Terror in Bangladesh & Turkey; India’s Curry & Dal Crises; Pakistani Mangoes in America

Who terrorized Dhaka and Istanbul? Why were these cities targeted by terrorists? Is terror spreading farther and wider after recent foreign military interventions to check ISIS in Syria? Have mistakes by Muslim nations' governments contributed to the growing wave of terror? Can military force alone end it? If not, what else needs to be done? What kind of comprehensive strategy is needed?

Why is India suffering from curry and dal crises? Why are prices of dal, tomatoes. potatoes and other essential foods rising rapidly in India? What is Modi government doing to increase supply and ease rising food inflation in the country? What are its chances of success in short and long term?

Why are Pakistani mangoes becoming more easily and widely available in America? Are Pakistan mango exports finally ramping up? What took so long for Pakistani mangoes to arrive in significant quantities in Silicon Valley? Can 6 million strong Pakistani diaspora's demand drive greater Pakistani exports of mangoes and food other items?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)



Terror in Bangladesh & Turkey; India's Curry... by ViewpointFromOverseas

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Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Did the West Sow the Seeds of ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

Dal Crisis in South Asia

Pakistani Mangoes in America

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Riaz Haq said…
#BangladeshAttack perpetrators were radicalized youth of the upper class elite of the country's capital #Dhaka


DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh’s capital city reeled in shock on Sunday as clues began to flood social media about the privileged backgrounds of the half-dozen attackers believed to have butchered 20 patrons of a restaurant during a bloody siege here late last week.

The six attackers were killed when the army stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery to end an 11-hour siege early Saturday.

The police declined to name the young men because nobody had shown up as of Sunday night to identify their bodies, but friends and relatives recognized photographs that were posted on a messaging app by the Islamic State, along with praise for the violence.

The men, all in their late teens or early 20s, were products of Bangladesh’s elite, several having attended one of the country’s top English-medium private schools as well as universities both in the country and abroad.

Among them was the son of a former city leader in the prime minister’s own Awami League, the governing party.

“That’s what we’re absolutely riveted by,” said Kazi Anis Ahmed, a writer and publisher of the daily newspaper The Dhaka Tribune. “That these kids from very affluent families with no material want can still be turned to this kind of ideology, motivated not just to the point of killing but also want to be killed.”

That children of the country’s upper classes appear to have joined militant Islamists in an act of such brutality highlighted the radicalization among the largely moderate Muslim population here, a process that has accelerated in recent years.

The attackers intended to kill foreigners, whom they shot and then hacked with sharp weapons, blaming them for hampering the progress of Islam, one of the hostages later said.

For more than three years now, Islamist militants have murdered atheist bloggers, members of religious minorities and others. The Islamic State and a regional branch of Al Qaeda have claimed responsibility for the killings, although the Bangladeshi government continues to insist that local groups were responsible.

The involvement of the Islamic State appeared increasingly more likely during the latest attack, with the organization not only claiming responsibility but later posting the photographs of the men believed to have carried it out.

Some of the rescued hostages remained in police custody on Sunday evening, including a Bangladeshi couple and their two school-aged children who witnessed the massacre, their relatives said.

The country was in the midst of a two-day mourning period declared by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, but in the homes of the young men who had been identified as the attackers on social media, families struggled with grief, shame and disbelief.

On Sunday, the police telephoned Meer Hayet Kabir, an executive with a foreign company in Dhaka, asking him to go to the military hospital morgue to identify a body that was possibly that of his 18-year-old son, Meer Saameh Mubasher.

He said he just could not bear to make the trip.

“How will we arrange a funeral for him in these circumstances?” he asked in an interview in his family’s apartment in a wealthy neighborhood close to the diplomatic district. “Who will come?”

“I will have to apologize to the whole world on behalf of my son,” he said.

Mr. Kabir had already been in close touch with the police since Mr. Mubasher disappeared on Feb 29.
Riaz Haq said…
#Dutch FrieslandCampina buys #Engro Foods. Targets world's 3rd largest milk market (38 billion liters) in #Pakistan


FrieslandCampina has acquired 51 % of Engro Foods Limited, the second largest dairy producer in Pakistan. It enables the company to take a major leap forward in Central Asia.
Shift to packaged dairy
Pakistan is the third largest milk-manufacturing country in the world, with 38 billion liters on an annual basis. FrieslandCampina wants to take advantage of the shift to packaged dairy products in Pakistan: not even 10 % of milk consumption comes from processed and packaged milk in Pakistan, but FrieslandCampina expects that to change in the near future.

“Thanks to this well-organized and very successful company, we have obtained a strong position in the Pakistani dairy market. A growing middle class is switching to processed and packaged milk in Pakistan and Engro Foods provides a platform to build on. This acquisition will contribute to the value proposition we want to give our member dairy manufacturers. We will also help develop the agricultural industry in Pakistan with our extensive knowledge on the dairy manufacturing process and thanks to our Dairy Development Programme", CEO Roelof Joosten said.

“This is a very important event for us. Engro Foods has been very successful ever since its launch in 2006 and has since become one of the most respected companies in Pakistan. Our FrieslandCampina collaboration will definitely have a huge impact on the dairy value chain in Pakistan and will also enable Engro Foods to present the consumer with additional value thanks to an improved product range, while it will also help improve our innovation levels", Engro CEO Babur Sultan added.

Riaz Haq said…
#Mozambique to grow arhar, urad #dal (pulses) for India's consumers http://toi.in/Eklw1a via @timesofindia

Mozambique will produce Indian varieties of pulses, mainly arhar and urad, to meet India's growing demand for dals . The Cabinet on Tuesday approved signing a long-term MoU with the African nation to double import of pluses from the present one lakh tonnes to two lakh tonnes by 2020-21.
Announcing the decision, IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the crop to be grown in Mozambique would taste like that of pulses raised in India. He said the pulses grown here taste different from the ones produced in other countries. Officials also said the look and taste of imported pulses did not find many takers in India.
Sources said the government will assist Mozambique by providing high quality seeds and technical assistance. TOI has learnt that New Delhi may even provide financial help and will also assure to buy all pulses grown there.
According to a government release, pulses from Mozambique will be imported through private channels or government-to-government (G2G) sales through state agencies nominated by the two countries. "The MoU will augment domestic availability of pulses in India and thereby stabilise its prices," the release added.
Under pressure to check spiralling prices of pulses , the government had sent two teams to Myanmar and Mozambique to explore options for getting the key kitchen item. While Myanmar had flatly told the delegation that they had no mechanism for G2G trade and they preferred the private route, Mozambique ....
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan journalist rediscovers #Karachi. Daal fry, qeema, parathas for breakfast in now peaceful Lyari http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/roads/2016/07/a_writer_rediscovers_her_hometown_of_karachi_pakistan.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_tw_top … via @slate

A writer rediscovers her hometown through cuisine and conversation.

By Annie Ali Khan

Getting to the neighborhood was not easy: Just a few years ago, Lyari was a “no go” area because of gangs and politically motivated violence. At 3 a.m., I found myself on the back of a motorcycle, clinging to the driver’s shoulders, trying not to fall off as the bike hopped over a speed breaker. No rickshaw wallah was going to agree to take me to Lyari at that hour. The chai shop’s signature dish, daal fry, is prepared early in the morning, and I was hoping to get a fresh plate and catch some of the regulars.

After having lived abroad for seven years, I have a little more than a trace of an American accent and am still in search of a place to settle in Karachi, getting by in temporary apartments. I feel like a stranger in the city where I was born. But I am returning as journalist, and there’s no better way to get to know a place than to write about it.

On my way, I saw a blank billboard emblazoned with the words “TO LET,” advertising only the opportunity to advertise on it. I remembered that my face had once looked down on the intersection from that same billboard. It had been my first big modeling job, a lifetime ago.

Back then, daal chawal (rice and lentils) was a diet staple because it kept my weight down. Since coming back, I’d heard about a variation on the dish being served at the Juna Masjid Malabari Hotel. Searching for a way to feel at home again, I knew that daal fry—a recipe served with hot, fried parathas—was a delicacy I had to try for myself.

Daal has neither the fancy Mughal airs of Biryani nor the aspirational cachet of fast food. In its basic form, it is a simple food of lentils cooked in ghee (clarified butter), with turmeric, garlic, cumin seeds, and blackened onion sprinkled on top. “Daal roti,” or daal with bread, is used in local vernacular to denote a life sans frills. In the afternoons, daal and rice is sold on street. A plate can cost anywhere from 20 to 50 rupees, roughly 50 cents. Bank clerks in loosened ties and laborers in their worn, discolored kameez can be seen eating by the roadside.

This ubiquitous South Asian dish comes in many forms. I think of the Hyderabadi daal my father used to ask my mother to make for his return from long flights as a pilot for the national carrier—a thick, rich central Indian variant of the dish. I also think of the simple, soupy daal I used to cook on rainy days in New York City.

On the ride over, all was quiet, and even the rustle of leaves of the neem trees could be heard. I mentioned it to my friend, Zain Ul-Abideen, who was driving the motorcycle. “It is peaceful,” he said. “But not too long ago, there was a war here. This place looked like Beirut.” As the motorcycle turned the corner toward our destination, two paramilitary soldiers in fatigues watched us warily from behind a nest of sandbags on the intersection’s corner.

Most of the people at the hotel are rickshaw drivers and factory workers who live in the area returning from a night shift. At the table next to me, four young men are wiping their plates clean. The server brings them greby (perhaps derived from the word gravy), a complimentary extra serving of curry offered by the hotel, used for dipping the last bits of paratha.

The adjoining mosque brings in worshippers returning from their early morning prayers. Outside, under the dim streetlight, I glimpse a group of women walking past. They are Baloch women, returning from a wedding, wearing heavy chadors that cover them from head to knee. It seems unlikely they’ll come inside; these establishments are largely the domain of men. The men walking with them stop inside, along with the wedding band, for a last celebratory meal before wrapping up their night,.

Riaz Haq said…
#Modi's #India should be aware it has an image problem: Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph E. Stiglitz http://m.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/india-should-be-aware-it-has-an-image-problem-joseph-e-stiglitz/article8816009.ece …

Economist and Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz believes India has much to do to improve its “image” abroad.

Mr. Stiglitz is in Bangalore to deliver a talk on “Global inequality: Causes and Consequences” along with economist Branko Milanivic.

During a media interaction on Wednesday, Mr. Stiglitz said the crackdown on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and “harassment” of students - particularly the slapping of sedition charges against students of Jawaharlal Nehru University - had put India in a small club of authoritarian countries.

“India should be aware that it has an image problem. There are very few governments that have made it difficult for NGOs to operate or engage in harassment of universities. These events have had a strong effect on public opinion abroad. It puts the country in the club of countries such as Egypt, Russia and Turkey. Most people in India will not want to be in this group,” he said.

He believed that with India growing in an open global economy, it was “important for India to do a better job of explaining”.

With India showing growing inequality, Mr. Stiglitz warned that a situation, where the rich one per cent see tremendous growth while the rest see stagnating incomes, will eventually lead to leaders such as (Republican Presidential candidate) Donald Trump thriving.

To tackle economic inequality, he said there needs to be high growth, with lesser focus on inflation, and continuation and strengthening of welfare programmes such as NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in India.
Riaz Haq said…
Bromance aside, #Obama regime doesn’t really think much of #Modi’s performance or #India’s GDP figures http://qz.com/724502 via @qzindia

Narendra Modi’s “friendship” with US President Barack Obama doesn’t appear to be going in the direction that the Indian prime minister would like.
The American government has become the latest critic of the Modi government’s failure to deliver on its promises and raised doubts about the country’s estimates of its economic growth. The Indian government has been “slow to propose other economic reforms that would match its rhetoric, and many of the reforms it did propose have struggled to pass through parliament,” Washington noted in its Investment Climate Statements for 2016.
The Investment Climate Statements, prepared annually by US embassies and diplomatic missions, provide information on investment laws and practices in each region, specifically to aid American investors in their investment decisions.

Modi’s victory in 2014 was a turning point for investor sentiment in India. He had come to power with a complete majority, so most observers assumed his government would be able to implement reforms more smoothly. That hasn’t been the case. The Indian Parliament has failed to pass some key reforms, the US government said, citing examples of the land acquisition bill and the goods and services tax (GST) bill.

“This has resulted in many investors retreating slightly from their once forward-leaning support of the BJP-led government,” the report said.
In August 2015, opposition parties in the Indian parliament managed to stop a refurbished and contentious land acquisition bill that Modi and his government backed. This was a major setback for the “Make in India” campaign as acquiring land for factories continues to be a complex and painful procedure in the country. Projects worth Rs53,000 crore ($9 billion) are stuck due to land acquisition problems in India, according to some estimates.
The government is still negotiating details about GST with opposition parties. GST aims to streamline India’s convoluted tax structure and is likely to provide an immediate boost to the country’s GDP.
“Overstated” growth

Given that several key reforms are yet to be implemented, the country’s claim as the fastest growing economy in the world may not be correct, the US government said. “Ostensibly, India is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, but this depressed investor sentiment suggests the approximately 7.5% growth rate may be overstated,” the report said.

The US isn’t first to doubt India’s GDP growth data. Many economists—and even the country’s central bank—have in the past voiced concerns over the new method of calculation that instantly increased the country’s GDP growth from 4.7% to 6.9% for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The on-ground situation in India also indicates that all isn’t well. For instance, the pace of manufacturing growth is slow, private investments are yet to pick up, job creation is tepid and exports need a boost.
Socio-economic challenges

The report also warned potential investors of India’s sluggish legal system and complex business environment.
“Although India prides itself on its rule of law, the country ranks 178 out of 189 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report in the category of enforcing contracts,” it said. “Its courts have cases backlogged for years, and by some accounts more than 30 million cases could be pending at various levels of the judiciary.”
Each of India’s 29 states and seven union territories has unique tax structures, labour laws, education levels and quality of governance, which means “investors must be prepared to face varied political and economic conditions,” the report said.

Riaz Haq said…
"White prejudice and discrimination keep the Negro low in standards of living, health, education, manners, and morals. This, in turn, gives support to white prejudice. White prejudice and negro standards thus mutually ‘cause’ each other." (Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma, 1944)


Study Reveals Americans' Subconscious Racial Biases

A Swedish researcher found in 2010 that implicit bias against Muslims correlated strongly with the way hiring managers decided to interview either Swedes or Arabs for a position.

"Most of these implicit racial biases are consequence of subtle messages seen in the media, popular culture, that suggest one group is good, and another group is bad-- associating one group with crime, another group with accomplishment," Rich Morin, senior editor at Pew, told NBC News.

The highest level of implicit racial preference revealed in the entire study was among whites being tested for bias against Asian Americans, with 50% of whites tested in the study revealing a subconscious preference for other whites over Asians. Thirty percent of whites had no implicit bias, and 19% of whites had a subconscious preference for Asians.

The second highest level of implicit racial preference was among whites tested for bias against blacks, with 48% of whites recorded as having a subconscious preference for other whites over blacks. Twenty-seven percent of whites tested had no preference between whites and blacks, and 25% of whites preferred blacks.

A higher percentage of biracial black-white adults and biracial Asian-white adults displayed implicit bias in favor of whites, when compared to bias in favor of their respective minority group.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's high import tariff prevents #wheat imports. Government's high procurement price prevents exports http://bit.ly/29DOh3Q

Pakistan procured 6 million tonnes of wheat from the recently concluded wheat harvest, significantly lower than the 7.05 million tonnes target that was announced prior to the onset of harvest, but approximately 1 million tonnes higher than a year ago. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said in a July 1 report. Total procurement is just 24% of the estimated total crop. At this point, Pakistan is effectively cut off from the international wheat market as high procurement prices make exports uncompetitive and a high tariff prevents imports.

Over the past four years, public sector wheat procurement has ranged between 5 million tonnes to 6 million tonnes annually. With around 4 million tonnes in carryover stocks this year’s procurement will boost public stock levels to around 10 million tonnes shortly after the start of the marketing year, similar to the levels reached during the past two years.

The estimate of 2016 wheat production is unchanged at 25.3 million tonnes. About 25% of Pakistani wheat growers produce a marketable surplus that amounts to an estimated 50% of the crop or 12 million tonnes to 13 million tonnes. The government and private sector typically split the surplus with each purchasing about half of the marketed crop, although, as mentioned above, government procurement was just 24% of the crop this year. The balance of the crop remains on farm for local consumption. The government’s role in the procurement of the harvest is generally sufficient to influence market prices, creating an effective price floor in the domestic wheat market.

Pakistan, through the provincial food departments and the federal Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO), procures wheat from farmers at the support price and then releases wheat for sale to flour mills at the government’s fixed issue price. The system aims to protect farmers from price fluctuations and ensure a minimum return to farmers and encourages wheat production. The Pakistani government maintained the wheat support price for the market year 2016-17 crop, at 1,300 rupees per 40 kilograms ($310 per tonne). The government spent approximately $1.8 billion for wheat procurement this year, much of it financed through loans that will be paid back when the wheat is sold to the private sector. Some wheat stocks are used to feed communities that have been displaced from their homes due to conflict and some is sold as flour at reduced rates to consumers via low-priced, government-run utility stores.

As global wheat prices have declined, Pakistan’s high sales price for publicly-held stocks has resulted in limited export buyer interest. In January 2015, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved a subsidy of $55 per tonne for Punjab and $45 per tonne for Sindh for Islamabad three months to cover exports of up to 1.2 million tonnes of wheat. The deadline was extended twice until Sept 30, 2015. ...

Afghanistan has been the main wheat export market for Pakistan for many years mainly due to easy accessibility and traditional trade linkages between the two countries. Given the present trend, Pakistan’s market year 2016-17 wheat flour exports to Afghanistan are forecast to be 700,000 tonnes (wheat equivalent).

The domestic wheat market has been insulated from imports by a 40% regulatory duty. With a high tariff and high domestic prices, Pakistan continues to be isolated from the international wheat market. The tariff is well below Pakistan’s bound tariff rate (the maximum tariff rate Pakistan can establish) for wheat of 150%. Consequently, Pakistan is not likely to import any significant quantity of wheat during market year 2016-17.
Riaz Haq said…
#Drought-hit #India back in global corn market. 2nd large import order after 2-decades of self-sufficiency. http://on.wsj.com/29SFhww via @WSJ

India, the world’s sixth-largest consumer of corn, said this past Sunday that it intends to import 500,000 tons of corn in hopes of bringing down local prices for the commodity. That would be more than twice the size of its 240,000-ton international order in April—its first corn imports since 1991.

“This is historic. India has not yet imported such a high volume,” said Deepak Chavan, an analyst at Farm Futures Pvt., a commodities consultancy. “A big market is being opened to the world.”

The government said it will invite bids next month for the new corn imports.

A global glut of corn—generated in part by huge stockpiles in the U.S. and shrinking demand in China—has slammed corn prices in the last five years. Global corn prices are more than 50% below a record price of $8.49 a bushel reached in 2012. India’s turnabout to become a major importer of corn could help counterbalance the challenges for the sector.

India consumes around 20 million tons of corn a year and uses it mostly in animal feed and to manufacture starch. The lion’s share of India’s corn exports have traditionally gone to Southeast Asia.

Corn imports and exports are restricted by New Delhi to protect the country’s farmers. Local farmers usually meet local demand and export the leftovers. But two consecutive years of drought have slashed production and eaten into stockpiles, pushing up domestic prices of corn by as much as 15% in the last year.

Corn production in India fell for the last two years because the June-through-September monsoon rains were well below average. Though the rains are looking much better so far this year, corn production is expected to continue to fall because farmers have planted less of it.

“There was hardly any crop during the last two years,” said Krishnarao Kale, a farmer in the western state of Maharashtra. “If the crop fails this year as well, I will stop growing corn.”

The biggest winners of India’s import drive could be the suppliers that can guarantee corn shipments without genetically modified corn, said Cole Martin, commodities analyst at BMI Research in Singapore. India prohibits the import of GMO corn.

“The Indian government will find its goal very challenging, if even possible,” because most corn producers use GMO varieties, he said.

Most of the corn from the big exporting countries such as the U.S., Brazil and Argentina is genetically modified. The nongenetically modified variety is available in Ukraine and some European countries, including France.

Rajiv Yadav, a grains and oilseeds analyst at Noble Natural Resources India Pvt. in New Delhi, said the Indian government needs to change its corn policy to be able to meet the country’s growing corn demand.

Allowing the planting of GMO seeds would increase India’s corn harvest, while allowing the import of GMO corn would free the country to import much more affordable corn, Mr. Yadav said.
Riaz Haq said…
#Bangladesh bakery attack mastermind is hiding in #India: Report http://toi.in/EUDJVa via @TOIWorld

A key aide to Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Hasina on Thursday indicated the government's willingness to share a dossier of "missing youths" with India, underlining the country's intent to jointly fight cross-border terror.
The comments by Gawhar Rizvi, a senior foreign affairs advisor to Hasina, follows a Dhaka Tribune report that claimed a key plotter in the July 1 Gulshan carnage slipped into West Bengal seven months before the attack. Investigators in Bengal have been on the lookout for a key JMB operative, Md Suleiman, whose name cropped up while questioning an IS operative Abu Al-Musa Al Bangali alias Musa arrested by the state CID from Burdwan 10 days ago. Suleiman was Musa's handler for the past two years.
Speaking at a conference on regional cooperation, Rizvi said Bangladesh was preparing a dossier on missing youths from the country and would share the information with India to help trace them. In this month's terror attack at Holey Artisan Bakery, three of the terrorists who hailed from affluent families in Dhaka had gone missing four to six months before the attack. Further investigations revealed that over 100 youths, most in their 20s, are missing from Dhaka.
The Dhaka Tribune report claimed the mastermind behind the Holey attack had slipped into India and was hiding somewhere in Bengal. "Investigators dealing with the dreadful Gulshan attack claimed to have identified the mastermind, saying he fled the country at least seven months ago after finalising the operation plan and is now hiding in West Bengal..." the report stated.

The Dhaka Tribune report claimed the mastermind behind the Holey attack had slipped into India and was hiding somewhere in Bengal. "Investigators dealing with the dreadful Gulshan attack claimed to have identified the mastermind, saying he fled the country at least seven months ago after finalising the operation plan and is now hiding in West Bengal..." the report stated.

Around the time of the "disappearance", sleuths here say Musa met Suleiman in Malda, a bordering district. The two had earlier met six times between 2014 and 2015.

Riaz Haq said…
BBC News - From #Iran to #India: The journey and evolution of #biriyani ("birinj biriyan" or fried rice). #Pakistan


Biriyani is the quintessential celebratory dish in India and an aromatic delicacy that dazzles as a sublime one-dish meal, writes historian and food expert Pushpesh Pant.
The 400-year-old city of Hyderabad is linked in popular mind for its signature biriyani as much as it is with the exquisitely constructed Charminar monument.
The biriyani may have become a local landmark, but that doesn't stop people from asking, "Where did it come to India from and when?"
The lazy "scholars" are quick to opine that it was the genius of Indian people who transformed the "Cinderella of Central Asian pilaff" into the sparkling biriyani, but it is difficult to buy this "thesis".
A pulav (as pilaff is called in India) is a pulav - call it by any name - and a biriyani is a biriyani - belonging to a very different species.

There can be little doubt that biriyani originated in Iran. Even the name biriyani can be traced to the original Persian "birinj biriyan" - literally, fried rice.
In Iran, the deg (pot) is put on dum (slow cooking to allow the marinated meat to cook in its own juices and perfectly with layered rice and aromatic substances), and the rice is gently fried.
The doyenne of Islamic cooking in India, Salma Hussein, tells us however that the biriyani sold on the streets in contemporary Iran no longer contains rice and has evolved into succulent chunks of meat cooked in an envelope of rumali roti (paper thin bread).

But the dish has also evolved in India, where it has a colourful and varied history.
There is no evidence that biriyani first came to this land with the Moguls. It is far more probable that it travelled with pilgrims and soldier-statesmen of noble descent to the Deccan region in south India.
It was only much later that the dish meandered along less travelled roads, along the seaboard and the hinterland of the peninsula, donning different local garbs to tickle regional palates.
Riaz Haq said…
Dailytimes | #Pakistan exports 201,000kg #mushrooms worth $12.930m in 2016 - #Vegetable #exports http://go.shr.lc/2hTlH6L via @Shareaholic
Pakistan exported around 201,000 kilograms (kg) of mushroom with a total export price of $12.930 million in 2016. Not only was the increase in the value of mushroom exports phenomenal but mushroom exports also contributed over 25 percent to the overall vegetables exports of over $101 million the same year.

In Pakistan, mushrooms are grown in farm houses, including but not limited to state owned national logistic cell. Farm production contributes around 1 percent to overall mushroom exports, while the rest of it comes from natural production in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The global mushroom production according to Food and Agriculture Organization's statistics was estimated at 4.99 million tons in 2016 with major producers being China with 60 percent production, followed by United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Ireland, Indonesia and India. Talking to the Daily Times, Akhtar Usmani, Chairman Mann-O-Salva Pakistan Private Limited who are the pioneers for the cultivation of mushroom commercially in Pakistan, are not only meeting the demand of the local market, but also earn foreign exchange by selling fresh and dehydrated mushroom to Europe and America. The export market rate while in the Canadian stores was $14 for a kilogram against our cost of $4.

There is a huge export market around the world, some private sector companies export thousands of kilograms, grown in Swat at a lurative price of over $1,000 for a kg.

With absolutely 100 percent export for the same we got our product quality approval from a German firm, and got export permission from the US. It occurred to us on holidays while having pizza for lunch with an extra topping of mushroom. We established this company in 1985 on 16 acres of land allotted by the Government of Sindh in Korangi Industrial Area. National Development Finance Corporation not only agreed for a loan but it was the first time the bank participated as equity partners in an agribusiness.

Mateen Siddiqui, Chairman of Fruits, Vegetables Processors and Exporters Association said mushroom export helped boost overall vegetables exports.

Mushrooms are playing a significant role in the national economics by earning substantial foreign exchange from exports.

In Punjab and Sindh it is found after the monsoon rains, while in the valleys of Balochistan it is found to grow in large numbers in March and April. Local people refer to it as "khamiri". They not only do they eat it, but sell it in the small villages and vegetable markets. A part of the crop is dried and sent to large towns. Edible mushroom once called 'Food of God' is still treated as a garnish or delicacy the world over due to its delicious taste and nourishment value. It is rich in proteins and has most of the essential amino acids with about 90 percent digestive co-efficient. In addition to being low in calories and an ideal food for diabetics, heart and cancer patients. The umbrella-shaped vegetation grows under the trunk of a tree, among sparse vegetation, and sprinkled in grasslands after the rains. However, the umbrella-shaped fungus with a little stalk tickles the taste-buds of millions around the world.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan urged to export apples to Russia


Pakistan has an opportunity to capture the Russian market, as importers have expressed an interest in importing Pakistani apples. According to a private news channel report, Pakistan, with a production of 1.495 million tonnes of apple, stands at number 10 in global ranking.

The overall trade of apple has surpassed 6.5 million tonnes. Analysts believe that Pakistan can earn foreign exchange by capturing the soaring global apple market. They urge the government to facilitate farmers with the provision of the latest technology in this field and help them discover new markets. A spokesperson for the Apple Growers and Exporters Association said that demand for Pakistani apples was surging in the international market.

He said that with the adoption of modern techniques in farming, apple production could be increased by two tonnes per acre and the country could earn Rs30 billion additional income from apple exports. He said that France, Belgium, Chile, the Netherlands and the US were countries that topped the list in apple production.

source: nation.com.pk
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's exports of 127,000 #mangoes pass #India's 36,000 mangoes in #mango trade game in 2016 http://ecoti.in/_yQImb via @economictimes

India’s trade in the fruit has been below satisfactory. In the same year, India exported a mere 42,998 mangoes out of the giant basket of production while Pakistan managed to export around 65,000 units. In 2015-16, while Pakistan exported 1,27,000 units, India’s exports actually fell to around 36,000.

While Middle-East is the main market for Indian mangoes, the European Union is the main market for its Pakistani counterparts.

“Efforts are underway to make Pakistan the world’s largest exporter of mango,” Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Pakistan’s minister for food security and research had said a year ago.

It is expected that India will produce close to 19.21 million tonnes mangoes this year. Also, while it is expected to touch the 50k mark for export, Pakistan is riding on the wave of taking more than 2 lakh mangoes to different parts of the world this year.

Although new destinations like Australia, Korea and New Zealand are coming up for export, India is still way behind Pakistan in the number game.

According to a report carried by TOI last month, export demand for Indi ..
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan expects to export 100,000 metric tonnes #mangoes this year


Pakistan’s mango export commenced from Saturday onwards, according to All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA).

Moreover, PFVA has set an export target of 100,000 metric tonnes for this year.

Last year, the mango export target was set at 100,000 tonnes and towards the end of the season the export stood at 128,000 metric tonnes, which fetched USD 68 million, stated Patron-in-Chief of PFVA Waheed Ahmed.

Ahmed explained that the export target has been set at 100,000 metric tonnes as mango producers have already faced huge losses due to unexpected climatic changes.

Due to a prolonged winter season , hail storm and strong winds in Punjab, the collective production of mango is anticipated to decline to about 600,000 metric tonnes from an estimated production of 18,00,000 metric tonnes.

Punjab produces about 67 percent of the mangoes in Pakistan. However, severe climatic conditions have let to 50 percent mangoes being affected. The extent of damage can only be ascertained once mangoes become available in the market.

Pakistan exports mangoes to 50 countries across the world, shared Ahmed, adding that in the current season attention is being paid to China, US and South Korea.

Last year, export value of mangoes was between USD 680 to USD 700 per metric tonne. However, in the current season this value would be USD 650 per metric tonne, he added.

Seeking Punjab govt’s assistance
Ahmed also requested the Punjab government to reserve funds in upcmoning budger to encounter the menace of climate changes during crop production.

He said that the climatic changes are big challenge for the entire agriculture sector, including horticulture sector, and technology can be utilised to find appropriate solutions.

With use of modern technology the damage caused by hail storms can be avoided and losses can be minimised, said Ahmed.

Waheed also pressed the federal government to fulfill its commitment to cost reduction by extending seven percent financial assistance on export of fruits and vegetables in the forthcoming budget.

He further emphasised that the government must take serious notice of discriminatory policy of freight cost by the foreign carries to Pakistan. The carriers must also be bound to charge appropriate freight rate.

Foreign carriers are charging freight cost of USD 1.26 per kilogramme from Bombay to London, where as USD 1.70 per kg is being charged for the sector Karachi to London. The high costs make it difficult for Pakistan’s mangoes to compete in the international market.

Riaz Haq said…
#Rataul #mango: Another #India-#Pakistan flashpoint. Village near #Meerut in #UP claims mango http://toi.in/3NmfLb via @TOICitiesNews

Meerut: Among the scores of unresolved issues between neighbours - India and Pakistan - lies the conflict over a mango variety. To this day, origin of the delicious Rataul mango is disputed between the two countries.
The flashpoint of this historical tussle was witnessed in 1981 when the then Pakistan president General Zia-ul-Haq presented Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President Neelam Sanjeev Reddy a basket full of 'special mangoes from his country'.
The then Indian PM liked the sweet mangoes so much that she wrote an open letter to General Zia-ul-Haq appreciating the mangoes, which she said were "only available in Pakistan". It was then that a group of mango growers from Rataul village in Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat district met Gandhi and explained how the variety was "born" in India and not in Pakistan.
"My father's elder brother Abrarul Haq Siddiqui migrated to Pakistan after partition with saplings of Rataul mango and cultivated in Multan and named it 'Anwar Rataul' in the memory of his late father, Anwarul Haq.
"Now, Multan is famous in the world for this mango. Anwar Rataul is considered the king of mangoes," said Rahat Abrar, director, public relations office, Aligarh Muslim University, who is originally a resident of Rataul village and proud of its mangoes.

Over the years, Anwar Rataul mangoes have become so famous in Pakistan that the country has even issued a postal stamp on the mango variety.
Mairajuddin, 60, who was part of the delegation of mango growers which met Indira, told TOI, "Soon after the news of Pakistan variety being presented to then President Neelam Sanjeev Reddy was carried out in the media, a meeting was called in our village and it was decided that a box with Rataul mangoes should be presented to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with the request that the same should be sent to the Pakistan president.

"During mango festivals across the globe, there is always a tussle between the two countries over the ownership of this variety. We have over 2,000 bighas of land under cultivation of this variety in Baghpat and adjoining areas," he said.
Alimuddin Siddiqui, one of the cultivators, told TOI , "Anwar Rataul has its roots in this village here and it is still grown in a sizeable area."
Riaz Haq said…
Balochistan can earn Pakistan up to $1 billion a year


Balochistan alone has the potential to earn Pakistan up to $1 billion a year from fruit and vegetable exports, according to initial findings of All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association (PFVA).

But this will happen if international good practices are adopted, added the representative organisation of fresh food exporters that has recently completed a consultative process with stakeholders in Balochistan to develop a road map for the sector.

“The PFVA’s vision would provide long-lasting solutions of problems like food security,” a press release quoted former PFVA chairman Waheed Ahmed as saying.

A PFVA delegation recently met Balochistan Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai, growers and trade organisations and briefed them about the vision of the association to develop a national policy of horticulture.

The PFVA is gathering support throughout the country for its upcoming “National conference on Horticulture” which will be organised in February 2018.

The association briefed the governor and held consultative meetings at the Quetta Chamber of Commerce to increase the participation of farmers and other stakeholders in highlighting issues of the sector.

The current share of export volume of fruits and vegetables from the province is $45 million, which can be enhanced to $1 billion by establishing Research and Development facilities, Ahmed said.

Pakistan suffers due to low volume of exports overall, aggravating economic issues like a widening trade and current account deficit. Experts have time and again highlighted the need to increase exports and tap sectors other than textile to address economic issues.

The PFVA says that the establishment of grading, processing and packing plants as common facilities in various parts of Balochistan is imminent to achieve this objective. The governor assured to render full support and assistance is setting up common facilities centres in Balochistan, the release added.

Pakistan exported $641 million worth of horticulture products in fiscal year 2016. However, PFVA officials say the country can touch a volume of up to $7 billion within a decade if the federal and provincial governments frame friendlier policies.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #seafood exports of 198,420 tons, up 27.94% in US$, earning $451.026 million in FY18 https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/362151-pakistan-fish-exports-up-27-94pc-netting-451-026-million-in-fy18

The country’s export value increased 14.57 percent from $393.662 million off 155,091 tons in 2016-17. However, as per officials, the country’s fisheries exports declined 7.35 percent in value to $11.837 million tons in July 2018 from $12.776 million in the same month last fiscal. The quantity was down 2.87 percent to 5,452 tons from 5,613 tons.

Industry stakeholders complain that Pakistani seafood fetches lower value in the international market as the quantity of exportable fish has depleted due to various reasons, including overfishing.

Faisal Iftikhar, former president, Pakistan Fisheries Exporters Association, said, “Pakistan’s fish and fish preparations exports fetch $2.27 to $2.5 per kilogram, which is lowest in the region’s average price of around $7/kg.”

He blames it on the lower quality of fish meal. “Our prices show that we export more fish meal and our prices are lower than quality fish meal price, which fetches $3/kg.”

He said quality seafood stocks were depleting in Pakistani waters because of overfishing and use of destructive nets. Pakistan mostly exports to China at lower rates, although the European Union has lifted ban from two factories amid political pressure, ‘without inspecting the factories on the ground”, he informed.

“Revival of exports to EU had no significant impact over Pakistan’s total seafood exports,” the official said, adding that only one factory exported to EU, and that too on lower prices at par with China.

China is one of the largest buyers of Pakistan’s fish and fish preparations. Other buyers include Hong Kong, Indonesia, Egypt, Middle East, UK, Thailand, South Korea, Bangladesh etc.

Capt Akhlaque, whose factory is the only one exporting seafood to EU, said, “We are not in a bargaining position. India is controlling the prices, with 200 factories exporting to the European Union countries.”

According to Marine Fisheries Department, there are around 150 fish and seafood exporting firms in Pakistan, of which 35 operate in the premises of Karachi Fish Harbour.

Akhlaque said commercial fish stocks had not depleted completely. “When ban on fishing is fully implemented during the breeding season in June and July, better stocks develop,” he said, adding that since the ban was implemented there were chances of better fishing in the current fiscal year.

Muhammad Ali Shah, chairmen Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, a representative body of fishermen, said processing and transportation of fish to the harbour was poor, which deteriorated the fish quality resulting in lower prices in the international market.

“Fish caught at Keti Bunder is transported to Karachi Fish Harbour in a poor manner, which deteriorates its quality,” he added.

Shah said that deep-sea fishing and overfishing had affected the commercial fish stocks, which were rapidly reducing in Pakistani waters. “Marine pollution and use of harmful nets are increasing the woes,” he added.

The Fisheries Resources Appraisal in Pakistan Project, a Unilateral Trust Fund project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and the government of Pakistan have also pointed to depletion of seafood resources.

“The overall status for all the major fish stocks of Pakistan is that they are all below target biomass levels and nine of the species groups are below the depleted threshold,” said the project report. “Only two species groups out of 14 show any indication that fishing mortality is at or below the limit. All of Pakistan's marine fisheries are over-exploited.”

The report said the prospects for an economically vibrant and growing fishery were poor, and reduced exports, value, and food fish production were all to be expected even as fish meal production increases.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan: #Mango Research Institute introduces high density mango plantation.The mango plants are placed at small intervals. This planting technique also helps to save on water for irrigation. It eases #orchard management. #horticulture http://www.freshplaza.com/article/9035989/pakistan-mango-research-institute-introduces-high-density-mango-plantation/#.W9Hr1ztjXjc.twitter

The Pakistan Mango Research Institute (MRI) has been planting mango trees at its research area, in line with the Ultra High Density Plantation process.

The Ultra High Density Plantation is a common technique, already used internationally. However, Pakistan was somewhat lagging behind in this area, said Agriculture Information Assistant Director Naveed Asmat Kohloon.

Still, the technique is of vital importance as it offers more production with low inputs. The mango plants are placed at small intervals. This planting technique also helps to save on water for irrigation. It is also helpful as it eases orchard management.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan kinnow harvest current season: plus 400,000 tons
The Citrus Research Institute Sargodha is making all-out efforts to aid Pakistani citrus growers, hoping that during the current season growers would get 25-40 percent better rates compared to the previous season. A total of 10,000 saplings of seedless kinnow have been distributed among farmers through a balloting system. Registration is underway to provide more saplings for next season.

CRIS Director Muhammad Nawaz Maiken stated this Tuesday that the kinnow yield was 2.5 million tons in total last year, out of which 400,000-tons -worth Rs 28 billion (€182 mln)- was exported to international markets.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's #fruits #export up by 6.37% in 10 months, recorded at $380.869 million during July-April (2018-19) against the exports of $358.062 million during July-April (2017-18). #Vegetable exports up 6.09%. #horticulture https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/477968-pakistans-fruits-export-up-by-six-percent-in-10-months

The export of fruits from the country witnessed an increase of 6.37 percent during the first 10 months of current fiscal year against the exports of the corresponding period of last year.

The fruits'' export from the country were recorded at $ 380.869 million during July-April (2018-19) against the exports of $358.062 million during July-April (2017-18), showing a growth of 6.37 percent, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

In terms of quantity, the export of the fruits witnessed an increase of 10.65 percent from 721,146 metric tons to 651,758 metric ton, according to the data.

On the other hand, the vegetables exports from the country witnessed a decrease of 1.18 percent by going down from $203.257 million last year to $200.859 during the current fiscal year.

In terms of quantity, the exports from the country also witnessed increase of 17.62 percent from 739,940 metric ton to 870,298 metric ton, according to the data.

Meanwhile, on year-on-year basis, the fruits export witnessed decrease of 35.63 percent during the month of April 2019 when compared to the same month of last year.

The fruits exports in April 2019 were recorded at $ 11.745 million against the exports of $18.246 million in April 2018, the PBS data revealed.

On month-on-month basis, the exports of fruits also decreased by 58.23 percent in April 2019 when compared to the exports of $28.117 million in March 2019.

Similarly, the vegetables exports on year-on-year basis increased by 6.09 percent, from $30.634 million in April 2018 to $32.501 million in April 2019.

On month-on-month basis, the vegetables exports also witnessed increase of 8.39 percent in April 2019 when compared to the exports of $29.986 million in March 2019, according to the data.
Riaz Haq said…
Most famous #ingredients used to make typical '#Indian' #cuisine aren’t actually native to #India. chillies from #Mexico, potatoes from #SouthAmerica, tomatoes (introduced by the Portuguese) and the texture of its naan (from Central Asia) http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20190609-the-surprising-truth-about-indian-food

I was in a narrow kitchen in Mumbai, one of India’s most strikingly modern cities, watching an ancient Indian meal being cooked on vessels of baked clay. Utensils made from leaves, wood and metal were scattered across the kitchen. The food was being prepared using only ingredients native to the subcontinent, which meant that the sharpness of chillies (native to Mexico) and the starch of the potatoes (imported from South America) were missing.

“No cabbages, cauliflower, peas or carrots, either,” said Kasturirangan Ramanujam, one of the cooks preparing the meal. But that won’t stop him from making an elaborate feast for my family that will include rice, the mulligatawny-like saatramudu, protein-rich kuzhambu gravy and an astonishing array of vegetables and snacks.

This is the shraadha meal that is eaten by many Hindu families in southern India on the death anniversaries of close family members – in this case, the anniversary of my father-in-law’s passing. While the feast is believed to feed families’ departed ancestors, it has inadvertently created a living memory of the region’s culinary history, because it is made entirely from recipes and ingredients that have existed on the subcontinent for at least a millennium.

In a country famous for its rich red curries made from tomatoes (introduced by the Portuguese) and the texture of its naan (from Central Asia), many of the most famous ingredients that go into typical ‘Indian’ food aren’t actually native to India.

Potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots and peas, which are now staples in contemporary Indian cooking, arrived in the subcontinent relatively recently. Accounts from the late-18th Century report that the Dutch brought potatoes to India primarily to feed other Europeans. Now, however, potatoes are boiled, baked, roasted, stuffed and fried in nearly every kitchen in India.

The late Indian food historian K T Achaya believed that chillies probably arrived from Mexico via Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama and answered a deeply felt need for a pungent spice that could be grown in every part of the country without needing as much rain as pepper.

And according to Ruchi Srivastava, producer for Indian television show The Curries of India, “All cuisines in India have adopted the tomato.” The plant arrived in India through a circuitous route – from South America to southern Europe, then to England and finally to India in the 16th Century courtesy of the British. Srivastava argues that restaurants and hotels have popularised red curry sauce as ‘Indian’ in the last 100 years. “This has now started changing the palate of people,” she said. “For anyone who doesn’t know much about Indian food, the onion-tomato gravy has become a classic.”

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #Mangoes Try to Break Into #UnitedStates Markets. The mango is indigenous to #India and Pakistan producing 40% of world's supply, but the U.S. gets most of its supply from Central and South America. It's hard to find #SouthAsian fruit in #America https://www.voanews.com/episode/pakistan-mangoes-try-break-us-markets-3972621

Riaz Haq said…
According to the Department of Plant Protection (DPP), which certifies official exports, the figure stood at 101,296 tonnes on September 3. As per the Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC), the last time when mango exports crossed the 100,000-mark was 2011-12.


However, the next year in 2013-14, the world, especially the European Union, made hot-water treatment mandatory after intercepting around 196 consignments infested with fruit-fly and threatened to ban exports. Europe led the decline in exports as they dipped to 67,000 tonnes. To the EU alone, exports came down to 4,000 from 30,000 tonnes.

The country then had only two hot-water treatment plants. The next few years saw massive investments flowing into treatment plants and their number has now risen, according to the official count, to 37 and three more are in the process of registration.

An increase in acreage and improvement in farming practices could double production in the next five years

Even Vapour Heat Treatment plants — especially designed by, and exclusively for exports to, Japan — have been set up to serve this high-end market. Together these plants are playing their role in boosting exports and consignments to Europe that have doubled in the last three years. All these steps have cemented the export launch pad and leave everyone involved in the business hopeful.

Signs on the production side are equally positive where farm practices and acreage are improving. This season, the fruit escaped early climatic scares. An extended winter and an early onset of summer, where the temperature suddenly skyrocketed to 47 degree Celsius in the South of Punjab, commonly known as the core mango belt, generated fears of up to a 30 per cent drop in production.

However, the Punjab Crop Reporting wing reported 1.3 million tonnes of production this year against 1.29m tonnes last year. Though the size of the fruit suffered in some areas as a steep rise in temperature forced the crop to mature early, the final figures did not suffer.

Furthermore, expansion of mango cultivation to non-core adjoining areas like Mianwali, Bhakar and other localities spells further good news for the fruit’s cultivation. “Though the shift has not been massive, it is substantial,” says Shakil Ahmad — a mango-grower from the area. More importantly, the trend is there and is expected to gather pace in years to come.

A contributing factor to this trend is the construction of two huge housing schemes — Defence Housing Authorities — at Multan and Bahawalpur which fall right in the middle of the traditional mango area. The shortfall of land in the core area opened a new window for growers in other areas that have the ecological conditions to support mango plantation.

Based on these factors, Waheed Ahmed, Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA), thinks that mango production should double in the next five years.

Along with area under acreage, farm practices are fast improving. For example, timely pruning can double the yield and the majority of farmers are doing this religiously now. Previously, while global practices dictated that the height of a mango tree should not go beyond 12 feet, in Pakistan trees were as high as 40 feet. But now this is changing.

Similarly, the entire production and supply chain is transforming as high tech practices are used and the education of farmer improves, he explained.

Some voices from the other side of the mango belt — starting from Bhimber to Mirpur (Kashmir) right down to Gujrat and Sialkot — are also getting louder in demanding attention for their variety of desi mango.

“This variety is mainly used for local value addition (like pickle) but should be marketed globally as an organic variety,” says Dr Iqrar A Khan — former vice-chancellor of the Agriculture University (Faisalabad), who now heads a university at Mirpur.
Riaz Haq said…
Expanding markets: #Pakistan begins #mango #exports to #Japan. Last year, Pakistani mango exports reached a record high of 120 tons and were received favorably in the Japanese market| The Express Tribune https://tribune.com.pk/story/2253657/expanding-markets-pakistan-begins-mango-exports-to-japan

The export of mangoes from Pakistan to Japan has started after Tokyo announced temporary measures to combat Covid-19, which do not require pre-clearance by country’s inspectors. The government of Japan has introduced a temporary measure, which allows mango exports by taking measurements and sending necessary data and documents for quarantine. Normally, mango export to Tokyo requires pre-clearance by Japanese inspectors who are sent to Pakistan and other countries to follow quarantine regulations. However, the government of Japan could not dispatch these inspectors due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year. Last year, Pakistani mango exports reached a record high of 120 tons and were favourably welcomed in the Japanese market. Japan will also support Pakistan in the agricultural field such as taking measures against locust control, expanding export of agricultural products, and investment in the food processing sector.

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