Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Pakistan Among World's Largest Food Producing Countries

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

Top 10 Countries by Agriculture Output. Source: FAO


Pakistan has about 36 million hectares of land under cultivation. Wheat and rice are grown on more than half of it. Fruits and vegetables each account for only about 3% of the cultivable land.  Since year 2001, the country's cereal production, mainly wheat, corn and rice, has grown about 45% to 38 million tons. Pakistan produced 6.64 million tons of vegetables and 5.89 million tons of fruits in 2001. Vegetable production rose to about 10 million tons and fruit production increased to nearly 7 million tons in 2015.  A little over 60% of Pakistan's agriculture consists of livestock. Pakistan produces 60 million tons of milk and 4.5 million tons of meat.  Fish production adds up to about 575,000 tons. 

Share of Land For Various Crops in Pakistan

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


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

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

Source: FAO via Kleffmann Group

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

Date Palms in Sindh, Pakistan. Photo: Emmanuel Guddu


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

Related Links:


Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Chicken Cheaper Than Daal

Meat Industry in Pakistan

Bumper Crops and Soaring Tractor Sales in Pakistan

Meat and Dairy Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistanis Are Among the Most Carnivorous

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

Pakistan's Rural Economy

Pakistan Leads South Asia in Agriculture Value Addition

Median Incomes in India and Pakistan

20 comments:

Kaiser said...

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

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

Habibullah K. said...

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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


Riaz Haq said...

What Is The Future Of Meat?

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan can significantly ramp up agriculture yields and supply.

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

Riaz Haq said...

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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


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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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


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

Anonymous said...

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

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

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

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

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

Anonymous said...

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


Sadanand Dhume:

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

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

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

Sonali Ranade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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


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

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

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

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

Pakistan growers receive technical greenhouse training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said...

Aarthi’s role in Pakistan agriculture


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