokesman said that if furnace oil is not obtained immed

Riaz Haq said...

KM: "pakistan is ahead of india in shortage of power too."

It's true. But, up until 2008, this wasn't the case. as British writer Dalrymple described it in The Guardian:

"On the ground, of course, the reality is different and first-time visitors to Pakistan are almost always surprised by the country's visible prosperity. There is far less poverty on show in Pakistan than in India, fewer beggars, and much less desperation. In many ways the infrastructure of Pakistan is much more advanced: there are better roads and airports, and more reliable electricity. Middle-class Pakistani houses are often bigger and better appointed than their equivalents in India."

Since 2008, the situation has rapidly deteriorated mainly due to the problem of "circular debt" rather than just the constraints in generating capacity.

Please read more at:

Ashmit (India) said...

This is in response to you citing a few headlines from the indian media to argue that the Indians use Pakistan as a yardstick.

There is a journalistic practice, though debated by few but followed by many, that says - Dog biting man is not news, but man biting dog is!! Most journos would agree with that.

Yes, Pakistan is used as a reference point. But only to indicate areas where India still lags behind, and not where the country aspires to be. To represent our aspirations, journalists dish out generous helpings of stats and headlines concerning China and US - NOT Pakistan.

Moreover, the reason that you could google up so many headlines from the indian media was because, Pakistan managing to outperform India is one of the few rare cases, which qualifies for - "man biting dog". Furthermore, the headlines always revolve around the most striking element of the story - which again, in this case, proves that it is startling (confusing and embarassing, if you ask me) to have Pakistan with its nose ahead.

Hence, the refereal to pakistan to stress on the obvious news point. Hope this brief explanation helps you in overcoming the spurt of wishful thinking.

Ashmit (India) said...

Here's a case in point of India looking beyond Pakistan when confronted with questions of growth and development.

It's an inforgraphic that gives charts and stats about the road ahead for India. No observrb that despite the the array of tables, charts and stats on display - there is no mention of Pakistan!! An indication of not only that India is NOT obsessed with Pakistan, but also that in the scheme of things, Pakistan doesn't quite feature prominently on the world map.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "Pakistan managing to outperform India is one of the few rare cases, which qualifies for - "man biting dog"."

Few areas? How many headlines did you see me cite? Few?

And what are these headlines about?

These headlines deal with essentials like food, nutrition, sanitation, health, life expectancy, gender gap, roads, etc in which Pakistan is ahead of India.

Let me give you a few more:

1. India Could Use Pakistan's Infrastructure

2. India lags behind Pakistan in missiles

3. Affluenza: With love from across the border

4. WITNESS: Failed state? Try Pakistan's M2 motorway

Riaz Haq said...

Asmit: "but also that in the scheme of things, Pakistan doesn't quite feature prominently on the world map."

It's just more propaganda from "Shining India" crowd that ignores the fact that, after 63 years, India is still home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry, illiterate and sick people.

Ashmit (India) said...

" India is still home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry, illiterate and sick people."

Ahh...Its almost like deja vu. Your old weapon - wielding the social indicators.

I'll come to that in just a bit.

But firstly, most of the objective assessments carrid out by various agencies, peg India amongst the top 3 economies in the forseeable future. Whereas, even the most optimistic of economists see only a secondary role for Pakistan. Ranked somwhere between 15-25 by the year 2050 (according to various analysts).

And these assessments are arrived at by gauging the current scenario and potential. So the social indicators that you quote, which are out in public domain, do figure in the calculation of these prediction and yet we somehow manage to be at the top. We must be doing something right, right?!

So before, you reject my arguments as extrapolations based on "proapaganda" in the indian media - take a look at the following.

1. Dreaming With BRICs: The Path to 2050 - Report by Goldman SAchs

2. "The world in 2050" by John Hawksworth, Head Macroeconmist, PWC

3. "India's rising growth potential" - Tushar Poddar and Eva Yi

Even if not headed for superpower status, even the most conservative of estimates put india much beyond the reach of countries such as Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit:"But firstly, most of the objective assessments carrid out by various agencies, peg India amongst the top 3 economies in ..."

I am quite familiar with the usual "Shining India" hype you refer to.

But it's by no means objective.

Here are some excepts from a recent Wall Street Journal story titled "In India, Doubts Gather Over Rising Giant's Course":

These days, India often is held up as an example of how a democracy in Asia can mirror the spectacular growth of authoritarian China. In the year ending March 31, India's economy is expected to expand by about 8.5%.

Other important gauges of national well-being paint a more troubling picture. "What has globalization and industrialization done for India?" asks Mr. Venkatesan, Microsoft's former India chairman. "About 400 million people have seen benefits, and 800 million haven't."
Calorie consumption by the bottom 50% of the population has been declining since 1987, according to the 2009-10 economic survey conducted by India's Ministry of Finance, even as those at the top of society struggle with rising obesity. Mainly because of malnutrition, around 46% of children younger than 3 years old are too small for their age, according to UNICEF.

Infrastructure in cities and the countryside remains woefully inadequate: In recent years, China has added, on average, more than 10 times as much power as India to its electricity grid each year.

Data from McKinsey & Co. show that the number of households in the highest-earning income bracket, making more than $34,000 a year, has risen to 2.5 million, from 1 million in 2005. But the ranks of those at the bottom, making less than $3,000 a year, also have grown, to 111 million, from 101 million in 2005.
India's modernization was expected to prompt a mass movement of workers from farms to factory floors—a critical component in the transformation of China, South Korea and other Asian nations. But manufacturing as a share of India's economy stood at 16% in 2009, the same as in 1991, according to the World Bank.

Services have increased dramatically as a proportion of gross domestic product, rising to 55% in 2009, from 45% in 1991, according to the World Bank, becoming the chief engine of India's economic strength. But many of the fastest-growing areas, such as finance and technology, employ relatively few and rely heavily on skilled employees. The entire software and technology-services sector, including call centers and outsourcing, directly employs just 2.5 million workers, a tiny fraction of the overall work force.
Agriculture's share of the economy, meanwhile, has declined to about 17% in 2009, from 30% in 1991. But the number of people working in agriculture hasn't dropped commensurately, according to Arvind Panagariya, a professor of Indian political economy at Columbia University in New York. "The dependence on agriculture remains incredibly high when you compare India's high-growth phase with others," he says. "The potential of the country is to grow at 11% to 12%, and it's growing only at 8% to 9%."

Frustration over the economic miracle's limited trickle-down is fueling political movements around the country. Most base their appeal, in part, on the idea that the poor are being ill-served in the new India.

Ashmit (India) said...

"I am quite familiar with the usual "Shining India" hype you refer to."

You are replies are increasingly disappointing, and seemingly written more out of jingoistinc complusions than reasoning. You made use of exactly 13 words to write off 87 pages of well thought out and researched ideas that i quoted?!

"But it's by no means objective."

Are you implying that agencies such as Goldman Sachs, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, and analysts such as Tushar Poddar and Eva Yi have been collectively are particiapting in a co-ordinated, pre concieved, calculated approach to sideline Pakistan, and boost egos in India? And that you can fully refute any and all the claims put forth in these papers? Or that I am being naive in ignoring a similar report that speaks of Pakistan as a "resurgent" power that will upset India and China and steal their thunder?

If the answer to all of the three questions is "Yes", perhaps your position is vindicated and my world view is flawed. But if the answer to any of the above is a "NO" - perhaps you could do with a rethink.

And onto the observations made by Paul Beckett - Maoism, Corruption, Black Money, Income Disparities, Caste Differences, lack of a clear mandate, poverty in rural areas, Kashmir - these concerns have been around for perhaps as long as you are old and more.

These have not been enabling factors, but disabling factors. And that is what provides the logical conclusion that India has grown inspite of them, not because of them.

Enlighten me as to why factors that have been in existence over the last 2 decades but could not derail the growth story - are likely to do so now. Also educate me on how pakistan fares any better in terms of potential for economic growth. And if it does, why is it that outside of perhaps armed conflict and cricket (btw the winning streak against Pak at WCs continued)- Paksitan has failed to compete with India and to present itself to the world as a viable alternative to India as a subcontinental power, as a growth engine, as an economic powerhouse?

Pakistan is not a failed state, but loyalists such as yourself find the consistent need to fight off such perceptions. On the other hand, India is not a superpower, but people such as myself are compelled to look at a host of positive indicators and refute the claims of the naysayers. This gulf between the factors inspiring the two sides should tell one all that one needs to know anout status quo between India and Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Ashmit: "Are you implying that agencies such as Goldman Sachs, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, and analysts such as Tushar Poddar and Eva Yi have been collectively are particiapting in a co-ordinated, pre concieved, "

Goldman and others' deception has been exposed in the US sub-prime crisis that has made millions of Americans homeless and jobless.

Their recommendations can be very dangerous to the health of the nations and economies they analyze.

Ashmit (India) said...

And if it's too much a risk trusting Goldman Sachs - how about the ADB?!

Here's a study by the ADB titled "Asia 2050: Realising the Asian Century". It summarises that 7 countries will lead the asian charge - China, INDIA,
Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia
and Thailand. Notably, Pakistan is NOT one of the 7 countries at Asia's High Table. Take a read.

Riaz Haq said...


I don't you or GS or ADB or your fellow Indians in "India Shining" crowd get it.

Your misguided arguments remind me of the whole reason why Dr. Mabhub ul-Haq argued for using social indicators, not just the GDP, as a measure of a nation's well-being.

There is a description of Mahbub ul-Haq's thinking on page 12 of the Human Development Report 2010.

It is titled "From Karachi to Sorbonne--Mahbub ul-Haq and the idea of human development".

Dr. Haq was Pakistan's planning commission's chief in 1960s which was seen as a time of great progress because of rapid GDP growth in Pakistan, and every one expected Dr. Mahbub ul-Haq to crow about it and pat himself on the back.

But, as the report puts it, "The young economist shocked his audience by delivering a stinging indictment of Pakistan's development strategy" for favoring the elite at the expense of the poor. A few years later, Mahbub ul-Haq persuaded UNDP to push for research reports and social indicators as an alternative to single-minded focus on GDP.

Riaz Haq said...

South Korea's LOTTE is planning to invest $500m in Pakistan, according to The News:

KARACHI: Lotte, the parent company of Lotte Pakistan PTA Limited, has hinted at expanding its operations in Pakistan, besides entering into other businesses such as confectioneries and constructions, officials said on Tuesday.

“If government of Pakistan offers us some concessions in taxation then we are keen to expend operations of Lotte Pakistan with a fresh investment of $500 million,” said Jung Neon Kim, Executive Director of Lotte Pakistan.

The PTA plant was acquired by Lotte in September 2009 and renamed as Lotte PTA Pakistan Limited.

Kim said Lotte is also in the process of acquiring Kolson. Therefore, it is about to enter the confectionary and food businesses in the country, as well.

The parent company also wanted to concentrate on the beverage industry, as well as expand into the chemicals and construction sectors, he said.

To attract more foreign investment and foreigners to the country, he said, Lotte wanted to develop and build residential projects exclusively for foreigners where they could live and enjoy sports and cultural facilities along with full security.

“Pakistan is a big market and the government could help encourage foreign investment if it supports persistency in tariff rates and offers lower taxes and tax breaks.”

He said that his company was the tenth largest taxpayer in Pakistan, contributing around Rs20 billion to the national exchequer in the form of taxes.

In his opinion, the tax rates in Pakistan were among the highest in the region and should be reduced to attract more investment.

Lotte Pakistan took CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) very seriously and spent Rs400 million on CSR activities last year, besides contributing to the relief efforts for flood victims. He said Lotte is intensely involved in education and around Port Qasim where Lotte Pakistan PTA plant is located. Lotte, he said, is committed to spending Rs60 million annually on education in the area.

Riaz Haq said...

Australian wheat exports are set to face stiffer competition as Pakistan, which resumed exports after three years, pours grain from its new crop into the market and offers competitive prices to millers in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, according The Express Tribune:

Overseas shipments by Australia, the grain’s fourth largest exporter, have already suffered from the country’s strengthening currency, while a return of Black Sea cargoes, after last year’s drought, promises to worsen the situation.

“There is around $80 spread between the two origins, which makes it attractive for millers to take Pakistani wheat, even though Australian is of better quality,” said a Singapore-based grains trader.

Australian wheat sales have slowed in the past few weeks as a strengthening currency has lifted prices for overseas buyers, while Pakistan has sold some one-and-a-half million tons into the global market since it resumed overseas sales.

Pakistan is making inroads into Australia’s traditional strongholds of Indonesia and Malaysia, while striking deals with millers in Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates and Tanzania at prices between $300 and $310 a ton, free on board. This compares to Australian prime wheat (APW) being offered around $380 a ton.

Riaz Haq said...

State Bank of Pakistan Holds Discount Rate at 14.00%, according to Central Bank Info:

The State Bank of Pakistan held its discount rate unchanged at 14.00% as inflation pressures eased somewhat, and as the Bank waits to analyze next month's annual government budget. The Bank noted: "The government is mindful of fiscal pressures and has expressed its resolve to address these issues, especially containment of the fiscal deficit. The budget for FY12 is expected to reflect this commitment,". Pakistan reported annual inflation of 13.04% in April (with prices rising 1.62% month on month), on inflation the Bank commented that "the average CPI inflation for FY11 is likely to remain between 14 and 14.5 percent, which is lower than the central bank's earlier projections,".

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts from an Express Tribune story on Pakistan's growing meat exports:

Halal meat is also one of the fastest growing segments within the global food trade. Between 2001 and 2009, the global beef trade grew at an average of 10.4 per cent to reach just over $30 billion, according to data available from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). However, the market for halal beef imports in the Middle East and Southeast Asia alone grew by over 18.2 per cent to reach just under $2 billion a year during that same period.

Pakistan’s market share within this rapidly growing market is a paltry 2.9 per cent. However, Pakistani exporters seem to be determined to make up for lost time. In the six years ending in 2009, Pakistani red meat exports have risen by an average of 68.6 per cent a year, though admittedly from a very low base.

Yet with the advent of more and more new players, and with surprisingly robust support from the government, Pakistan is on the verge of becoming one of the largest players in the meat trade, at least within the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Perhaps the single biggest advantage that Pakistan has is proximity. The country is closer to the Middle East than any of its biggest rivals in the market. The three countries with the largest market shares are Australia, Brazil and India, each of which has considerably higher shipping costs to these export markets compared to Pakistan.
“The Brazilian animal is exactly the same as most of our breeds of cattle. The quality of meat is also the same. The only difference is their ability to market their meat better than us,” said Namazi. He argues that Pakistan can easily displace Brazil as the Middle East’s leading meat supplier.

Iran, in particular, seems to be keen for Pakistani beef. The Iranian government has invested 50 per cent of the capital in the Lahore Meat Company, a dedicated abattoir that will export meat to Iran.

Australian beef, with a powerful branding effort and a larger source animal, has a specific niche market that industry experts believe will be difficult for Pakistan to compete with in the medium term.

India, the one country that could completely destroy Pakistan’s potential in the meat trade, has placed itself outside the global beef market after a 2005 Indian Supreme Court ruling that upheld a ban on cow slaughter as constitutional.

Indian exporters only sell carabeef – meat from buffalo – which is considered inferior and commands lower prices and margins. Nevertheless, Indian exporters dominate the market in Malaysia for the lower end of beef, while Australians command the higher end.

“Malaysia is ripe for a middle-market meat supplier from Pakistan,” said another expert in the meat business. Malaysia has had a free-trade agreement with Pakistan since 2007.

Several companies from Pakistan have entered the red meat export business and even more are in the process of entering the market. The oldest and one of the most successful of these is PK Livestock, a Karachi-based abattoir which has been exporting red meat to the Middle East for over two decades.

Zenith, a Lahore-based exporter, became the first Pakistani company to sell beef to Malaysia, after the Malaysian government relaxed its regulatory requirements for Pakistani exporters.

Others, such as OMC and the Al Shaheer Corporation, have also successfully begun exporting to the Middle East and are aggressively seeking regulatory approvals for markets further afield in Southeast Asia.

Pakistan’s total meat exports may come close to $100 million in 2011 and could surpass the $500 million mark in about five years, according to projections by ASI Partners.
Despite having the eighth largest herd of cattle and the third largest herd of goats in the world, Pakistan’s animal population is very scattered, which makes procurement of the animals for the abattoir expensive...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times report on the inauguration of Port Grand Food Street in Karachi:

KARACHI: Governor Sindh Dr Ishrat Ul Ebad has said that mega economic hub like Karachi that houses millions of people, needs lots of recreational and entertainment places where entertainment-starved citizens could find some peace, comfort and entertainment which provides much-needed breather to continue with our hectic schedules.
Governor Sindh expressed these views while inaugurating the much-awaited Port Grand Food and Entertainment Complex on Saturday. Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babur Khan Ghauri and Shahid Firoz, Managing Director Grand leisure Corporation was also present.
Dr Ishrat ul Ebad said that Port Grand Complex is an effort to revive the culture and traditions of old Karachi as well as to celebrate it as the City of Lights. “It would surely revive the harbor culture in a port city like Karachi,” Ebad said.
He appreciated Grand Leisure Corporation for resurrection of history and heritage as it has not only preserved the 19th century’s Napier Mole Bridge but has also converted it into a world-class tourist spot that would ultimately attract millions of people from all over the world.
Babar Ghauri said that Port Grand is a bold initiative by a private sector company despite the economic, law and order and political uncertainties in the country. He applauded the relentless efforts of Shahid Firoz, Managing Director Grand Leisure Corporation for making it a reality.
Babar Ghauri said that Port Grand project is country’s only-sea-side food and entertainment enclave, which would offer matchless attractions for the whole family to enjoy together. “Port Grand is expected to attract around 4 to 5 thousand people daily from across the country,” he hoped.
The Port Grand Complex, which has been built at 19th century’s Napier Mole Bridge (old native jetty bridge) was conceived and built by Grand Leisure Corporation with an investment of over Rs 1 billion. GLC’s scope of work includes financing, construction, maintenance and operation of all aspects pertaining to the Port Grand.
About 40 outlets have been made operational at this stage while more outlets would be opened soon. The entry fee for the Port Grand would be Rs 300 per person out of which Rs 200 would be redeemable at different food outlets and shops inside the project. The project would be open for public from Sunday evening.
Shahid Firoz, Managing Director Grand leisure Corporation informed that Port Grand project, that stretches along the 1000 feet. Karachi’s ancient 19th century native jetty bridge, spreads over an area of 200,000 square feet. The one kilometer bridge has been transformed into an entertainment and food enclave housing numerous eateries totaling 40,000 sq ft of climate-controlled area and space for kiosks of exotic Pakistani and foreign food and a variety of beverages.
He informed that the work on the project commenced in 2005 and it was expected to be completed by 2009 but the old native jetty bridge was in very bad shape after being abandoned for any transportation usage and it was also set to be demolished when Port Grand project was conceived and ancient 19th centaury monument was preserved for generations to come. GLC had to almost rebuild the whole 1 mile Old Napier Mole Bridge that includes removal of old deck slab, cleaning of rust and scaling of existing structure, strengthening of sub-structure and laying of new deck slab. This all work took around 2 year to completely revamped the bridge thus delayed the project for around 2 years.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's per capita income in 2011 increased to $1207 in nominal terms (not PPP) according to a report in Dawn:

ISLAMABAD, May 5: The per capita income in Pakistan rose by 9.5 per cent to $1,207 in fiscal 2010-11, the highest growth in recent past reflecting an improved well-being despite a slowdown in the economy.

As calculated by the federal bureau of statistics here on Thursday this could mean a jump of $105 per capita for 175.31 million population in 2010-11.

The per capita income is the average of the income between the very rich and the very poor and those in the middle. The economists define per capita income as Gross National Product at current market price in dollar terms divided by the country’s population.
The per capita income was $586 in 2002-03, which rose to $926 in 2006-07 and $1,085 in 2007-08 but now jumped to $1,207.

The size of the economy also peaked to Rs18.8 trillion for the financial year 2010-11, up by 22 per cent from Rs15.4 trillion in the corresponding period last year. But economic growth is projected to fall to 2.4 per cent by end June 2011 from a revised target of three per cent.

As a result of stagnation in economic growth in the past three years, the per capita income also did not witness any substantial growth in dollar term. But the real purchasing power of the people also eroded rapidly as inflation entered into double-digit making essential goods dearer for the poor people.

The per capita income in Pakistan has increased due to large inflow of home remittances from the overseas Pakistanis. This year the remittances were expected to cross the $10 billion mark, which would be the highest ever in the country’s history.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Per capita income rises to $1254, according to Daily Times:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s per capita income rose to $1,254 in 2010-11 from $1,073 during last year, showing tremendous increase of 16.9 percent, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan. Enhancement in per capita income is mainly because of stable exchange rate as well as higher growth in nominal gross national product (GNP). Per capita real income has risen by 0.7 percent in 2010-11 against last year’s 2.9 percent. Real private consumption rose by 7 percent as against 4 percent attained last year, it added. However, gross fixed capital formation lost its strong growth momentum and real fixed investment growth contracted by 0.4 percent as against the contraction of 6.1 percent last year. Total investment has declined from 22.5 percent of GDP in 2006-07 to 13.4 percent of GDP in 2010-11. National savings rate has decreased to 13.8 percent of GDP in 2010-11 against last year’s 15.4 percent of GDP. Domestic savings also declined substantially from 16.3 percent of GDP in 2005-06 to 9.5 percent of GDP in 2010-11. The national budget for the fiscal year 2011-12 would be unveiled today (Friday). app

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times story on Pakistani Punjab's participation at an Ag exhibit in Germany:

Diplomats, international economic experts and investors in Berlin, Germany have termed the exhibition of agriculture items of Pakistan in Berlin as a great success of Punjab and Pakistan. As many as 21 different products and agriculture items have been displayed in the exhibition by Pakistani farmers and industrialists.

Addressing a function held in connection with the exhibition, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that he was thankful to political leadership and senior officials of Germany for the warm welcome extended to him and his entourage.

A large number of European investors, diplomats, Pakistani citizens and farmers attended the function. The chief minister expressed the confidence that his visit would help promote export of agriculture items of Pakistan and strengthening of Pak-German relations. He praised that the hospitality extended by German government and said he would always remember the people there.

Former MPA Chaudhry Arshad Jutt, who was also a member of the delegation, apprised the audience that the exhibition was the result of the chief minister and his colleagues’ efforts. He said that the chief minister and his colleagues paid all expenses from their own pockets for participating in it. Agriculture Secretary Arif Nadeem said that the Punjab government had allocated Rs 2 billion for promoting export of agriculture items to foreign countries. He said that due to the steps taken for this purpose, now farmers had to pay only 30 percent whereas the remaining 70 percent expenses would be borne by Punjab government.

The Livestock secretary said that besides export of high quality meat to European countries and setting up of modern slaughterhouses in Punjab, production of livestock was also being increased. Punjab Investment Board Vice Chairman Muftah Ismael said that Punjab government had sent teams to various countries for the promotion of exports.

Earlier, the chief minister and his team attended a reception arranged by the head of multinational company Metro. Shahbaz said that he and his government were thankful of the Metro International for the assistance provided for the exhibition of agriculture items in Germany.

Expressing his views regarding exhibition, Metro International chairman said that the chief minister and his government had taken a bold initiative through this exhibition. Dr Andreas Kohler, member parliament and president chamber of law, said that this exhibition would play an important role in dispelling the impression of extremism and terrorism about Pakistan existing in the western world. He said that Germany was ready for extending all kind of cooperation to Punjab in arranging more such exhibitions.

Shahbaz also visited a modern slaughterhouse in East Berlin. He evinced keen interest in various sections of the slaughterhouse. He said that similar slaughterhouses were being set up in Punjab for increasing the production and export of meat. The chief minister further said that like fruit and vegetables, Punjab government is also taking extraordinary measures for promotion of livestock.\01\23\story_23-1-2012_pg7_23

Riaz Haq said...

Here's part 2 of National Geographic story about Pakistan's heartland of Punjab:

The fertile alluvium deposited by the mighty Indus river and its tributaries in Pakistan have given the country’s demographic heartland of Punjab an agrarian edge. Yet, errant canal planning and over-pumping from tube-wells have degraded vast tracts of land. Salinity and water-logging afflicts around 6.3 million hectares of land and an additional 4,000 hectare of land gets affected every year (estimates from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, November 2011). Climate change and conflicts over hydroelectric impoundment infrastructure have also made the arable lands of the country further vulnerable to flooding, as we saw in the epic floods of 2010 when an estimated 20 million people were displaced.

Amidst all these challenges to the farming economy of the country, there are glimmers of hope that Pakistan’s elite are trying to reconnect with the land in sincere and innovative ways. During my last trip to Lahore – the capital of Punjab province and Pakistan’s second-largest city (after Karachi), I was heartened to see urbanites retreating to farms in the surrounding countryside. Previously such farms were merely ornamental playgrounds of wealthy families but now there is a growing interest in these ranks to reconnect with the earth for societal good.

Zacky Farms, just outside Lahore, is the brainchild of Zafar Khan, a Caltech-educated software engineer who runs one of the most successful information technology companies in Pakistan named Sofizar. What started off as a recreational venture is now a side-business supplying sustainably produced organic milk, vegetables and meat to nearby Lahore suburbs. The farm is modeled on a cyclical model of minimal wastes and multiple product usage. The cows are fed pesticide-free oats, clover and grass and their manure is used to fuela biogas plant which runs the dairy facility. In an era of electricity load-shedding, such an alternative source of energy at a local industrial scale is immensely valuable to replicate as a development path. The residue of the biogas is used to fertigate the fodder fields and vegetable tunnels, which along with green manuring obviates the use of fertilizers. Free-range chickens grace the fields and there is even a fish farm on site. Zafar and his Ukrainian-born wife are committed to sharing their experiences with other farming entrepreneurs in the country.

Further south in a more rural and remote part of Punjab, famed writer and erstwhile lawyer, Daniyal Mueenudin, maintains a mid-size farm which is exemplifying other kinds of innovations. The farm does not boast ecological farming practices, apart from tunnel farming that can help with land conservation and humidity control. However, Daniyal has changed the social landscape of his area through implementing a “living wage” for all his employees. Noting the high level of inequality in Pakistan’s hinterland, the Yale-educated former director of the university’s Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, is practicing what he preached. He also owns a farm in Wisconsin and could have a comfortable life in the States but his social obligations keep him ensconced in Pakistan for most of the year.....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's part 2 of National Geographic story about Pakistan's heartland of Punjab:

....Raising the wage several-fold for works and farm manager, and also offering bonus incentives for performance, has led to positive competition that can help to erode the feudal levels of income disparity which exist in this part of Pakistan. At the same time, Daniyal is also committed to providing new livelihood paths for the agrarian workers as automation reduces farm employment in some areas. He has has fully funded a school and provided a merit-based scholarship for advanced degrees to students from the nearby village. One of the children from this school (the first in his family to even go to school) is now making his way through medical school in Lahore!

Zafar and Daniyal’s stories of commitment to constructive farming for social and ecological good may appear to be outliers but they are catching on and provide hope to a country which is all too often shadowed by despair. In the suburbs of Islamabad, tax incentives and planning rules to encourage farming by urbanites are leading to a growing culture of reconnecting with the land in residential farms. In rural areas, the disaster caused by the floods of 2010 brought forth numerous aid agencies with new ideas for sustainable farming. The Pakistani diaspora, often known in the West for professions ranging from taxi-driving to engineering, may well find opportunities for reconnecting to their land in far more literal ways. With growing commitment from land-owners it just might be possible to use the existential shock of recent natural disasters that have befallen the country into a proverbial opportunity for positive change.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's some info on Nestle's rural entrepreneurship program in Pakistan:

The Small Entrepreneur Development Project was launched in March 2009 from a partnership between Nestlé Pakistan Ltd. (as implementing partner) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) which has co-funded the project. Its aim is to contribute to the improvement of economic opportunities, income generation and food security in rural areas of the country. Livestock and dairy farmers are provided with training and assistance to both enhance their skills as small entrepreneurs and improve their market linkages. Training is provided through the Nestlé Agricultural Services in the location of training farms specially dedicated to the project.

Current dairy farming constraints

The livestock and dairy sector represent 11% of Pakistan's GDP. There are 10 million farming families and 50 million cattle heads in Pakistan, out of which 7 million farming families (approx 35 million people) live in the Punjab Province. Many of them are landless farmers.

The lack of sustainability of dairy farming in Punjab is due to the lack of training and skills, poor infrastructure, poor breeds, lack of good fodder management, lack of support mechanisms for the farmers, lack of financial services and expertise in running small enterprises.

It is then no surprise that there are no commercial dairy farms or formal dairy farming structures in Pakistan. The majority of these farmers are domestic dairy farmers with only 2 to 3 cows or buffalos.

All this amounts to poverty driven farmers, no socio-economic growth in the dairy sector, poor living conditions and very low social standing, particularly for women. 48% of the farmers are women. As part of their domestic chores, they care for the livestock but are not socially acknowledged for these services and are kept out of the decision making processes. Hence there is a strong need to initiate a development programme targeted specifically at the women which the Nestlé-UNDP Partnership Programme tackles with great success (see specific project description).

While the demand for milk and meat is growing by 5%, the actual supply increase represents less than 2% per annum. There is a large potential for farmers to play a positive role in the development of the dairy sector in Pakistan's economy. Regretfully, very few initiatives provide farmers with livestock and dairy training at the grass root level which could strongly link rural development to economic growth....
Nestlé Pakistan has established the training facility over 103 acres of leased land as an investment for the development of the dairy sector and to work towards sustainable farming and an improved rural economy - benefiting the farmers through increased prosperity and food security. Furthermore, this win-win community development model is designed to sustain itself in the following manner: Institutional linkages with the Government departments and financial institutions once established will sustain beyond the life of the project; capacities of the farmers once built shall yield economic benefits and further contribute to generate employment; training modules developed and tested by Nestlé Agri-Services will continue to be used beyond the life of the project.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR report on State Bank of Pakistan's ag loans target for the year:

The State Bank of Pakistan has set Rs 285 billion target for disbursement of agriculture loan among small farmers for current fiscal year.

Director Development Finance of SBP Karachi, Dr Muhammad Saleem said this while addressing "Agricultural & Industrial Awareness Convention-2012" here on Tuesday.

Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Higher Education Minister Qazi Muhammad Asad Khan participated as chief guest in the convention organised by the State Bank, Rawalpindi in collaboration with commercial banks and insurance companies.

More than 120 stalls of handicrafts, clothing agriculture equipment, handmade beautiful jewellers, banking products and food, etc, were set up by women from various organisations and banks to promote rural culture and potential of trade in these areas.

Horse dancing and culture displays made this event more beautiful.

More than 1500 people including students, farmers and women participated in the convention.

Chief Manager State Bank Akhtar Raza, Group Head of United Bank Ltd (UBL) Jameel Ahmed, Vice Chancellor Hazara University Haripur, Professor Dr Sahawat and others were also present on the occasion.

Dr Muhammad Saleem said the SBP had set Rs 270 billion agriculture loans target for small farmers in the previous financial year while actually Rs 260 billion loan was distributed among farmers.

He said that agri loan is being given to farmers through one-window operation.

He said farmers could give better output if banks provide them loan in time on easy instalments.

"Agriculture is backbones of our economy and its share in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 21 percent.

Livelihood of 47 percent people is directly or indirectly is linked with agriculture sector.

The SBP is playing pivotal role in progress of agriculture sector by providing loans especially to small farmers," he said.

Dr Muhammad Saleem said the SBP formulates policy in consultation with all the stakeholders including farmers.

The SBP changes its policy with passage of time by keeping the necessities of farmers in view.

Addressing the convention, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Higher Education Minister Qazi Muhammad Asad Khan said land of Haripur is fertile and the farmers of this area can give maximum production if they were given some financial support for seed, fertiliser and tractor and other inputs necessary for increasing production.

He urged the SBP to set up its branch in Haripur for promotion of small industries and agriculture sector.

About the Haripur University, He said Haripur has also become a part of the community of 120 universities.

"The government should increase budget for education to 4% of GDP.

The quality of education can only be improved by increasing the budget for this sector.

Group head of UBL, Jameel Ahmed said the State Bank has good legal framework and governance in the region.

The employees of the Bank are servants of people.

"It is your money and used to benefit you," he added.

Vice Chancellor Hazara University Haripur, Professor Dr Sahawat said knowledge-based economy and use of latest technology is of vital importance for progress of agriculture sector.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Zee News report on crop yields in South Asia:

Productivity of major food crops such as wheat, rice, maize and pulses in India is almost half of that in neighbouring China, according to a data.

In fact, yield of staple grains like maize and pulses in India is even less than that of countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, the data presented in Parliament by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar last week said.

The productivity of rice in India is 3,264 kg per hectare, while in China it is 6,548 kg a hectare, the data compiled by UN's agriculture body FAO for the year 2010 said.

It is also high in Bangladesh at 4,182 kg/hectare and Myanmar at 4,123 kg per hectare.

China also tops the list in wheat with yields of 4,748 kg per hectare, whereas for India it stands at 3,264 kg a hectare.

India stands at the bottom in terms of maize and pulses productivity compared to China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

Bangladesh leads the tally in terms of maize yields with 5,837 kg per hectare, followed by China at 5,459 kg a hectare, Myanmar 3,636 kg/hectare, Pakistan 3,558 kg per hectare, Nepal 2,118 kg every hectare, Sri Lanka 2,806 kg a hectare and in India it is 1,958 kg/hectare.

In pulses, China tops the list with 1,567 kg per hectare followed by Myanmar at 1,114 kg a hectare, Bangladesh at 871 kg/hectare, Nepal 791 kg per hectare, Pakistan 762 kg every hectare, while in India it stands at 694 kg per hectare.

Pawar said that productivity depends on factors like rainfall, extent of inputs such as fertiliser, micro-nutrients, seed replacement rate, duration of crop, extent of area sown under any crop and the nature of lands used for cultivation.

To enhance the agricultural production, the government is working on frontier areas of research like marker assisted selection, stem cell research, nanotechnology, cloning genome resource conservation, Pawar said.

The National Institute of Abiotic Research Management has been established in Maharashtra to address issues related to impending climate change, he added.

That apart, the National Institute of Biotic Stress Management and Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology are in the pipeline for undertaking high quality research, the minister added.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Guardian report on latest OECD happiness rankings:

For an indicator we have to use all the time, GDP has very few friends. The idea of a single number to show a country's economic power came from US Nobel-prize winning economist Simon Kuznets - and that's what GDP is, a measure of economic output.

What GDP misses is, arguably, more important than what it includes. Robert Kennedy argued that

the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile

Even Kuznets agreed that "the welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measure of national income".

This government - like many others - is keen to find new ways to compare nations, which is the motivation behind the moves to measure happiness and life satisfaction - and you can read more about these here.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development - OECD - has been trying a new approach: asking people what they think is important, via its Better Life Index.

The Index, launched a year ago, puts you in charge by allowing you to choose what matters to you - and how highly it should be ranked. Today it gets relaunched.

It's counted as a major success by the OECD, particularly as users consistently rank quality of life indicators such as education, environment, governance, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance above more traditional ones. Designed by Moritz Stefaner and Raureif, it's also rather beautiful.

The top five countries in number of visitors are the United States (20%), France (8%), Canada (7%), Germany (6%) and the United Kingdom (6%). The BLI is now available in French. Translation is driven by usage statistics, thus German and Spanish are likely to be next languages given the number of users from German and Spanish-speaking countries.

One of the major criticisms of the index was that it didn't include inequality - and that's changing with the relaunch with new indicators on inequality and gender plus rankings for Brazil and Russia. A couple have been removed too: Governance has been renamed civic engagement, employment rate of women with children has been replaced by the full integration of gender information in the employment data and students' cognitive skills (e.g. student skills in reading, math and sciences) has replaced students' reading skills to have a broader view.

The OECD have built lots of apps off the back of the index, including this one, which offers real-time data as people fill it in.

The countries that consistently come top in users rankings (with 2012 place in brackets) are Denmark (life satisfaction and work-life balance), Switzerland (health and jobs), Finland (education), Japan (safety), Sweden (environment), and the USA (income).

The OECD has also given us the raw data behind the Better Life index too - check out this interactive to see how countries compare on everything from Housing to Employment. Download the data for yourself and let us know what you can do with it.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a PakTribune report on Pakistan's rising meat exports:

The export of the meat increased from $108.54m (2010-11) to $123.61m in 2011-12, showing an increase of 13.9pc. An official of Ministry of National Food Security and Research told Our Sources that the future plan for the livestock sector is to persuade the policies to achieve 5pc or more growth in meat and 8pc or more in milk production through shifting from subsistence livestock farming to market-oriented and commercial farming.

Rising meat exports is good news.

Pakistan is in the middle of a major livestock revolution that is boosting domestic consumption and increasing exports of milk and meat products. This is great for Pakistan's rural economy. It'll reduce rural poverty and improve the lives of the people living in villages and small towns.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's PakistanToday on rising rice production in Pakistan:

The overall produce of rice has been estimated to reach 6.16 million tons during the current year, showing an increase of 28 percent over that of last year, official sources told APP.
“Following the remarkable increase in the yield, the rice export is expected to grow considerably during the current fiscal (2012-13),” said sources in the Ministry of National Food Security and Research. They opined that it was due to prudent and pro-farmer policies of the government that rice export from Pakistan remained over US $ 2 billion for the last four years consecutively.
Giving break-up, the sources said that the rice export fetched US $ 1.836 billion 2007-08, $ 1.983 billion in 2008-09, $2.160 billion in 2009-10, $.2.160 billion in 2010-11 and $ 2.061 billion in in 2011-12.
The sources said that in the year 2009-10 rice was cultivated at an area of 2.88 million hectares with produce of 6.88 million tons, in 200-11 rice was cultivated at an area of 2.37 million hectare with produce of 4.82 million tons and similarly in 2011-12 rice was cultivated at an area of 2.57 hectares with 6.16 million tons produce.
They said that the rice was a major cash and important food crop of the country after wheat and its produce comprised 40% basmati (fine) and 60 percent coarse types. The government, they added during 2008-09 and 2009-10 intervened in order to support farmers as the rice price hit the rock bottom due to bumper crop and plummeting international price.
Highlighting the major issues, the sources said that in view of good returns of the rice crop, there is a spread of basmati varieties in non-basmati zone.
“It may affect basmati rice exports in the long run as the basmati produced in non-basmati zone lacks aroma”, they observed. The sources added that due to higher yield of hybrid rice, farmers are also shifting the Irri-6 to hybrid rice and the hybrid rice quality is low compared to Irri types. They further said that rice crop is low in productivity and production is affected by water shortage and there are enormous post harvest losses and issue of Afflatoxin which affect crop value and quality especially in case of rice export. They stressed the need for more investments in general research and development in rice for further increasing its production.
The sources said that Pakistani basmati rice was one of the top rice commodities all over the world, but the exports of this rich rice commodity witnessed sharp decline of 14.87 percent during the last fiscal year 2011-12 as compared to the previous year.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Bloomberg on outsize returns of KSE-100:

The KSE 100 Index, the benchmark for Pakistan’s $43 billion equity market, rose 7.3 percent in the past three years when adjusted for price swings, the top gain among 72 markets worldwide, according to the BLOOMBERG RISKLESS RETURN RANKING. Pakistan had lower stock volatility than 82 percent of the nations including the U.S. (SPX) Over five years, Pakistan’s risk- adjusted returns ranked eighth.

The country’s 190 million people are boosting purchases three times faster than Asian peers as higher rural incomes and record remittances outweigh fighting on the Afghan border, violence in Karachi that led to at least 2,100 deaths this year and power outages that sparked rioting. The region’s fastest earnings growth may increase economic stability, according to Karachi-based Atlas Asset Management Ltd. Foreign investors added to holdings for five straight months, lured by Asia’s lowest valuations and biggest dividend yields.

“Stocks are very cheap and there are some very good businesses in Pakistan,” said Andrew Brudenell, whose HSBC Frontier Markets Fund has returned 18 percent this year, beating 92 percent of peers tracked by Bloomberg, and holds more shares in the country than are represented in benchmark indexes. “We still think there’s some positive growth to come from the markets.”

Earnings in the KSE 100 index advanced 45 percent during the past year, the largest gain among 17 Asian equity indexes, and this month hit the highest level since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 2005.

Consumer spending in Pakistan has increased at a 26 percent average pace the past three years, compared with 7.7 percent for Asia, according to data compiled by Euromonitor International, a consumer research firm. While the growth in Pakistan may slow to 6.6 percent in 2012, it will still exceed the 5.3 percent pace in Asia, according to Euromonitor estimates.

Engro Foods Ltd. (EFOODS), a Karachi-based seller of dairy products, reported a 214 percent jump in net income for the third quarter, while Unilever Pakistan Ltd. (ULEVER), a unit of the world’s second- biggest consumer-goods company, had a 36 percent gain, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Dividends in Pakistan have also climbed at the fastest pace in the region. Payouts increased 49 percent in the past 12 months, giving the KSE 100 index a dividend yield of 6.6 percent, double the 3.3 percent average in Asia, Bloomberg data show.
Foreign investors have purchased a net $153 million of Pakistan shares since the beginning of July, according to data from the Karachi Stock Exchange. Overseas holdings amount to about 20 percent of the bourse’s free float, or shares available for trading, according to Adnan Katchi, the head of international equity sales at Arif Habib Ltd.

Bond investors are also growing more confident. Pakistan’s international debt, rated Caa1 at Moody’s Investors Service, or seven levels below investment grade, has returned 32 percent this year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Next Generation Markets Index. Yields hit a two-year low of 8.5 percent on Oct. 26.


The country is luring more of the world’s biggest consumer brands as spending increases. Debenhams Plc (DEB), the U.K.’s second- largest department-store chain, and Nine West Group Inc., a seller of women’s shoes and handbags owned by New York-based Jones Group Inc. (JNY), opened their first Pakistan outlets this year.....

Riaz Haq said...

Country moving forward from wheat importer to self-sufficiency

Self-sufficiency in wheat production is now more attainable for Pakistan with the release of 31 wheat varieties since 2021.

Wheat is critical to millions of households in Pakistan as it serves a dual role as a foundational part of nutritional security and as an important part of the country’s economy. Pakistan’s goal to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production is more attainable with the release of 31 wheat varieties since 2021.

These new seeds will help the country’s 9 million hectares of cultivated wheat fields become more productive, climate resilient, and disease resistant—a welcome development in a region where climate change scenarios threaten sustained wheat production.

The varieties, a selection of 30 bread wheat and 1 durum wheat, 26 of which developed from wheat germplasm provided by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) were selected after rigorous testing of international nurseries and field trials by partners across Pakistan. During this period, three bread wheat varieties were also developed from local breeding programs and two varieties (one each of durum and bread wheat) were also developed from the germplasm provided by the ICARDA. These efforts are moving Pakistan closer to its goal of improving food and nutrition security through wheat production, as outlined in the Pakistan Vision 2025 and Vision for Agriculture 2030.

Over multiple years and locations, the new varieties have exhibited a yield potential of 5-20% higher than current popular varieties for their respective regions and also feature excellent grain quality and attainable yields of over seven tons per hectare.

The new crop of varieties exhibit impressive resistance to leaf and yellow rusts, compatibility with wheat-rice and wheat-cotton farming systems, and resilience to stressors such as drought and heat.

Battling malnutrition

Malnutrition is rampant in Pakistan and the release of biofortified wheat varieties with higher zinc content will help mitigate its deleterious effects, especially among children and women. Akbar-2019, a biofortified variety released in 2019, is now cultivated on nearly 3.25 million hectares. Farmers like Akbar-2019 because of its 8-10% higher yields, rust resistance, and consumers report its good chapati (an unleavened flatbread) quality.

“It is gratifying seeing these new varieties resulting from collaborative projects between Pakistani wheat breeding programs and CIMMYT along with funding support from various donors (USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and FCDO) and the government of Pakistan,” said Ravi Singh, wheat expert and senior advisor.

Closing the yield gap between research fields and smallholder fields

Releasing a new variety is only the first step in changing the course of Pakistan’s wheat crop. The next step is delivering these new, quality seeds to markets quickly so farmers can realize the benefits as soon as possible.

Increasing evidence suggests the public sector cannot disseminate enough seeds alone; new policies must create an attractive environment for private sector partners and entrepreneurs.

“Pakistan has developed a fast-track seed multiplication program which engages both public and private sectors so the new varieties can be provided to seed companies for multiplication and provided to farmers in the shortest time,” said Javed Ahmad, Wheat Research Institute chief scientist.

Strengthening and diversifying seed production of newly released varieties can be done by decentralizing seed marketing and distribution systems and engaging both public and private sector actors. Marketing and training efforts need to be improved for women, who are mostly responsible for household level seed production and seed care.