Pakistan Among World's Largest Food Producing Countries

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

Top 10 Countries by Agriculture Output. Source: FAO

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

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

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

Pakistan's Rising Rice Exports. Source: Bloomberg

Share of Land For Various Crops in Pakistan

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

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

World's 5th Largest Population of Chicken in Pakistan 

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

Source: FAO via Kleffmann Group

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

Date Palms in Sindh, Pakistan. Photo: Emmanuel Guddu

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

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Chicken Cheaper Than Daal

Meat Industry in Pakistan

Bumper Crops and Soaring Tractor Sales in Pakistan

Meat and Dairy Revolution in Pakistan

Pakistanis Are Among the Most Carnivorous

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

Pakistan's Rural Economy

Pakistan Leads South Asia in Agriculture Value Addition

Median Incomes in India and Pakistan


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?

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.
Nadeem M. said…
Sir last months prices.. Tomatoes Rs 200 per kg.. Potatoes Rs 70 per Kg.. no benefit to the Nation..
Riaz Haq said…
Nadeem: "Sir last months prices.. Tomatoes Rs 200 per kg.. Potatoes Rs 70 per Kg.. no benefit to the Nation.."

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

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.

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. Statistics 2015-16.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.
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

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.
Ranjit S. said…
What the Western World went through over sixty years ago India is experiencing it today and Pakistan will experience it tomorrow. In the West family owned farms are a thing of the past. There successful family farms in USA which includes many successful Punjabi farmers specially in Yuba City. The problem with family farms (specially in the subcontinent) is that it has to be divided amongst the children and this division makes the farms smaller thus making it harder to conduct a profitable farm. Pakistan inherited the best land of Punjab which were and are owned by mostly Jats and Rajput landlords. Unlike India and Bangladesh Pakistan never had land reform thus the landlords are still very powerful in Pakistan’s Punjab. Unfortunately, the Indian farmers are unable to see the writing on the wall which due to the changing economics are and will make the old communist way (the state buys the farm products and the farmers can’t directly sell their products to the traders) of selling farm products obsolete. Punjab’s salvation is education just like the South has done. The farmers must be represented by educated agricultural economists who can realistically put forth a viable plan during negotiation with the Central government. The people living in the West have no clue or understanding what the farm bill is about. Though I have to admit it’s a great opportunity for the Khalistanis to pounce on the farming bandwagon.
Riaz Haq said…
Ranjit: "Unlike India and Bangladesh Pakistan never had land reform thus the landlords are still very powerful in Pakistan’s Punjab"

Both India and Pakistan have very small farm sizes compared to the world average. The average farm size in Pakistan is 5.6 acres, about twice the size in India. World Census of Agriculture shows that in the poorest 20 percent of countries the average farm size is 1.6 hectares (Ha), while in the richest 20 percent of countries the average farm size is 54.1 Ha, a 34-fold difference.,%2C%20a%2034%2Dfold%20difference.
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

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

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

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?

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

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…
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.

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 #wheat production this year may surpass previous records with a big margin, crossing 28.75 million tons, two million tons more than the previous record of 26.67 million tons set in 2016/17 #food #agriculture #economy #COVID19 #pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's #cotton production jumps 18%. #USDA: "Pakistan's cotton production for marketing year 2021/22 is forecast at 5.3 million 480-pound (lb) bales, up 18% from 2020/21 estimate, due to new seed varieties, better pest management & government support"

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said…
PM #ImranKhan: Kisan Card will 'transform' farming in #Pakistan. #Technology will eliminate bribes and let #farmers get #agriculture loans and have direct access to agriculture #subsidies for #seeds, #pesticides & #fertilizer.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among other measures he mentioned were doubling of loans for farmers, local production of fertilisers, doubling cereal production as well as improving local production of medicinal plants, corn and developing the fishery sector such as prawns.
Riaz Haq said…
#Arabian varieties of #dates offer better yield in #Pakistan, among the top date producers and exporters in the world, with annual date production of more than 535,000 tons.Local farmers have developed interest in growing the foreign varieties. #fruits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the reasons for the growing interest was climate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said…
New farming method promises to multiply Pakistan’s mango yield

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

TANDO ALLAHYAR: After a decade of declining harvest, mango growers in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province are pinning their hopes on a new farming technique that would allow them to increase their fruit yield up to six times, several growers and experts said.
Pakistan is the world’s sixth-largest mango producer, with an annual production volume of about 1.7 million tons. While most of the harvest comes from Punjab, the Sindh province has the second-largest yield and is known for the Sindhri variety of mango, famous for its honey-like sweetness and deep, thin yellow peel.
But farmers are increasingly sounding the alarm on declining crop yield.
Sindh cultivated mangoes on 59,215 hectares of land and produced 381,269 metric tons in 2010. Provincial agricultural data shows this yield reduced to 329,300 metric tons by 2019.
Realizing that a major reason for the decline was outdated farming practices, one grower, Mahmood Nawaz Shah from the Tando Allahyar district, decided to try something new at his Genuine Delight Farms.
In 2019, he initiated a pilot project to cultivate new orchards under the small tree system (STS) on 1.6 hectares of land using a pruning technique that keeps the height of the mango plants at nearly nine feet, making their management easier and helping to accommodate more trees in a smaller area.
“The STS can revolutionize the quantum of our mango production,” Shah, who also represents a provincial farmers’ body, the Sindh Abadgar Board, told Arab News.
“We can increase our mango production some five times in this country,” he added, explaining that while the average mango yield per acre was five metric tons from large trees, an average of 25 to 30 metric tons could be harvested from the same area using the small tree system.
According to estimates by the Sindh Abadgar Board, the STS is currently being used on only 1,618 hectares of Pakistan’s total mango cultivation area of 167,000 hectares. In Sindh, only 10 growers have so far adopted the method.
“We are far behind when it comes to modernizing our farming structures and techniques,” Dr. Noor-un-Nisa Memon, a faculty member at the Sindh Agriculture University in Tando Jam, said.
It was high time, she said, that old mango orchards were replaced with new ones, but farmers in Sindh were reluctant to prune their trees, thinking it would reduce their yield.
Farmers, however, say they are willing to adopt new techniques but cannot do it without government support as most are small-scale growers.
“It is extremely important to adopt the STS to deal with the situation,” Mir Zafarullah Talpur, a grower from Sindh’s largest mango-growing district, Mirpurkhas, told Arab News.
“The government should arrange an extensive awareness program for farmers and provide them subsidies and installment facilities so they can import modern instruments.”
Hidayatullah CHajjro, director-general at Agriculture Extension, said the provincial administration had already arranged several training sessions to raise awareness among mango growers about new farming techniques but agreed that subsidies needed to be given to farmers who wanted to import essential gadgets and machinery.
“By adopting a comprehensive approach, such as the STS, not only can we reclaim our previous production level but also enhance it further,” CHajjro said.
Shah, who introduced the new farming method to Sindh, is hopeful the trend will gain momentum in the next few years.
Riaz Haq said…
With 1.32 billion birds, #Pakistan has the world's 5th largest #poultry population. #meat #eggs #protein
Riaz Haq said…
FAO on Pakistan:

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

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

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan rice #exports to surge to a record this year on bumper production in the world’s No. 4 exporter & growing #Russian purchases. Pak domestic production is estimated to surge 13.6% to an all-time high of 8.4 million tons in the year ended June.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pakistan’s successful effort this year to secure the Geographical Indication tag for its basmati rice has also helped the country to compete with India. Basmati rice exports from Pakistan surged 68% to 87,413 tons in March from a month earlier, according to official data.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Among Top 10 Producers Of Wheat, Rice, Sugarcane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He added, “this is such a large space in Pakistan and it’s so inefficient that if we are even able to make a small dent, it’s going to lead to social uplift for hundreds or possibly thousands of farmers, improve the availability of fresh produce, result in less food tasted and reduce food price inflation.”
Riaz Haq said…
Bumper #cotton crop and high global prices to help #Pakistani farmers this year. National rough estimates put cotton production between 7.5 and 8.5 million bales.Cotton price has surged to Rs14,500 per maund. #agriculture #economy #Pakistan #textiles

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

Cotton surges to Rs14,500 per maund

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In some areas, he says, a fungus has hit the plants making them look burnt out. Seemingly the difference in atmospheric and soil temperatures has damaged the crop, he adds.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan fruit and vegetables exports see growth of 21.29% and 2.01%
Fruits and vegetables exports from Pakistan during first four months of current financial year witnessed about a 21.29% and 2.01% increase respectively as compared to the exports in the same period, last year.

From July to October 2021, over 177,678 tons of fruits -valued at $143.742 million- were exported as against exports of 183,236 tons -worth $118.101 million- in the same period last year.

The data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics also explained that the country earned $68.372 million by exporting about 199.184 tons of vegetables. Last year, these exports stood at 156.841 tons, valued at $67.028 million.
Riaz Haq said…
Pak-China Bio-health Agriculture park inaugurated: Prof Zhang Lixian

In the universities of Lahore, Faisalabad, and Bahauddin Zakariya, demonstration sites have been established. An assortment of food, such as maize, wheat, chili, carrot, and spinach are under research. Nano and earthworm fertilizers have been introduced.

For example, new wheat varieties that combine Chinese and Pakistani germplasms and have the potential to increase the yield by 2.7% per annum have accounted for 3% of the total in Punjab.

For now, three Pakistani students are committed to their construction. “In the near future, more Chinese and Pakistani students will be involved”, said Prof Zhang. “The flourishing of the bio-health agriculture also requires the participation of more enterprises”.

Looking ahead, Naheeda recommends more workshops to be organized in different regions of Pakistan to raise the awareness of farmers and landowners. “Also, the modern techniques in China like compound planting, smart agriculture gain, greenhouse and good varieties should be applied in Pakistan.”
Riaz Haq said…
Telenor’s Khushaal Watan platform to empower rural communities and farmers across Pakistan

The M-Agri value chain is a billion-dollar market. In agriculture, a value chain is a set of activities and actors that connect basic agricultural products from the field to the consumer, adding value to each stage of the process. Input suppliers, farmers or primary producers, wholesalers, processors, manufacturers, and retailers are the primary players associated with the process. In Pakistan, the dilemma is that the agriculture GDP contribution remains about 24%, even though the labour force percentage is much higher than other industries, primarily due to the low yield per acre.

The main reason is that farming and agriculture yields highly depend on seasons and weather.

With the help of special weather forecasting tools, the platform enables farmers to plan ahead how and when to do things. Insights into the weather conditions are provided to the farmers to enable informed decisions.

The weather forecast and related information can be used for planning purposes. The information can help in understanding whether to start or withhold the sowing process, whether or not to irrigate the crop, when to fertilise, and whether to begin complete harvesting immediately or to delay it – all of which have a significant effect on crop yields.

After conducting extensive research, Telenor Pakistan was able to conclude that lack of information and education on the farmer's side is the primary reason for this disparity. The farmers in Pakistan lack access to the latest research regarding various aspects of agriculture.

Telenor Pakistan understood that cutting-edge digital tools in agriculture could generate significant benefits to agribusinesses in emerging markets. By providing farmers with a pathway to financial inclusion, digitalising agri value chain benefits the overall socio-economic development in the country as well. Farmers need professional advice about the ever-changing situations in real-time to tackle various crop diseases, weather conditions, and more.

The journey starts when a user calls on 7272. Telenor has deployed the latest technology that enables them to automatically get information about the crops based on the caller’s current location. The platform was able to gather extensive data about which crops were grown in different regions during different seasons, allowing them to provide accurate updates.

When a user subscribes, they begin receiving targeted, geo-localised information every day via multiple mediums. Automated outbound calls or SMS notifications are sent, and they can also call back to listen to the information if it is more convenient. In addition, the service is offered in multiple local languages, including Sindhi, Punjabi, Saraiki, Pashto, and Urdu.

Telenor has gone above and beyond in creating a persona for this service. The brand has curated a virtual character, Bashir, who interacts with the user in their language. Likewise, the user can scroll down the menu to view weather predictions, which is crucial for ensuring a healthy yield. Farmers can call and interact with the user in their native language or scroll down the menu to see weather predictions, which are crucial to ensuring a healthy harvest.

Riaz Haq said…
New farming method promises to multiply Pakistan’s mango yield

After a decade of declining harvest, mango growers in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province are pinning their hopes on a new farming technique that would allow them to increase their fruit yield up to six times, several growers and experts said.
Pakistan is the world’s sixth-largest mango producer, with an annual production volume of about 1.7 million tons. While most of the harvest comes from Punjab, the Sindh province has the second-largest yield and is known for the Sindhri variety of mango, famous for its honey-like sweetness and deep, thin yellow peel.
But farmers are increasingly sounding the alarm on declining crop yield.
Sindh cultivated mangoes on 59,215 hectares of land and produced 381,269 metric tons in 2010. Provincial agricultural data shows this yield reduced to 329,300 metric tons by 2019.
Realizing that a major reason for the decline was outdated farming practices, one grower, Mahmood Nawaz Shah from the Tando Allahyar district, decided to try something new at his Genuine Delight Farms.
In 2019, he initiated a pilot project to cultivate new orchards under the small tree system (STS) on 1.6 hectares of land using a pruning technique that keeps the height of the mango plants at nearly nine feet, making their management easier and helping to accommodate more trees in a smaller area.
“The STS can revolutionize the quantum of our mango production,” Shah, who also represents a provincial farmers’ body, the Sindh Abadgar Board, told Arab News.
“We can increase our mango production some five times in this country,” he added, explaining that while the average mango yield per acre was five metric tons from large trees, an average of 25 to 30 metric tons could be harvested from the same area using the small tree system.
According to estimates by the Sindh Abadgar Board, the STS is currently being used on only 1,618 hectares of Pakistan’s total mango cultivation area of 167,000 hectares. In Sindh, only 10 growers have so far adopted the method.
“We are far behind when it comes to modernizing our farming structures and techniques,” Dr. Noor-un-Nisa Memon, a faculty member at the Sindh Agriculture University in Tando Jam, said.
It was high time, she said, that old mango orchards were replaced with new ones, but farmers in Sindh were reluctant to prune their trees, thinking it would reduce their yield.
Farmers, however, say they are willing to adopt new techniques but cannot do it without government support as most are small-scale growers.
“It is extremely important to adopt the STS to deal with the situation,” Mir Zafarullah Talpur, a grower from Sindh’s largest mango-growing district, Mirpurkhas, told Arab News.
“The government should arrange an extensive awareness program for farmers and provide them subsidies and installment facilities so they can import modern instruments.”
Hidayatullah CHajjro, director-general at Agriculture Extension, said the provincial administration had already arranged several training sessions to raise awareness among mango growers about new farming techniques but agreed that subsidies needed to be given to farmers who wanted to import essential gadgets and machinery.
“By adopting a comprehensive approach, such as the STS, not only can we reclaim our previous production level but also enhance it further,” CHajjro said.
Shah, who introduced the new farming method to Sindh, is hopeful the trend will gain momentum in the next few years.
“There are farmers who are waiting for the results,” he said. “Most of the farmers initiated the STS in 2019, and it requires at least five years for trees to develop fruit. If the result comes out positively, as per our expectations, there are chances that mango areas will see a sudden transformation, uprooting old practices and adopting new techniques.”
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan exports record 460,000 tons of oranges in 2020-21

In Pakistan 2020-21, has exported record 460,000 tons of oranges, marking this as the highest ever volume during any season. The export season that ended in April 2021, 460,000 tons of oranges have been exported from the country to worldwide; up 30 per cent compared to the last season.

The demand for Pakistani oranges is on the rise worldwide. Meanwhile, Pakistan has posted over Rs2 billion export mark for the seventh consecutive month in April as the country’s exports stood at US$2.191 billion in April 2021, said Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood.

Abdul Razak Dawood had said that Pakistan’s export for April 2021 stood at USD 2.191 billion. “This is the first time since 2011 that our monthly exports have crossed the 2-billion mark for 7 consecutive months,” he said.
Riaz Haq said…
With help of drip irrigation, sprinklers and shading fabric, it is the first ginger farming project that turned out commercially successful.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar on Sunday inaugurated the first ever ginger cultivation during the Ginger Harvest Workshop held in Balkasar area of Chakwal. The harvest celebration was organized by Agrionics Farms.

This was the first ginger harvest piloted in Pakistan. The crop was grown in eleven months. Being an essential ingredient of Pakistani cuisine, ginger is high in demand, but unfortunately it is not grown here, and all the crop is imported to meet the domestic needs.

At the event, participants learnt from experts about the sustainable production and management of ginger and how to properly harvest this crop.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Sania said, “Ginger can emerge as a major crop and can be a game-changer for the farming community. Agriculture is profoundly linked to poverty alleviation in Pakistan. Government, private sector, research institutions, innovators and farmers can work together to build synergies and develop agri-value chains. This will lead to greater impact for poverty alleviation, livelihoods creation, economic growth and foreign trade boosting.”

Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Muhammad Najeebullah, Director Vegetable Research Institute, Faisalabad and other experts were also present on the occasion.

Participants were provided with information on how to successfully grow and harvest ginger in the country.

Experts presented research-based information about the agricultural benefits of growing ginger locally.

After knowledge-sharing, all participants went to the field for the formal inauguration and demonstrations.

Chairman PARC briefed Dr. Sania on the success of the ginger cultivation project and its potential to boost Pakistan’s farming sector. “This variety of ginger has been successfully grown and field tested and can yield up to approximately 8 to 10 tonnes per acre in this area” he said.

Other experts shared that Pakistan is an agri economy field to progress as it shall be but now it has started its journey towards self-sustainability.

With help of drip irrigation, sprinklers and shading fabric, it is the first ginger farming project that turned out commercially successful.
Riaz Haq said…
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that with the introduction of better mechanization tools and ICT-enabled extension services, agriculture sector in Pakistan will be revolutionized.

“Olive cultivation and shrimp farming on commercial scale are need of the hour to ensure food security in the country. It will also help in improving exports”, he said while chairing a meeting on Agriculture Transformation Plan in the country, one of the Prime Minister’s Priority Sectors for economic turn-around.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the launch of Kissan Card will facilitate farmers to buy machinery and agriculture inputs.

He directed the authorities concerned to establish centers of excellence in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for research in major crops like cotton, wheat and rice.

The Prime Minister also directed to set up calf-raising centers and introduce better artificial insemination techniques for the growth of livestock and the improvement of milk production in the country.

He directed all the provincial Chief Secretaries to take effective steps for the availability of urea by putting a check on its illegal transportation to neighboring countries, especially Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister was informed that administrative steps were being taken against individuals involved in creating artificial shortage of urea.

The meeting was attended by Industries Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Special Assistant to PM on Political Communication Dr Shehbaz Gill, Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizengo and senior officers concerned.

Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar and Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan joined the meeting via video link.
Riaz Haq said…
#Chinese #nanotechnology to help #Pakistan in high-yield #agriculture, increase #food #production, raise farmers' #incomes, solve problems such as abandoned #farmland & the adverse impact of excessive use of #pesticides and #fertilizer. #technology

China is ready to extend its achievements to the iron-brother Pakistan in the field of nanotechnology to promote high-yield agriculture, said Dr. Wu Zhiguo, Director of Nano Application Technology Research Office of Gansu Academy of Sciences.

Nanotechnology for high-efficacy agriculture will promote traditional agriculture on the road of high-quality connotative development. It can effectively promote farmers increase in production and income and solve problems such as abandoned farmland and the adverse effects caused by excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers.

We tend to extend this achievement to our iron brother Pakistan, he highlighted on a video meeting with Prof. Dr. Muhammad Yaseen from University of Faisalabad (UAF).

Ma. Yutian, Executive Director General of Gansu BRI Technology Transfer Center also attended the meeting, China Economic Net (CEN) reported on Thursday.

Dr. Wu further explained that at present, they have developed a series of nanoparticles, including iron, copper, silicon, zinc, and other series of high-quality nano-micro-fertilizer products.

The proprietary nanoparticles can increase production and efficiency, improve quality, resist pests and diseases and natural disasters, effectively reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and improve soil conditions.

In 2017, Prof. Yan Pengxun, Distinguished Researcher at Lanzhou Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, proposed to use high-quality elemental nano-powders for agriculture and nanotechnology high-yield agriculture.

In the past four years, sufficient trials, demonstrations and promotion of grain, fruits, vegetables, forage grass, and Chinese herbal medicine have been carried out in 23 provinces and municipalities in China. The total trial field has been accumulated more than 4,200 acres.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Yaseen affirmed the results of Nanotechnology for High-yield Agriculture project and said that at present, 44 percent of the arable land in Pakistan is used to grow wheat, and the production of wheat is related to the food security of the whole country.

However, the yield of wheat per unit in Pakistan is lower than the world average, and agricultural scientists in Pakistan have been trying to introduce higher-yielding wheat varieties and new technologies.

Pakistan’s Faisalabad, a sister city of Gansu, welcomes the results of Nanotechnology for High-yield agriculture project to be tested in Faisalabad and we are looking forward to its success and its expansion throughout Pakistan to increase food production, Prof. Dr. Yaseen stressed.

On this occasion, Ma Bin, Chairman of Pakistan Qijun international Trading Co., Ltd., underlined that over the years, under the guidance of the Belt and Road Initiative and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the research and cooperation between China and Pakistan in agriculture have been continuously promoted.

The results of Nanotechnology for High-yield Agriculture project will not only benefit Pakistani farmers, but also open a new way for China agricultural science and technology to reach the world.
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Maize-soybean strip intercropping to reduce Pakistan's soybean import bill by 50% in next five years

“Soybean is considered the essential poultry feed ingredient, next to cereals within the field crop segment. However, local soybean production in Pakistan is much lower than the total national annual consumption. We can get out of this situation by enhancing our local soybean production using strip intercropping technology, which has globally proven to be the technique for enhancing crop production in the face of decreasing cultivation in a sustainable manner,” said Muhammad Ali Raza, post-doc of Sichuan Agricultural University (SAU) and Director of National Research Centre of Intercropping, IUB.

Since 2018, successful maize-soybean strip intercropping technology trials have been continuously conducted in Pakistan’s Sindh and Punjab. At the meeting, Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza, Dr. Zaheer Ahmad In-charge of soybean cell of University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and Hafiz Saad Bin Mustafa, Research Scientist at Directorate of Oilseeds, Ayub Agriculture Research Institute (AARI), presented their achievements on maize-soybean intercropping. Positive feedback was also given from agricultural enterprise CEOs and local progressive farmers in the meeting.

“In last autumn, from Aug. to Dec. 2021, I adopted this technology on 40 hectares of land. In the end of the season, I got 1.8 tons of soybean and 2.5 tons of maize per hectare,” Ch. Shaukat Ali Chadhar, President of Kissan Board Pakistan, shared the promising data of the trial by him.

Dr. Muhammad Arshad, CEO of Hi Tech Group, remarked that high protein content soybean seeds with good amino acid profiles are for good digestibility which can be cultivated through maize-soybean strip intercropping technology. “The intercropping technology can increase the protein content within soybean because high maize crops will give some shade to soybean crops which will be the reason for high accumulation of protein within soybean seeds,” he explained.

The meeting was chaired by Prof. Dr. Athar Mahboob, IUB Vice Chancellor. “IUB is ready to provide all the technical support required to the industry or farmer community. With this technology, we are aiming to reduce our country’s soybean import bill by 50% in next five years,” he said.

Dr. Rana Tariq, CEO/MD of Shamim Feeds Pvt. Ltd., Tariq Tanveer, CEO of Agri-Tourism Development Corporation of Pakistan, Dr. Khalid Mahmood Shouq, Editor in Chief of Veterinary News & Views, Ali Khurram Irfan Nomani, CEO of Akin Foods, Dr. Muhammad Aslam, CEO of Mumtaz Feeds, Rao Muhammad Ikhlaq, Muhammad Manzoor, and Naeem Iqbal, etc. also attended the meeting.
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#Pakistan harvests a record #rice crop of 8.9 million tons in 2021-22, up from 8.4 million tons in prior year. #USDA: “New higher-yielding hybrid rice varieties, improved agronomic practices & increased planting area, driving the increased production"

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Pakistan harvested a record rice crop of 8.9 million tonnes in the 2021-22 marketing year, up from 8.4 million tonnes the prior year, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“New higher-yielding hybrid rice varieties, improved agronomic practices and increased planting area, as farmers shift out of cotton, are factors driving the increased production,” the USDA said.

The agency noted that the Pakistan government’s policy of ensuring rice growers had adequate inputs also contributed to the record production.

Meanwhile, the country’s rice exports in 2020-21 (November-October) were stagnant at 3.8 million tonnes, virtually unchanged from the previous year, the report said. Supply chain disruptions, shipping container shortages, and high transportation costs negatively impacted rice exports.

With this year’s record production adding more stocks, total available supply is estimated to be 11 million tonnes, the USDA said.

“Domestic rice consumption is 3.7 million tonnes, leaving an exportable supply of 7.3 million tonnes for 2021-22,” the USDA said. “This large surplus will provide an opportunity to significantly increase exports, but Pakistani rice will continue to face stiff competition from India and Southeast Asia suppliers.”
Riaz Haq said…
#Startups bringing #Pakistan's #farming into #digital age. Since October, #farmers in Chak 26 and pilot projects elsewhere have been given free access to the internet—and it is revolutionizing the way they work. #agriculture #technology via @physorg_com

Agriculture entrepreneurs are bringing the digital age to Pakistan's farmers, helping them plan crops better and distribute their produce when the time is right.
Until recently, "the most modern machine we had was the tractor", Aamer Hayat Bhandara, a farmer and local councillor behind one such project told AFP in "Chak 26", a village in the agricultural heartland of Punjab province.

Even making mobile phone calls can be difficult in many parts of Pakistan, but since October, farmers in Chak 26 and pilot projects elsewhere have been given free access to the internet—and it is revolutionising the way they work.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan's economy, accounting for nearly 20 percent of gross domestic product and around 40 percent of the workforce.

It is estimated to be the world's fifth-largest producer of sugarcane, seventh-largest of wheat and tenth-biggest rice grower—but it mostly relies on human labour and lags other big farming nations on mechanisation.

Cows and donkeys rest near a muddy road leading to a pavilion in Chak 26, which is connected to a network via a small satellite dish.

This is the "Digital Dera"—or meeting place—and six local farmers have come to see the computers and tablets that provide accurate weather forecasts, as well as the latest market prices and farming tips.

"I've never seen a tablet before," said Munir Ahmed, 45, who grows maize, potatoes and wheat.

"Before, we relied on the experience of our ancestors or our own, but it wasn't very accurate," added Amjad Nasir, another farmer, who hopes the project "will bring more prosperity".

Apps and apples

Communal internet access is not Bhandara's only innovation.

A short drive away, on the wall of a shed, a modern electronic switch system is linked to an old water pump.

A tablet is now all he needs to control the irrigation on part of the 100 hectares (250 acres) he cultivates—although it is still subject to the vagaries of Pakistan's intermittent power supply.

This year, Bhandara hopes, others will install the technology he says will reduce water consumption and labour.

"Digitising agriculture... and the rural population is the only way to prosper," he told AFP.

At the other end of the supply chain, around 150 kilometres (90 miles) away in Lahore, dozens of men load fruit and vegetables onto delivery bikes at a warehouse belonging to the start-up Tazah, which acts as an intermediary between farmers and traders.

After just four months in operation, the company delivers about 100 tonnes of produce every day to merchants in Lahore and Karachi who place orders via a mobile app.

"Before, the merchant had to get up at 5 am or 5:30 am to buy the products in bulk, at the day's price, and then hassle with transporting them," said Inam Ulhaq, regional manager.

"Tazah brings some order to the madness."

In the Tazah office, several employees manage the orders, but for the time being, purchases are still made by phone, as the part of the application intended for farmers is still in development.

The young company is also tackling a "centuries-old" system that stakeholders are reluctant to change, explains co-founder Abrar Bajwa.

Record investment

Fruit and vegetables often rot during their journey along poorly organised supply chains, says partner Mohsin Zaka, but apps like Tazah make the whole system more efficient.
Riaz Haq said…
China says it will encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Pakistan to build a corridor of green development, health and digital economy, fully make the use of China-Pakistan Free Trade Protocol and increase the agricultural products from Pakistan.

This was stated by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Wang Wenbin while responding to a question during his regular press briefing in Beijing.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to China and attendance at the opening ceremony of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics carried on the fine tradition of mutual support between China and Pakistan.

He said during the visit, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang met with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Spokesperson said the leadership of the two countries held important exchanges and reached consensus on deepening China Pakistan Economic Corridor, expanding science, agriculture and social livelihood cooperation
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Pakistan’s Fatima Group inks $1 billion deals with global agriculture giants at Expo 2020 Dubai

CMEC as a technology partner, will help with the adaption of climate-smart precision agriculture farm machinery, improved high-yielding seeds, and other crop inputs in Pakistan. In addition, Sarh Attaqnia Company is a key partner that will invest in developing a state-of-the-art agriculture value chain encompassing sustainable production, processing, warehousing, and export marketing of grain crops to help ensure regional food security.

Pakistan has over 20% of its GDP linked with agriculture and about 64% of the human resource associated with it. This collaboration will potentially unlock a tremendous amount of untapped land resources of Pakistan by bringing fallow lands under cultivation for sustainable production of crops like rice, barley, oats, silage bales for livestock, and dairy industry under the Corporate Agriculture Farming initiative. Fatima Group, along with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, is at the Pakistan Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai over the next four days, holding a range of events showcasing its commitment to help ensure regional food security, agricultural innovation, and women empowerment in the agriculture sector of Pakistan.

Fatima Group contributes significantly to the economic development of Pakistan. It was established in 1936 to ensure the trading of commodities and which gradually entered into the manufacturing of various products. The Group has ensured a success story that has spread over seven decades, expanding its horizon from trading to manufacturing. As of now, the Group is engaged in trading of commodities, manufacturing of fertilizers, textiles, sugar, mining and energy.

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Pakistan plans to sweeten Middle East exports with blue and blackberry cultivation projects

New plant species will be imported from California for mass production in Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan
Pakistan’s soil is rich for the production of blueberry varieties and most heat-tolerant blackberries

KARACHI: The Barani Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), the Punjab government’s agriculture research arm, and Pak Greenland Corporation, an overseas body that focuses on investment in the northern Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region, will launch separate cultivation projects to produce blueberries and blackberries in Punjab and GB respectively, with eyes on Middle East exports.

Pakistan’s soil is rich for the production of blueberry varieties and most heat-tolerant blackberries, though the country has not fully utilized its potential.

Now, BARI is working to launch berry cultivation projects in Punjab at a cost of Rs200 million and the Pak Greenland Corporation in GB for Rs157 million.

“We are launching the project to cultivate blueberries and blackberries over 25 acres of land in various parts of Gilgit-Baltistan,” Milad Ul Salman, a Pak Greenland Corporation manager, told Arab News. “The wild varieties of berries are found in abundance in the region, which are mostly consumed domestically and not considered for exports.”

“The varieties we want to produce have been imported from California in the United States. Most of our dried fruits are exported to the gulf countries. We also plan to export these berries to the United Arab Emirates and its neighboring states.”

Salman said his company had mostly acquired barren and rocky land in the remote areas to encourage mass production of the fruits for commercial purposes. The project cost was estimated at Rs200 million, which included the cost to purchase land in Gilgit-Baltistan.

“We have been working on blackberry production for the last six years while we have spent about two years on blueberries on a trial basis,” he said. “After getting encouraging results, we are now moving to launch the project to produce both varieties of berries at a large level through flower pot and drip irrigation cultivation.”

A similar project is also being undertaken by the Barani Institute to mass farm blackberries across the province of Punjab.

“We have submitted a proposal to scale up the project to the Punjab Agricultural Research Board for approval,” Aqeel Feroz, project director for the production of blackberries at the research institute, told Arab News. “We hope it will be approved by June since the cultivation season begins in July.”

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Pakistani farmers relish better economic gains from growing strawberry, technical guidance improves fruit quality

Establishment of strawberry nurseries has very great potential in newly merged districts where climate conditions of a number of locations suit its growing and can help a lot in creating livelihood for terrorism affected tribesmen, Zia suggested.

In tribal districts, people had no knowledge about growing strawberry and we are holding farmers meeting to create awareness, Zia added. He said this fruit can benefit farmers of cold as well as tropical regions. As in cold areas nurseries can be established while in sub-tropical regions, farming can be done.

The nursery set up at Bajaur has even supplied runner plants to farming community in Multan besides some areas in KP.

“We have trained a number of farmers in Charsadda district about measures to improve quality of strawberry fruits and the beneficiaries are now making gains of training by improving quality of fruit,” claims Qazi Ajwad from Helvatas organization of Switzerland.

Qazi apprised APP that Helvatas trainers educated farmers about benefits of mulch, tunnel farming and proper arranging of soil ridges for planting saplings. Helvatas, he continued, also purchased few numbers of machines for free distribution that helps farmers in making of soil ridges.

Ajwad concurs with suggestion for creating awareness among farmers to benefit from the potential of strawberry growing which is at present very low in the country.

Nature has blessed Pakistan with favorable climatic conditions for strawberry cultivation and it can be grown a large areas of the country, Qazi Ajwad opined.

The fruit was first introduced in KP in 1980’s and is grown only in few districts including Peshawar, Abbotabad, Mardan, Haripure, Mansehra and Charsadda.

The climatic condition of almost majority of areas in newly merged districts suits for strawberry growing besides runner plants and can bring economic revolution in the lives of farming community of the region if awareness is created and training are imparted to them, Qazi suggested.
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The Pakistan Honey Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.41% in the forecast period, 2023-2027, to reach USD451.77 million by 2027.

Changing consumer preference towards consumption of healthier sugar substitutes and natural sweeteners and the health benefits of honey, including the presence of anti-cancer agents, are the primary factors driving the growth of the Pakistan Honey Market.

Also, the increased demand from the cosmetics and personal care industry and ongoing adoption of advanced beekeeping techniques by the market players are the other factors that are expected to create lucrative growth opportunities for the Pakistan Honey Market in the forecast period.

Consumers are becoming health-conscious and aware of the health-damaging properties of sugar and artificial sweeteners, which have created the demand for natural sweeteners. Honey can be used as an excellent substitute instead of white sugar, and it provides several health benefits to the consumer.

Honey also has anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-viral properties and, therefore, is considered an effective medicine to treat cough, cold, and throat infections. Also, favorable government initiatives such as the "Billion Tree Honey Initiative" and plantation of trees to boost the local bee population and honey production are expected to fuel the growth of the Pakistan Honey Market in the forecast period.

The Pakistan Honey Market can be segmented into product, type, pack size, packaging, distribution channel, application, regional distribution, and company. Based on the product, the market is bifurcated into natural/organic honey v/s processed honey.

Natural/organic honey is leading the market with a market share of 82.26%, and is expected to maintain its dominance throughout the forecast period. Natural/organic honey is preferred over its counterpart as it has enhanced antioxidant properties and can be stored for a longer duration.

Major market players operating in the Pakistan Honey Market

Natural Swat Bee Honey
Simply the Great Food
Forest Honey
Shifaheillahi Natural Honey
Nature's Store
My Honey
Organic Honey
Sunbulah Group (Al-Shifa Honey)
Buzzin Beez
Pakeeza Honey Center
Report Scope:

Years considered for this report:

Historical Years: 2017-2020
Base Year: 2021
Estimated Year: 2022
Forecast Period: 2023-2027
Pakistan Honey Market, By Product:

Natural/Organic Honey
Processed Honey
Pakistan Honey Market, By Type:

Orange Blossom
Pakistan Honey Market, By Pack Size:

1000gm and Above
Pakistan Honey Market, By Packaging:

Pakistan Honey Market, By Distribution Channel:

Convenience Stores
Pakistan Honey Market, By Application:

Food & Beverage
Personal Care and Cosmetics
Pakistan Honey Market, By Region:

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
For more information about this report visit

Riaz Haq said…
Banana production increases in Pakistan

The production of bananas in Pakistan has increased during past few years after the successful experiments of tissue culture of Chinese imported plants. Dr. Alam Riaz from the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) said Pakistan produced twelve different varieties of bananas from Chinese plants that were imported in 2009.

Riaz said one million plants of these varieties were harvested on the left bank of Sindh province in 2012 and out of these two species provided extraordinary results which were approved by Sindh Seed Council for commercial growth.

“Pakistan is producing 150,000 tons banana per year. Banana production will be increased to 700,000 tons in coming years as the PARC is producing 50,000 and the private sector is growing 500,000 to 600,000 tissue cultured plants every year for commercial yield,” he added.

PARC conducted special banana producing labs in Karachi and Thatha where a single plant was sold for 60 rupees and the commercial sector sold the tissue cultured new variety at 100 rupees per plant, he added.
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Pakistan: Avocado plantations part of climate-resilient crops campaign

As a number of crops in Pakistan are being affected by climate change, PARC (the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council) intends to fill the gap with climate-resilient crops. According to PARC Programme Leader of Fruit Crops, Dr Alam, avocado plantations are part of that programme.

Alam has stated that PARC was determined to help grow avocadoes at the commercial level after successfully producing 12 suitable varieties of the fruit through grafting according to climatic conditions of the region.

Alam: “In 1994, Pakistan had only two varieties of avocados but the number has now improved to 12, of which some are providing more fruit than the mother plants, which will be soon available for commercial farming. Plants of avocados are high in demand.”
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BEIJING: Mulberry is well received in both China and Pakistan. On this kind of fruit that is a little “low-key”, unlike mango or cherry, cooperation between China and Pakistan is also in progress. Chinese seeds and technologies are helping Pakistan elevate its exports of mulberry products. Mulberry tree is a “versatile” plant. Besides fruit, mulberry’s leaves, wood, branches and roots all have their own uses. In particular, mulberry leaves are not only raw materials for tea, but also the main source of feed for silkworms.

“Mulberry leaf tea is popular in China, Japan and Thailand, etc. It has anti-cancer properties. It controls blood sugar. It moderates insulin level. It controls blood pressure in our blood system. It is good for liver, too. It is “miracle tea,” said Malik Mohsin Abbas, Principal Scientist at the Horticulture Research Institute, Ayub Agriculture Research Institute. In Pakistan, fast-growing mulberry trees, from small to medium-sized, are mainly cultivated all over Punjab and KPK.

Pakistan is suitable for developing the mulberry industry especially mulberry tea. Because of the hot climate, it usually takes about merely 10 months for a mulberry tree to grow well. Pakistani people can harvest mulberry leaves several times within one year.

However, not any mulberry leaves can be made into good tea. The quality of mulberry tea depends on leaf varieties, fresh leaf tenderness, production season and processing technology. Generally speaking, only mulberry leaves and buds of certain varieties and high tenderness can become good mulberry tea. The mature mulberry leaves used for sericulture are not suitable for making tea.

In Pakistan, mulberry seeds are mainly imported. According to Pakistani agricultural expert, Chinese seeds perform better in Pakistan than the ones from some other countries.

“Since 2018, we have got the access from China. Now we are importing mulberry seeds from China. The quality of Chinese seeds is better than Bulgarian ones we used to import. The output and resistance are better,” said Muhammad Farooq Bhatti, Deputy Director of Sericulture, Punjab Forest Department Lahore.

After years of research, China has successfully bred special mulberry varieties specifically for making tea and developed more advanced processing technology.

“We have carried out some research on mulberry tea, mainly on the influence of processing technology on the content of active ingredients in mulberry tea, and on the selection of mulberry varieties which are suitable for making tea. I think China and Pakistan can cooperate more in this sector,” Lin Tianbao, Director of Research Center at the Institute of Sericulture, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences told CEN.

For sericulture, Chinese mulberry seeds and technologies have also been introduced overseas like Uzbekistan to help boost local production.

“The way we work with Uzbekistan also applies to Pakistan. In our cooperation with Uzbekistan, we are responsible for selecting new varieties of excellent mulberries and silkworms that are suitable for cultivation and breeding, as well as providing corresponding supporting techniques.”

“Uzbekistan carries out the cultivation and demonstration of mulberry and silkworm varieties according to our requirements, provides test reports in a timely manner, and gives feedback on new problems they meet during production.”

“We send relevant scientific and technical personnel to them from time to time every year to provide technical training, demonstration guidance and technical consultation in mulberry planting, new variety demonstration and promotion, silkworm variety test demonstration, etc., so as to quickly solve problems in production,” Lin Tianbao concluded.

Riaz Haq said…
Sorghum cooperation to enter CPEC

Sorghum is a multi-purpose crop that can play an important role in food and fodder provision. By tapping its potential jointly, China wishes to bring sorghum cooperation into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and benefit the people of both sides.

These views were shared by experts in the Symposium on Sorghum Industry Development of China and Pakistan, organised by the Belt and Road International Institute of Scientific and Technological Innovation of Sorghum Industry, Sorghum Research Institute, Shanxi Agricultural University and National Sorghum Industry Technology Innovation Strategic Alliance, China.

The major use for sorghum is in livestock feed for various animals. Processed sorghum can be used as floating fish food or steam flakes for ruminants at large feedlots.

“In addition, it might be considered as a crop that contributes to food security as it outperforms other cereals under harsh environmental conditions and it is economical to produce,” said Sindh Agriculture University Institute of Food Sciences and Technology Assistant Professor Dr Shahzor Gul.

“They are an important source of food and fodder, especially in the hot and dry areas of the country.”

In environmental conditions that are too harsh for other cereals to produce grains, sorghum is a viable choice. These regions are characterised by erratic distribution of annual rainfall, high mean temperature and depleted soil fertility.

As a tropical plant, it has remarkable adaptability to various climates and soils except saline and waterlogged soils and it can withstand heat and drought stress better than maize.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s Sugarcane Yield This Year Will Result in a Big Decrease in Sugar Prices
By Ahsan Gardezi | Published Oct 12, 2021 | 6:33 pm

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Food Security, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, revealed on Tuesday that the government expects sugarcane yield to exceed 100 million tonnes this year.

The government estimates to produce 9 million tonnes of sugar with the bumper sugarcane crop, and sugar prices are expected to start declining from 1st November onwards. Presently, the national sugar demand sits at 6.1 million tonnes, but the surplus produce this year will meet the country’s needs for a year and a half, he said.

Detailing the specifics, the SAPM on Food Security explained that the government had taken swift notice of the struggling sugarcane farmers and initiated urgent measures to help address their issues in a timely manner. Moreover, he mentioned the importance of targeted subsidies on basic food items and said the government is taking all possible measures to aptly manage the prices of sugar, ghee, and pulses, to lessen the burden on the people. “Prices of sugar, ghee, and pulses will come down soon like flour prices,” he remarked.

“Sugar will be sold at Rs. 80 or less under the control and monitoring of the government so that no one can sell it at expensive rates,” he said. Further adding, “At present, we are supplying sugar at Rs. 90 per kg, which is much less than the international market. Next year, we will sell sugar at a lower price with a clear difference in the global market.”

The SAPM on Food Security said the government would award numerous incentives for the production of sugarcane, and sugar mills and traders would be able to earn and help configure justified rates for farmers.

He also remarked that the minimum and maximum prices of sugarcane and sugar would be fixed, and the price of all food items would be decided in accordance with the purchasing power of the people.

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Production begins at $6.36m UAE-funded dates project in Panjgur
Pakistan is the sixth largest producer of dates in the world, with a production capacity of 556,000 tons per year.

The UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP) has announced to start commercial production at a dates processing factory in Panjgur, Balochistan, which was built at a cost of $6.36 million, the UAE official news agency WAM said.

Pakistan is the sixth largest producer of dates in the world, with a production capacity of 556,000 tons per year. The project was built over an area of 5,710 square metres, adhering to the highest international specifications and standards, in terms of processing, packaging and storing of dates. It includes 15 production lines with a capacity of four tons per hour or more than 32,000 tons per day and contains refrigeration that can store up to 1,500 tons of ready-made dates. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) had funded the project under the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme (UAE PAP). Since 2013, total financing that Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) offered for the projects in Pakistan reached $220 million.

Speaking on the occasion, the Director of UAE PAP Abdullah Khalifa Al Ghafli said the start of production at Panjgur dates processing factory coincides with the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramazan and the urgent need of high quality dates as a main food item at the time of Iftar.

Al Ghafli hailed the support of the UAE’s leadership for the humanitarian programmes and development projects that his organisation has been implementing in Pakistan, highlighting the UAE’s pioneering strategy in the field of humanitarian work. Number of farmers in Balochistan expressed their joy over the opening of Panjgur dates processing factory, which will help them market their date products. The farmers also thanked the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan for their support at a difficult time of crises and hardship through the implementation of initiatives and development projects.
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Pakistan Set to Become Olive Council Member

Pakistani government representatives met with officials from the International Olive Council (IOC) in Madrid recently to announce that the South Asian country will become its 19th member.

The IOC’s goal is to plant tens of millions of trees and make Pakistan a relevant olive oil producer in the region. The country is already involved in a multi-year nationwide effort to expand local olive production.

According to Juan Vilar Strategic Consultants, Pakistan produces about 1,500 tons of olive oil per annum and 830 tons of table olives, all of which are destined for domestic consumption.

“Pakistan feels the need to connect with the council as they are developing their olive sector and their internal olive oil consumption grows,” Abdellatif Ghedira, the IOC’s executive director, told Olive Oil Times.

“In Pakistan, olive oil culture is making inroads, and so are the opportunities related to that,” he added. “The council is a decisive player in contributing to the sustainable and responsible development of olive growing, and it serves as a world forum for discussing policymaking issues and tackling present and future challenges.”

The nationwide Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project launched by the government to tackle some of the effects of climate change such as soil erosion and desertification complements the olive expansion projects meant to bring new opportunities to farmers.

The reforestation project, considered by the United Nations one of the most ambitious on a global scale, aims at restoring and enhancing more than one million hectares of forest by the end of 2023.

Today Pakistan’s forest covers only five percent of the country, compared with a 23 percent global average. Planting fruit tree crops, such as olives, is an environmentally and economically-friendly way to achieve this goal.

The second phase of the national olive project, which started 12 years ago, will add 10 million new olive trees in the next three years.

Given the unique characteristics of the olive tree, often thriving in areas way more challenging for other crops, government officials believe that olive farming is an efficient answer both to reforestation needs and economic development.

“A special focus in this phase will be given to underprivileged areas of the country, such as Southern Balochistan, Southern Punjab, the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and some parts of Sindh province,” Muhammad Tariq, national project director at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, told Olive Oil Times.

Thanks to cooperation projects with some of the IOC’s European members, such as Spain and Italy, and with foreign support from China, local growers are experimenting with many different olive varieties, such as Pendolino, Frantoio, Picual and Arbequina.


The IOC currently has 18 state members including the European Union. These states account for over 98 per cent of the world's olive production. The following states of the IOC are below (the year of the state's first ratification of one of the Agreements is included; an asterisk indicates that the state was a founding member of the IOOC):

Albania (2009)
Algeria (1963)
Argentina (2009)
Egypt (1964)
European Union*[1]
Georgia (2019)
Iran (2004)
Israel* (1958)
Jordan (2002)
Lebanon (1973)
Libya* (1956)
Montenegro (2007)
Morocco (1958)
Palestine (2017)
Tunisia* (1956)
Turkey (2010)
Uruguay (2013)
Uzbekistan (2021)
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan became largest supplier of potatoes to Uzbekistan

In January 2022, Uzbekistan imported 41,000 tons of potatoes, which is 953 tons or 2.3% less than in that same period of 2021. However, the volume of imports of these products remains high compared to January of previous years; 68% more than in the same period in 2020 and 85% more than in January 2019.

According to the State Statistics Committee of Uzbekistan, Pakistan became the largest supplier of potatoes in January 2022, its share in total imports amounted to 51% (21.100 tons). Following him in the list of main supplying countries are: Kazakhstan – 21% (8.500 tons), Iran – 10% (4.100 tons), Kyrgyzstan – 7% (3,000 tons) and Afghanistan – 7% (3,000 tons).

In January 2022, potato imports from Kazakhstan in volume terms decreased by 3.7 times compared to 31.400 tons in January 2021. One of the main reasons for such a sharp decline in the exports of these products from Kazakhstan was the decision of the country’s government to temporarily ban potatoes.
Riaz Haq said…
Potatoes are one of the major crops in Pakistan that has high consumption and nutritious value. The initiative has successfully taken several measures to increase the average yield per acre. The potential is huge that would be maximized by using advanced production technology. New scientific knowledge and crop management techniques will help farmers to combat challenges including climate variation, and pest, and disease control. Women’s engagement and capacity building in best agricultural practices including sustainable and safe use of pesticides is the crosscutting edge of the initiative.

The project districts generate over 95 percent of potato production that has started increasing in one year after the significant measures were taken by a team of expert researchers from the Wageningen University, Netherlands. As many as 24 master trainers including 8 women have been trained on a technical manual prepared by the Wageningen University. Some 24 demonstration plots have been established in the project district by the CABI master trainers and Wageningen University experts that represent Dutch best practices in climate-smart potato production. A baseline survey was also conducted to assess current production practices and to identify the constraints and challenges faced by farmers, especially by women farmers in the early stage of the initiative. Seed selection is the key to potato production. More than 600 farmers including women have given on-field training including demonstration plots’ visits.

Advance production practices and crop monitoring is being performed by the district master trainers under the guidance of the CABI and the Wageningen University experts. All the interventions are supported by information material and technical knowledge in the Urdu language. Local government, communities, and other key stakeholders like the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Potato Research Institute, Sahiwal, Department of Agriculture Extension, Potato Research and Development Board, and Potato Growers Cooperative Society Pakistan have been engaged for larger ownership of the best practices and to replicate them.

Several interventions are in pipeline with the support of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and its subordinate organizations. It is just about one major crop – potato production making it climate-smart. Many more shall be on the agenda to make Pakistan a nationally food secure country.

The writer is a freelance journalist and broadcaster, and Director Devcom-Pakistan. He can be reached at and tweets @EmmayeSyed
Riaz Haq said…
Dawar Butt
FYI: Looks like the news about lower #Mango🥭 production in Punjab is false. Crisis averted… production is 1.45 million tonnes this year, compared to 1.32 million tonnes last year. Increase of 10% in South Punjab, overall increase of 9.8%.
Riaz Haq said…
A Heat Wave’s Lamented Victim: The Mango, India’s King of Fruits
Blistering spring temperatures have devastated crops of the country’s most beloved fruit. “The soul of a farmer shudders at seeing these fruitless trees,” one grower said.

India is the world’s largest mango producer, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the global crop. Much of it is consumed domestically, but the country exports tens of millions of dollars’ worth of mangoes each year to the United Arab Emirates, Britain, Germany and the United States. Over the past decade, India has been trying to penetrate markets in other European Union countries as well.

In the past, export growth has been limited by the higher costs of Indian mangoes compared with those from countries like Brazil, Peru, Israel and Pakistan. India has been striving to increase productivity, which would lower costs.

Even before the extreme heat, India’s mango exports had been badly damaged by the supply chain disruptions of the pandemic, with shipments abroad shrinking by almost 50 percent last year. India’s top export organization had hoped for a big turnaround this year as the Indian and U.S. governments eased trade rules.
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Pakistan's mango production to fall by 50% due to heatwave, water shortage

KARACHI, Pakistan, May 26 (Reuters) - Pakistan's mango production is expected to decline by around 50% this year, as the crop has been severely hit by unusually high temperatures and water shortages, the chief of a growers' and exporters' association said.
Riaz Haq said…
Farmdar, a #Pakistani #agritech #startup raises $1.3 million in seed round. It will provide data to increase farm output. #Pakistan is among the world’s top 10 producers of essential crops such as #sugarcane, #wheat & #rice, but it ranks 50th in yield

Farmdar uses deep-tech with high-res, multi-band satellite imagery to create actionable data for farmers and corporates. This data has a direct result on the efficiency and profitability of farmers and corporates.

The round has been led by Indus Valley Capital with participation by strategic investors from Pakistan, the Middle East, and US, including Deosai Ventures, Tricap Investments, United Distributors Pakistan Limited, The Community Fund VC, LMKR and K2 Global Ventures.

Launched in 2021 by childhood friends Muhammed Bukhari, Muzaffar Manghi and Ibrahim Bokhari who himself is a third-generation large farmer, the Farmdar journey began when the founders started exporting produce and discovered that Pakistani produce was considered low quality in the UK and UAE markets. The founders vowed to do something about it.

“We looked at supply chain improvements first, like cold chain, which allowed us to extend shelf life but our underlying quality was still poor. We then tried remote sensing and precision agriculture technology and it created a step change in quality and yield whilst reducing our input costs” said Ibrahim.

“Pakistan is amongst the top 10 producers in the world for essential crops such as sugarcane, wheat and rice, yet in terms of yield we rank 50th or below. It’s a massive yield gap. Farmdar is in a unique position to help increase yield and quality while reducing farming costs and minimizing waste. Pakistan is well placed to be a regional and global agricultural leader. The starting point for agricultural excellence is data and insight that can be actioned upon, accurately and quickly. That’s where Farmdar comes in.” quotes Manghi.

In light of a rapidly growing global population, the agritech’s vision is to create a food secure world and empower farmers in Pakistan with technology to gain control over their produce and its true value. Inherently, there is a human impact, and to that end many data-points for individual farmers will be free of cost, as is registration on the Farmdar web-app. Corporate farms, food processors, food companies and mills requiring more elaborate data and insight will be engaged with bespoke solutions and subscriptions.

By virtue of yield increase with waste and input reduction, Farmdar’s data also helps reduce the impact of agricultural activity on climate change. Farmdar is the only agritech in Pakistan to be a part of the Greentech Alliance.

“Simply using more land to grow more food isn’t the solution, it’s devastating for climate change” quotes the Muhammed. “Farmdar uses artificial intelligence to create data that helps optimize crop productivity by increasing yield, reducing harvest loss and input costs and monitoring diseases. We knew that this data was of immense value, but were surprised to see the widespread appetite for data both on the individual farmer and the corporate side. Accurate data at scale doesn’t really exist in Pakistan”.

Farmdar’s use of technology with remote sensing through satellites makes their growth scalable and aligns with the vision to solve a global problem of agricultural sustainability. The funding will not only enable Farmdar to scale rapidly across Pakistan and hire and develop the very best tech talent, but also apply use cases from Pakistan in foreign markets such as Thailand, Turkey, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Philippines and across the Middle East.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #poultry industry growing 10-12% a year. 15,000 poultry farms throughout the country with capacities ranging from 5,000 to 500,000 broilers. The industry produces 1.3 million tons of #chicken meat annually. #food #protein #calories via @Profitpk

Poultry is one of the fastest-growing industries in Pakistan with investments of about Rs1.1 trillion.

According to the Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) report, the industry is the largest agro-based segment, generating employment and income for about 1.5 million people directly and indirectly.

The sector is growing at a fast pace of 10-12% per annum. At present, around Rs190 billion worth of agriculture products are being used by the poultry industry, speeding up the growth in the agriculture sector.

There are estimated 15,000 poultry farms throughout the country with their capacity ranging from 5,000 to 500,000 broilers. Pakistan’s poultry industry produces 1,245 million kilograms of chicken meat annually.

Ali Hasnain, a supervisor of the poultry sector, said that Pakistan’s poultry industry was no less than the international standards. “The poultry industry meets 50% of the total demand for meat in the country, and the rest is met by other meat products like beef, mutton and fish.”

“With the introduction of advanced technologies, more investments are coming around to cater to market needs and earn handsome revenues,” said Ali Hasnain, adding the poultry industry still had a lot of potential to contribute to the economy.

As per the PPA report, meat consumption per capita in Pakistan is less than the developed countries. The consumption of meat and eggs per capita is 6.2 kilograms and 56 eggs annually. In the developed world, the per capita meat consumption is 40 kilograms and 300 eggs annually.

According to the World Health Organisation, a person needs 27 grams of animal protein per day, while most people in Pakistan only consume 17 grams.

To meet the international standards of meat consumption, the supply and production need to be increased and prices need to be brought down so that consumers can get the required meat and egg consumption levels. An increase in production will certainly require more investments in the industry.

To boost production and bring down product rates, imports of poultry-related equipment should be exempted from duties and taxes.

In addition, as growers increasingly need land to establish sheds, the government should provide state land to investors at nominal rates to generate investments and more production.

Haniful Hassan, owner of a poultry farm, said that the current increase in prices of chicken was due to rise in prices of poultry feed. “The price of a feedbag has risen by 900 per bag in the last five months. We want the government to bring down the poultry feed rates to offset the price spiral,” he added.

Haniful Hassan called for establishing poultry research institutes, production directorates and a federal poultry board to provide research and training to farmers.

The government should also ensure easy availability of loans to people related to the industry.
Riaz Haq said…
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will help address the looming food security challenge of Pakistan by introducing modern farming to enhance the country’s yield through agricultural cooperation, a government official has said.

Pakistan has realized that food security is an important component of national security, and agribusiness is being promoted through more investments in the agriculture sector, which will be further enhanced under the CPEC framework, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, a top official of ministry of planning, development and special initiative, told Xinhua in a recent interview. “As a part of improving food security, this year we are investing more in the water sector and the agriculture sector to increase our yield … all these sectors are strengths of China, which has shown great performance and productivity,” he added.

Talking about the potential of his country’s agriculture sector, the official said that it is a big producer of milk, vegetables and fruits, but a huge chunk of it goes wasted due to the unavailability of processing units and the supply chain.

Chinese investors can tap the potential of the sector as they invested in other sectors, he said. The secretary said that his country is committed to CPEC, and no matter which political party is in power, there is a joint consensus that the project is important for the economic development of Pakistan. CPEC is a multifaceted program that catered to the needs of Pakistan, including the most urgent and pressing demand to meet the electricity needs of the country that was facing up to 18 hours of load shedding when CPEC was introduced, he said. Shah noted that CPEC invoked a new life to the economic development of Pakistan by bringing large foreign direct investment (FDI) through different projects.

Talking about CPEC’s role in the overall development of Pakistan, he said that it started off with infrastructure, followed by a new phase of industrialization which is going to be started in the special economic zones (SEZs) under the framework of CPEC. “FDI in SEZs has played a great role in the countries which were short of capital … China being one of the largest investors in the world is our close friend, so we are hopeful that the Chinese investment will contribute a lot to the economic development of Pakistan,” Shah said.
Riaz Haq said…
FAO in Pakistan

Pakistan at a Glance,to%20the%20country's%20total%20GDP.

Pakistan is also amongst the world’s top ten producers of wheat, cotton, sugarcane, mango, dates and kinnow oranges, and is ranked 10th in rice production. Major crops (wheat, rice, cotton and sugar cane) contribute around 4.9 per cent, while minor crops contribute 2.1 percent to the country’s total GDP.
Livestock sector contributes 11 per cent to the country’s GDP (60.5 per cent in agriculture sector) and employs approximately 35 million people. Fisheries and forestry sectors each contribute an estimated 0.4 per cent to the GDP (2.1 per cent in agriculture sector).
Despite its impressive and continuously growing agricultural production, the country is still facing high levels of food insecurity. According to a global report published jointly by FAO, WFP, UNICEF, WHO and IFAD in 2019, 20.3 per cent of Pakistan’s population (40.0 million people) is undernourished/food insecure. The prevalence of malnutrition amongst children aged 6-59 months is also very high, with an estimated 40% children stunted, 28% underweight, 18% wasted and 10% overweight. Further, around one-fourth (24 per cent) of the country’s population is living below national poverty line and 39.0 per cent is poor based on multidimensional poverty index (MPI).

Riaz Haq said…
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $200 million in financing to support Pakistan in transforming the agricultural sector by adopting climate-smart technologies to improve water-use efficiency, build resilience to extreme weather events and increase incomes of small farmers.

The agricultural sector in Punjab is central to the Pakistan’s economy and food security as it accounts for 73 percent of the country’s total food production. The Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project (PRIAT) will increase agricultural productivity through efficient and equitable access to water for small farms. It will support farmers at the community and household levels to adopt climate-smart farming practices and technologies that improve crop yields and conserve water resources in Punjab.

“In recent years Pakistan’s agriculture sector has suffered from losses in crop yields and livestock, damage to irrigation infrastructure, and food shortages due to climate change, particularly severe droughts in the Punjab province,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “This project aligns with the Punjab Agriculture Policy 2018, which promotes massive expansion of water conservation efforts, enhancing sustainability and resilience in the wake of climate change, and private sector participation to help boost the productivity of the sector.”

PRIAT will support farmers implement innovative, climate-smart technologies to help the Punjab government achieve economies of scale to transform the agricultural sector. The project will engage the private sector in sourcing appropriate technologies and providing training tailored for water user associations and individual households to improve water conservation practices and agriculture productivity.

“The agriculture sector has a huge opportunity to both build climate resilience and improve economic conditions by generating access to domestic and international markets,” said Guo Li, Task Team Leader for the project. “PRIAT will help accelerate the government’s efforts to transform the agri-food system through market-oriented production activities that add value, increase competitiveness and generate higher incomes for farmers.”

The project will benefit about 190,000 small, family-owned farms and 1.4 million acres of irrigated land in rural communities in the province. It will also provide training to small- and medium-sized farm owners on water conservation and more sustainable, climate-resilient agricultural practices, including for women. About 74 percent of women in the province rely on agriculture as a source of livelihood.

The World Bank in Pakistan

Pakistan has been a member of the World Bank since 1950. Since then, the World Bank has provided $40 billion in assistance. The World Bank’s program in Pakistan is governed by the Country Partnership Strategy for FY2015-2020 with four priority areas of engagement: energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery. The current portfolio has 60 projects and a total commitment of $14.2 billion.

Riaz Haq said…
Global Markets: Rice – Pakistan Export Forecast Rises to Record While Importing More Wheat

2021/22 Pakistan rice exports are forecast up 450,000 tons to 4.8 million, almost 30 percent higher than the previous year. Favorable export conditions are expected to continue as large stocks, competitive export prices, and strong demand from key markets are expected to spur exports further to 4.9 million tons in 2022/23.

Pakistan retains ample supplies following two consecutive record crops, despite hot and dry conditions delaying the 2022 May/June planting season. The Pakistan Meteorological Department forecasts ample monsoon rains which are expected to be beneficial for this season’s harvest.

In addition to favorable weather and market conditions, abundant supplies, and the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee have kept its prices globally competitive. Over the past year, Pakistani rice prices have closely mirrored Indian prices, which have been extremely low for almost 2 years; however, strong export demand has caused Pakistani quotes to spike in recent weeks.

Pakistan’s top export markets include a diverse group of countries to which it exports different rice varieties, including fragrant long-grain basmati, regular milled, and broken rice. In recent years, Pakistan has emerged as a major supplier to China, the world’s largest rice importing and consuming country.

In fact, in the first few months of 2022, Pakistan exported more rice to China than Vietnam, the historic top supplier. Pakistan exports both milled rice and broken rice to China, the latter primarily used in feed. Pakistan also exports competitively priced milled rice to East Africa – particularly Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania – and neighboring countries in Central Asia, mainly Afghanistan.

Pakistan is also a producer and exporter of basmati rice, a premium product known for its aromatic qualities. Demand for basmati rice has grown in recent years, especially in the European Union and the Middle East. While still facing stiff competition from India, the top global basmati exporter, Pakistan is a significant basmati supplier to the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom.

Rice is an important food in Pakistan; however, wheat is the principal grain consumed domestically. Unfortunately, the same hot and dry planting conditions that delayed planting of the 2022 rice crop in Punjab and Sindh provinces have adversely affected Pakistan’s wheat production.

This month, Pakistan’s 2022/23 wheat import forecast has been raised 500,000 tons to 2.5 million as the government has aggressively procured international and domestic wheat. Historically, the government intervenes heavily in wheat production, marketing, and trade to ensure sufficient supplies of a commodity critical to food security.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan: Fruits exports up 27.69%, vegetables up 31.47%

The exports of fruits from Pakistan increased by 27.69 percent during the first five months of the current fiscal year as compared to the corresponding period of last year. The exports of fruits during July-November (2021-22) were recorded at $177.316 million against the exports of $138.859 million in July-November (2020-21), showing growth of 27.69 percent, according to the date of Pakistan Bureau of statistics (PBS).

Meanwhile, the vegetable exports from the country also went up by 31.47 percent by increasing from $77.146 million last year to $101.423 million during the ongoing fiscal year.

On year-on-year basis, the fruits exports from the country increased by 62.35 percent by going up from $20.758 million during November 2020 to $33.700 million in November 2021. On month-on-month basis, the fruit exports, increased by 15.25 percent in November 2021 compared to the exports of $29.242 million in October 2021.
Riaz Haq said…
Maersk and SEED Ventures collaborate to improve agricultural exports from Pakistan

July 28, 2022

By Jack Donnelly

Maersk Pakistan Private Limited (Maersk) and SEED Ventures have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to launch the Pakistan Agripreneurship Challenge (PAC).

PAC is an Agri-value chain intervention challenge that aims to improve the quality of Pakistan’s agricultural produce and explore new global markets for Pakistan’s agriculture exporters.

In 2020, Pakistan produced 5.6 million metric tons of vegetables, of which the resulting export produce amounted to $4.92 million. In contrast, the Netherlands producing 5.3 million metric tons of vegetables, could export $31 billion worth of produce.

The comparison, Maersk argues, showcases Pakistan is not meeting its export potential for vegetables.

Issues pertaining to storage, transport & distribution are significant roadblocks for the Agri sector, and Maersk claims it is evident that a holistic value chain intervention is required for the post-harvest category.

PAC is an agripreneurship challenge that calls upon Agri ventures, innovators, farmers and agriculture students to participate and develop innovative solutions to solve the post-harvest challenges in Pakistan for vegetable produce.

The shortlisted finalists from the challenge will be given the opportunity to realise their innovative agripreneurship solutions by Maersk and SEED.

The 20 July collaboration signed between SEED Ventures and Maersk aims to identify potential solutions to support Pakistan in meeting its export potential.

Hasan Faraz, Managing Director, Maersk Pakistan, commented: “At Maersk, our purpose is to improve life for all by integrating the world. We are delighted to partner with SEED Ventures and contribute to improving Pakistan’s agricultural sector.”
Riaz Haq said…
The (Pakistan) government is working on a policy that will not only reduce dependence on imported palm oil but also facilitate and support farmers to grow oilseed crops, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Tariq Bashir Cheema, said on Tuesday.

At a press conference, Mr Cheema said the government has decided to take short- to long-term policy measures for the uplift of the agriculture sector, focusing on encouraging the farming community to bring more area under cultivation with the ultimate objective of achieving self-sufficiency in all the major crops and reducing the country’s import bill for certain agricultural products.

The country is currently spending $4.5 billion annually on the import of palm oil, and it is expected that the import bill for this commodity will increase to $6bn next year.

The minister said spending $1bn on the import of three million tonnes of wheat and $6bn on importing palm oil in a year is a big loss of foreign exchange, which is a matter of grave concern.

“The present government has revised the procurement targets for the procurement of wheat by the Punjab government and Passco, which have been achieved. In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war and the pressure built on the countries of the Central Asian Republic on their exports, the government has attained sufficient wheat stock to avoid the imposition of any emergency,” he added.

The minister said that the support price for wheat, being the important staple food crop, will be announced well ahead of the rabi season so that farmers will be able to have their own production estimates while keeping in view the market trends.

As far as cotton is concerned, Mr Cheema said that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has already formed a special committee headed by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, to formulate a recommendation as to how to incentivise cotton growers so that the lost area under cotton cultivation should be revived.

The intervention price for cotton will be set keeping in view of the price in the international market so that cotton growers should not face any loss, he said.

As part of the long-term policy measure, the government has decided to solarise all the 1.2m tube wells that are run on electricity. Once solarised, the agricultural tube wells will be 100 per cent free of electricity.

The special committee has proposed that bank financing on easy instalments be offered to farmers, and in this regard, the government is currently negotiating with commercial banks, he said.

He said that all agricultural inputs have been made tax free, and while referring to the availability of tractors, he was of the view that farmers should get tractors from banks on lease financing, as in the case of leasing of vehicles. This will help eliminate the profit of middlemen.

The minister said that Pakistan and China will shortly sign an agreement on buffalo breed improvement.
Riaz Haq said…
Nestlé Pakistan Brings Sustainable Growth to Apple Growing in Gilgit Baltistan

Nestlé, in collaboration with the Agriculture Department of Gilgit Baltistan and local support organizations, is working closely with small-sized local apple growers in the region to diversify their products and improve their livelihoods by increasing horticulture production through good agriculture practices including tree pruning, pest management, and post-harvest management.

Note: Nestle Pakistan produces and sells apple juice in Pakistan (Nestle Fruita Vitals Nectar Apple)

Safoora Bibi, our apple farmer in Hunza, supplies high quality apples to Nestlé Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
Country has potential to meet 95% of tea demand
Researcher says tea plantation can be promoted through cooperative farming, subsidies

Pakistan has huge potential to become self-sufficient in the tea sector. If planted on an additional 2,000 hectares of land offered by the government and invested by private companies, it can meet 95% of the national demand, said Dr Abdul Waheed, Director of National Tea and High Value Crop Research Institute, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) said in an interview with the China Economic Net (CEN).

“We have done much research in collaboration with China. The tea research institute was also built on the recommendation of Chinese researchers and was later renamed as National Tea and High Value Crop Research Institute,” he said and underlined the need to follow commercialisation.

Pakistan’s heavy reliance on import of tea calls for enhancing the local production capacity. During 2021, Pakistan imported 2,258,000 kg of black and green tea for $596 million.

In the first three quarters (July-March) of fiscal year 2021-22, tea imports recorded an increase of 11.95% as compared to the corresponding period of last year.

“We have 64,000 hectares of land suitable for tea plantation. But so far only less than 80 hectares are dedicated for tea plantation. We must use at least 2,000 to 10,000 hectares under public-private partnership in the first year,” he recommended.

“We should rely on our capacity of four million plants per annum, rather than import,” he told CEN.

“Tea plantation can be promoted through cooperative farming and government subsidies. Private farmers have their own land and need incentives from the government.”

Providing incentives like interest-free loans to growers during the gestation period is also a practice adopted by China.

Riaz Haq said…
‘Pakistan produces 15,750 metric tonnes of honey’
International honey bee moot held in Multan

The Institute of Plant Protection, MNS Unversity of Agriculture, Multan held the International Honey Bee Conference on “Bee Pollination Under Climate Change Scenario” via webinar on Thursday.

Federal Minister on National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam was invited as the chief guest at the event. The minister said, “Pakistan has great potential for beekeeping due to a diverse bee flora and suitable environmental conditions. Honeybees are an essential component of modern agriculture and economy.”

Beekeeping and honey production is becoming a profitable business in Pakistan along with being an eco-friendly practice.

Pakistan has three species of native Apis and one exotic honeybee.

Currently, there are about 10,000 beekeepers in Pakistan managing almost 1.1 million Apis mellifeca colonies. Annual honey production is about 15,750 metric tonnes in the country.

Pakistan ranks 20th in the world for honey production and 34th in honey export.

Beekeeping in Pakistan is mainly focused in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and central and north regions of Punjab but nowadays it is growing rapidly due to the demand for honey and its byproducts locally and internationally.

Plant diversity is directly dependent upon pollination success and vice versa, thus understanding the management of pollinators is very impotent.
Riaz Haq said…
Beekeepers reap a dividend from the government's programme to expand forests, as honey production rises


Malik Amin Aslam, climate change advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan, said that nurturing the relationship between trees and bees is a priority for the 10 Billion Trees project.

He told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that in several honey-producing areas the project is planting bee-friendly trees such as the indigenous bari tree - also known as ziziphus mauritiana or jujube.

The tree's honey is sought after for its low glucose content, which makes it less likely to crystallise, he said.

But Syed Mahmood Nasir, head of the Islamabad-based Nature Clicks Institution, a non-profit focused on the environment and anthropology, warned that growing Pakistan's honey industry is not as simple as planting more trees.

Authorities need to be clear on whether they want a replanted forest to produce wild or farmed honey, with each requiring different management and resources, explained Nasir, who was formerly the government's inspector-general of forests.

Either way, "they should ensure that no pesticides are used within at least 10 miles of the forest", he added.

For Changa Manga beekeeper Hussain, Pakistan's bee-boosting reforestation efforts make him optimistic he can carry on the business his father has been running for the last 45 years.

Hussain fondly recalled a childhood spent watching his dad extract honey straight from the beehives to give to customers.

"My biggest motivation for this work is that my father has had a special affection for honey since he was a boy and he doesn't want this fondness to end," he said.

"We will do it generation by generation. As long as the forest is there, honey is there."


When authorities started planting millions of trees in eastern Pakistan's Changa Manga Forest five years ago, the idea was to bring back life to forest land that had been destroyed by illegal logging, water scarcity and fires.

Now that the trees have matured, they are having an even sweeter side-effect - helping to boost the local bee population and honey production in the area.

As part of Pakistan's efforts to offset the impacts of climate change by rehabilitating forests, conserving soil and improving water management, 3.5 million trees were planted on 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) in Changa Manga, known as one of the world's largest man-made forests, near the city of Lahore.

Beekeepers in the plantation said they are now harvesting up to 70% more honey than before the greening project started in 2014, as the trees provide a habitat for bees and create conditions for a growing diversity of plants and flowers.

"As more of the plantation has been created, our honey production has kept on increasing," said Bilal Hussain, a beekeeper in Changa Manga whose father runs the forest's honey operations.

"We will get even more income over the next four to five years," Hussain said excitedly, as he extracted honey from a piece of honeycomb to pack into bottles to sell at his shop.

The amount of honey harvested by beekeepers in the 12,500-acre forest almost doubled from 725 kg (1,600 pounds) in the fiscal year 2018-2019 to about 1,300 kg in 2019-2020, said forest officer Shahid Tabassum.

And the amount of sticky stuff coming out of Changa Manga is estimated to keep rising to about 2,000 kg in the next fiscal year, Tabassum added.

The old forest had three main species of trees, to which at least seven have been added, he noted.

"The forest cover plays an important role in the increase of honey production because honeybees get shelter, shade and water from the trees," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Riaz Haq said…
Riaz Haq has left a new comment on your post "Pakistan's Biggest Food Import: Cooking Oil Worth $4.5 Billion Worsens Trade Deficit":

From Wheat Exporter to Wheat Importer
Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz
July 17, 2022
The writer is research fellow at University of Cambrdige, UK and Professor at Biejing Institue of Technlogy China.

The agricultural sector is one of the largest contributors to the economy. While declining as a proportion of GDP, agriculture still contributes one-fifth of Pakistan’s wealth and almost half the population depends directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods. With 79.6 million acres of arable land, there is a great potential for improving efficiencies and productivity of the agriculture sector. The crop sector is an important sector of the economy which provides food to rapidly growing population of the country. The major crops consist of six main crops: wheat, rice, sugarcane, maize, chickpea and cotton. Wheat is Pakistan’s largest crop, in terms of area sown and is grown under different agro-ecological zones. Wheat flour currently contributes 72% of Pakistan’s daily caloric intake with per capita wheat consumption of around 124 kilograms (kg) per year, one of the highest in the world. In irrigated areas, wheat is planted after cotton, rice, and sugarcane, while in rain fed areas wheat is grown at the same time as maize and millet. The sowing of wheat takes place from October to December and harvests from March to May. Approximately 80% of farmers grow it on an area of around 9 million hectares (close to 40% of the country’s total cultivated land) during the winter.

Wheat is the most widely grown crop in the world. Wheat (Triticum aestivum) is one of the first domesticated food crops and has been the basic staple food of the major civilizations of Europe, West Asia and North Africa for last 8000 years. Approximately one sixth of the total arable land in the world is under wheat. It is most demanded food grain and its production leads all crops, including rice, maize and potatoes. In Pakistan, wheat being the main staple food cultivated on the largest acreages. Pakistan falls in ten major wheat-producing countries of the world in terms of area under wheat cultivation, total production and yield per hectare. Wheat is the essential diet of population as it constitutes 60% of the daily diet of common man in Pakistan and average per capita consumption is about 125 kg and occupies a central position in agricultural policies of the government. Based on cropping pattern, disease prevalence and climate, Pakistan has been divided into a ten production zones. However, production zones need to be revisited. In Pakistan, wheat is grown in different cropping systems, such as; cotton wheat, rice wheat, sugarcane wheat, maize wheat, fallow wheat. Of these, Cotton-Wheat and Rice-Wheat systems together account about 60% of the total wheat area whereas rain-fed wheat covers more than 1.50 m ha area. Rotations with Maize-Sugarcane, Pulses and fallow are also important.

Riaz Haq said…
'Sweeter than honey': Inside the underground quest for the perfect mango
Hira Qureshi
Cherry Hill Courier-Post

The message arrives from an unknown number on WhatsApp at about 6:30 p.m. on a Thursday evening.

Hi, regarding the mangoes …

I text back quickly for clarification.

Are you the lady getting mangoes from Nauman?

Yep, she responds instantly.

My heart leaps with joy. Just a 20-minute drive away, my box of Pakistani mangoes is here.

Would my contact be a local auntie dressed in a salwar kameez (traditional Pakistani garb)? Or would she be a 20-something like me, eager to get a taste of the beloved Chaunsa mangoes that had flown across the Pacific Ocean from Multan, Pakistan? Whoever she is, I think, I'm grateful she kindly scooped up a box for me on her trip to the mango middleman — Nauman Chaudary — in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Chaudary became the middleman for mangoes in the Atlantic region when his friends and neighbors heard he was making trips to airports to pick up boxes from a mango supplier.

The West Chester resident told me about his journey to becoming the mango middleman earlier that week when I reached out for a story on how these mangos have built a local cult following.

People in his neighborhood would say, "Hey, if I get 12 boxes, we can share two" and that's how it all began.

“And then this year, we kind of ended up going a little bit further. I said, ‘OK, let's just do a little bigger project and let’s see how it works out,'" Chaudary said.

When shipments arrive, Chaudary sends out Facebook posts or WhatsApp messages for those interested in a box or three. The posts offer the brass tacks of what's in the box and when it's ready for pick up for those familiar with the magic of the mangoes. His Facebook post on a local South Jersey group is how I ended up at a young doctor’s home near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“Our next shipment of Pakistani mangoes date is July 13th IA (Inshallah or God willing), we are getting Chaunsa from Multan,” he had posted. “If anyone (would) like to order, please send me message with number of boxes. Cost of mangoes are $40 per box. Box is 2 kg, 4.4lbs, Chaunsa 5-6 pieces.”

Waiting outside her home, my anticipation builds. My parents grew up joyfully devouring these mangos, but I had never tried them until now. My heritage was waiting in the shape of a yellow-skinned fruit right behind the door.

After about 10 minutes, the door opens and a woman in light blue scrubs hands me a medium-sized box wrapped in green tape with a quick, “Here ya go! Hope you enjoy them.”

The exchange is brief, but my excitement is palpable. I smile down at the box in my hands.

I rip the box open immediately, and my friend along for the drive notes the honey-like smell that wafts from the oval-shaped mangoes tucked in little netted cozies.

The next day, we gorge on the luscious fruit while sitting on beach towels at Stone Harbor beach.

Incredibly sweet and bursting with juice, these mangoes are a revelation. They help me understand the devotion and reverence for the natural sugar bombs grown in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh inspire and the love expressed in everything from mango kulfi (traditional ice cream) to romantic verses by famous poets like Mirza Ghalib who had a special fondness for the fruit.

The cultural significance of this glorious fruit is even referenced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In an episode of “Ms. Marvel,” Kamala Khan chats with her Nani (maternal grandmother) in Pakistan over FaceTime, and Nani gets distracted by the mango man who’s brought his cart outside her home.

The poet Mirza Ghalib is reputed to have said: “Mangoes need to have two qualities: they need to be sweet, and there needs to be plenty."
Riaz Haq said…
Bilal I Gilani
Milk 🥛 production in Pakistan from 37 million tonne to 49 million tonne in one decade

About 30% increase in ten years

Eggs see almost 80% increase

Poultry more than 100% increase

Mutton and beef about 35% increase

Supply - demand gap explains relative price gain
Riaz Haq said…
Last year Pakistan exported 125,000 million tonnes of the fruit. The country’s average production of mangoes is 1.8 million tonnes.

Pakistan is among the five top growers and exporters of mangoes in the world. Pakistani mangoes are much in demand in foreign countries for their taste, flavour and size. In recent years, the situation brought about by climate change has rendered the cultivation of mangoes unprofitable in various parts of the country. This is forcing cultivators of mangoes to cut mango trees on a large scale in order to switch from horticulture to agriculture.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan eyes China to boost potato industry
Envoy says Islamabad ranks among largest potato producers in world

“Local consumption is around 4 to 5 million tons. We will have a good surplus quantity to export to regional countries,” he (Commercial Counsellor of Pakistan Embassy in Beijing Badaruz Zaman) told China Economic Net.

“We have also taken up the issue with the Chinese government. In Pakistan, we are introducing machinery from China in many processing plants.”


Prices of fries and preserved well-shelved potatoes are extremely high compared with the potato on farm, therefore “we need to improve the whole process,” Zaman said.

He added that China has achieved a very high yield per hectare owing to its high-yielding varieties of seeds and efficiency. Post-harvest processing in China is also impressive as the country uses machinery and the process is highly mechanised.

Similar things, if introduced in Pakistan, will help the country take potato production a step further, he said.

“We are using archaic methods and too much labour is involved as the processes are manual. The main issue is the lack of mechanisation. We also need cold storage to increase the shelf life but we lack the grading machinery.”

Potato Growers Association Vice President Chaudhry Maqsood Ahmad Jutt, who is also Chairman of Potato Research and Development Board, told China Economic Net that in Pakistan, seven districts of Punjab including Okara, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Khanewal, Vehari, and Multan contribute more than 60% of potato produced in Pakistan.

Chakwal is one of the booming destinations for potato cultivation as well, he said, adding that high production in these areas is mainly due to better irrigation facility.

“Pakistan lacks an efficient seed supply system, new varieties of seeds, technical capacity and training of farmers and it has inadequate resource allocation to seed systems,” he said.

“The cost of imported seeds is high and most farmers rely on poor quality seed due to shortage of funds, which results in poor yield and China intends to help us in all these areas.”

Jutt is convinced that China is a huge market for Pakistani potatoes because the price of potatoes is higher in China, especially from January to April while the potato crop is being cultivated in Pakistan during this period and it is available at a lower price.

He added that Pakistan already fulfills all international standards and exports potatoes to almost all continents, but he believes that with the help of China, the country can further improve the quality and per acre production.

Riaz Haq said…
China large importer of Pakistani pine nuts | The Express Tribune

Pakistani pine nuts’ exports to China in the first seven months of this year crossed US $41.48 million, according to the official data from the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC). Data from GACC showed that during January-July of 2022, China imported 3,770.76 tons of pine nuts from Pakistan worth $41.48 million while in the same period, China imported 11,513.7 tons of pine nuts around the world valuing about $88.020 million.

Overall, China has imported $88.020 million of pine nuts and out of that 47.12% is from Pakistan. Yar Muhammad Niazi, Chief Executive of Hangzhou Aiza Food, and Shaoxing Aiza Trading said that the export of Pakistani pine nuts to China enjoys zero tariffs and Pakistani pine nuts are classified as high-end snacks in the Chinese market, CEN reported. “The overall price of Pakistani pine nuts in the Chinese market is on the rise.

This year’s season will start in late September and our target is to export 1,500 tons to China. China is a big market and we need to do B2B cooperation to capture a larger part of this market,” Niazi said. He said that for the last two year the price remained low, valuing ¥130-140 per KG, while this year’s price is expected to go a little higher. They are now working on the value addition of this product and launching a new brand. Pakistani and Chinese governments should support Pakistani enterprises to participate in the exhibitions here to increase Pakistan’s exports to China, he added.

“China is one of the biggest buyers of pine nuts from Pakistan and even during the epidemic the Chinese government played a very vital role in having flexible policies in trade with Pakistan and that’s the reason why so far we have been successful to export pine nuts to China in huge quantity,” said Qadir Baloch, a pine nuts exporter hailing from Balochistan. Baloch, whose family has been associated with the pine nuts business for the last 55 years said that in the last few years China has become the main destination for Pakistani pine nuts and that is why local exporters are happy that they can earn a good profit from the neighbouring market
Riaz Haq said…
According to the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, overall world pine nut production followed a growing trend in the last 10 years, in spite of its irregular nature. World pine nut kernel production reached 23 thousand tonnes in the 2017-2018 season. In the last five years, global production amounted to an average of 26.4 thousand tonnes.
In 2017-2018, China was the top producer with 39% of global production, followed by North Korea, Pakistan and Afghanistan with 13% each.,and%20Afghanistan%20with%2013%25%20each.


Most of the pine nuts in European trade are sourced from China. In addition to the many species of pine nuts produced in China, Chinese processing plants also import unshelled pine nuts from Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan and Russia, then process and re-export them as Chinese pine nuts.
European imports of pine nuts from China have almost doubled in the last five years. Imports from China increased from 5.2 thousand tonnes in 2013 to 9.5 thousand tonnes in 2017.
Germany was Europe’s second largest supplier of pine nuts in 2017. Usually, Pakistan is the second largest supplier of pine nuts to Europe. In 2017, imports from Pakistan were relatively low due to a small crop.
Out of the leading external suppliers of pine nuts to Europe, Russia showed the most significant average annual growth at 68%, thus gaining some market share from China and Pakistan. However, Russia still has a small share of the European pine nut market at around 3%.
Riaz Haq said…
Import/Export Trends
Pakistan is a net exporter of nuts. The annual growth of Pakistan nuts in value between 2015 to 2019 was 12%, per year, while annual growth in quantity for the same period was 10%, per annum.

Pakistan procured 87 tonnes of nuts in 2019.

The production of nuts in Pakistan was 3,185 tonnes in 2019 and is forecast to change by an average of -4.18%. The country had an estimated 3,322.00 hectares under nuts cultivation.,3%2C322.00%20hectares%20under%20nuts%20cultivation.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan ranks 17th among the top almond producing countries of the world by cultivating almond on about 10 thousand ha and producing 22 thousand tonnes.


The Pakistani pine nut has the biggest kernel size in the world and, according to FAO data, Pakistan is the fifth-largest producer of pine nuts, meeting around 15 percent of the world's demand for the dry fruit. The pine nuts grown in the Sulaiman range make up 74 percent of the country's total production.

Besides its breathtaking views, the Sulaiman mountain range, which lies between Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, is also known for the world’s largest chilghoza (pine nuts) forest on higher elevations. The 26,000-hectare forest produces around 640,000 kilogrammes of chilghozas annually, according to an estimate provided by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).


695 tons of pistachios produced in Pakistan
Riaz Haq said…
Al-Shaheer Corporation Limited (ASC), a major meat exporter, on Tuesday announced that it has become the first local company to sign a business relationship agreement with McDonald's Pakistan for the supply of beef products.

The company, in a notice sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), said the beef products would be supplied through its frozen food facility located in Lahore.

“It is our great pleasure to announce that ASC is the first-ever Pakistani company to enter into a business relationship agreement with McDonald's Pakistan for the supply of beef products,” it said in the PSX notice.
Riaz Haq said…
Cows and chillies – the CPEC plan to revamp agriculture and livestock
China will assist Pakistan in producing embryos of high-milk yielding cows and in setting up contract-farms growing high-yield chilis.

What does CPEC have to do with agriculture?

The concept is very simple. In Pakistan, there are a few critical problems that hamper agriculture, livestock, and all manner of produce. The specifics are usually things like poor seed quality, a lack of modern farming techniques, low-yield, and a lack of skilled farm labour. The solution to all of these problems is singular — research.


Currently there are two end-goals. The first is to improve the genetic variations of cows being used in Pakistan for dairy farming. To achieve this, Pakistan requires better embryos to be able to farm elite animals with high-yields and long lives. To this end, the Royal Group of China has established a laboratory in Lahore to develop buffalo embryos of elite animals. The company also plans to set up a buffalo dairy farm of 8,000 heads. The project is aimed at significantly improving buffalo breeds and milk yield both in Pakistan and China.

On the other front, the Sichuan Litong Ltd. and China Machinery and Engineering Corporation have started chilli contract-farming in Punjab and Sindh on 400 hectares. The company is providing local farmers technology and training to grow high-quality chilis. It has planned to expand this operation on 10,000 hectares and to also establish a chilli processing plant.

The chilli project is actually quite fascinating. Pakistan as a country has ideal conditions for growing chillies. As per the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (Economic Wing), chilli is grown on 47,349 hectares in Pakistan with a crop yield of about 2.68 tons per hectare (1.072 tons per acre) and an annual production of around 126,943 tons in FY 2018-19. Over the past couple of years, however, chillies have first seen a significant increase in yield and then a significant dip.

While chillies are a native product that thrive in the region, the reality is that demand (particularly international demand) varies because of the unreliability of the crops in Pakistan. To this end, the Chinese companies taking on the chilli project are hoping to use better farming techniques, the latest research, and better seeds to grow more chillies in a smaller area and then export them to China. To do this, perhaps what is a bigger deal is that they will process and dry these chillies before exporting them — making it one of the few crops that get post harvest treatment in Pakistan as well. If successful, this may open other avenues for export for Pakistan as well.

The potential really is massive. Earlier this year, near the end of May, six model farms under Pakistan-China Red Chilli Contract Farming Project achieved a bumper harvest in southern Punjab and northern Sindh, with an estimated yield of 700 tons of dried chillies. According to Dai Bao, leader of the agricultural project of China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) in Pakistan, crops in the six model farms with a total area of nearly 300 acres began bearing fruits in May. As part of the process, more than 200 local technicians were trained this planting season and nearly 1,000 jobs were created

A similar story stands on the livestock end of the equation as well. Other than trying to ensure high-quality embryos the China Animal Husbandry Industry Co., Ltd. is also planning a livestock vaccine production plant in Gwadar which would produce vaccines to prevent animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease.

Riaz Haq said…
Near Kunri, a southern Pakistani town known as Asia's chilli capital, 40-year old farmer Leman Raj rustles through dried plants looking for any of the bright red chillis in his largely destroyed crop which may have survived.

"My crops suffered heavily from the heat, then the rains started, and the weather changed completely. Now, because of the heavy rains we have suffered heavy losses in our crops, and this is what has happened to the chillies," he said, holding up desiccated, rotten plants . "All the chillies have rotted away."

Devastating floods that wrecked havoc across Pakistan in August and September, on the back of several years of high temperatures, have left chilli farmers struggling to cope. In a country heavily dependent on agriculture, the more extreme climate conditions are hitting rural economies hard, farmers and experts say, underscoring the vulnerability of large swathes of South Asia's population to changing weather patterns.

Officials have already estimated damages from the floods at over $40 billion.

Pakistan, with 150,000 acres of chilli farms and producing 143 000 tonnes of chillies annually is ranked fourth in the world for chilli production. Agriculture forms the backbone of Pakistan's economy, which in a country that experts say is extremely vulnerable to climate change poses major risks.

Before the floods, the biggest problem was hotter temperatures, which were making it harder to successfully grow chilli, which needs more moderate conditions.

"When I was a child ... the heat was never so intense. We used to have a plentiful crop, now it has become so hot, and the rains are so scarce that our yields have dwindled," Leman Raj said.

Dr Attaullah Khan, the Director of the Arid Zone Research Centre, at Pakistan's Agricultural Research Council, told Reuters that even before the floods, the region had faced serious problems from heatwaves in the last three years, which was affecting the growth of chilli crops in the area.

Now the floods he said, posed a whole new set of challenges.

"Coming to climate change: how do we overcome that?” he said. "Planning has to be done on a very large scale. Four waterways that used to carry (excess) water to the ocean have to be revived. For that we will have to take some very hard decisions …. but we don't have any other choice."

Many farmers say they have already faced tough decisions.

As flooding inundated his farm a few months ago, Kunri farmer Faisal Gill decided to sacrifice his cotton crops to try to save chilli.

"We constructed dikes around cotton fields and installed pumps, and dug up tranches in the chill crop to accumulate water and pump it out into the cotton crop fields, as both crops are planted side by side," Gill said.

Destroying his cotton enabled him to save saved just 30% of his chilli crop, he said, but that was better than nothing.

In Kunri's bustling wholesale chilli market, Mirch Mandi, the effect is also being felt. Though mounds of bright red chilli dot the market, traders said there is a huge drop on previous years.

"Last year, at this time, there used to be around 8,000 to 10,000 bags of chillies in the market," said trader Raja Daim. "This year, now you can see that there are barely 2,000 bags here, and it is the first day of the week. By tomorrow, and the day after, it will become even less,” he said, adding an average day later in the week just 1,000 bags reached the market.
Riaz Haq said…
Kunri (Urdu: كُنرى) (Sindhi: ڪنري) is a tehsil and town located in the Umarkot District, Sindh province in southern Pakistan.[1] It is located about 270 kilometres (170 mi) east of Karachi. It has four prominent union councils: Nabisar Road, Bustan, Talhi and Memon Talhi.

It is the chilli capital of Asia. Kunri's red chilli is important to domestic and international markets.

Kunri's economy is mostly based on agriculture. The region produces red chilies (approximately 88,000 acres around the Kunri area), cotton, sunflower, sugar cane, and Sindhri mangoes. The most popular crop is the red chili, which sustains the town. Kunri is the biggest red chili market in Pakistan. Cooking oil plants are located in Kunri, most of which provide employment only to needy people. The manufacture Sindhi embroidery such as Hurmacho (interlacing stitch), mirror work and applique quilts called rillies.[what language is this?] Balochi Kharek embroidery is added to dresses made by locals.
Riaz Haq said…
90,000 tons of peanuts per year produced in Pakistan

Pakistan Peanut Area, Yield and Production
Area Harvested
(Thousand hectares) Production
(Thousand metric tons) Yield
(Metric tons per hectare) Percent Change from Average
2021/22 2022/23 2021/22 2022/23 5-yr Avg 2021/22 2022/23 2022/23 - Avg
98 100 90 91 0.92 0.92 0.91 -1

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan floods: ancient grains like millet could be key to rebuilding food systems

The cultivation of large-grain cereals like wheat and rice has become the norm in South Asia since the 1960s. Wheat is the primary crop grown in the flooded provinces of Punjab and Sindh, for example. Agricultural scientists suggest that millets would be more suitable. These “pseudograins” come from broad-leafed plants with small seeds that were very popular in earlier centuries and can be turned into flour to make dough. Along with amaranth and fonio (two more crops with small, hardy seeds), millets are increasing in popularity globally. A recent market analysis indicated that the production of these ancient grains could grow, as increasing global demand is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 26% between 2022 and 2030.

Cultivating a wider choice of crops would let farmers compensate for falling yields as intensifying heatwaves make wheat cultivation increasingly difficult.

These alternative grains are typically favoured by farmers with less than two acres of land in Asia and Africa. Their cultivation could reduce poverty in these rural communities by allowing farmers to sell their produce in global markets.

Flood-ravaged regions of Pakistan must return to food production and escape hunger as soon as possible. Given the quickening cycles of drought and flooding triggered by global heating, growing hardier alternative crops makes sense. And as water becomes less reliable, crop production could be stabilised by modifying water mangagement systems, including a switch to drip irrigation which saves water by laying pipes which trickle moisture on or below the soil.

A greater selection of crops could also offer a more diverse diet for local people. In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, only 10% of vegetables grown are processed locally, giving this food a short shelf life and preventing farmers from selling their produce in Pakistan. Investment in transport and storage to reduce spoilage could enable a thriving vegetable trade between provinces.

Resilient food systems in other parts of the world could emulate these proposed changes in Pakistan by diversifying crops to include older, hardier varieties, adopting water conservation methods and helping communities grow both cereals and vegetables which can be eaten locally, for better nutrition and more secure livelihoods.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan is the world’s 6th largest sugar producing country

Pakistan produces 6.1 million tons of sugar in 2022


Pakistan 5th largest sugar cane producing country

67 million tons of sugar cane in 2019
Riaz Haq said…
How India can boost millets cultivation
A region-specific strategy and their introduction in mid-day meals in schools and anganwadis could boost millets cultivation. The need for wholesome nutrition would also be more for children in the very regions that are suited for millet cultivation

The United Nations has, at India’s initiative, declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets. This, even as India’s own production of these “nutri cereals” — jowar, bajra and ragi and minor millets such as kodo, kutki, kakun, sanwa, cheena and kuttu — has fallen from 23-24 million to 19-20 million tonnes over the last 4-5 decades. The reason: Millets aren’t the first choice either of consumers or producers. Kneading dough and rolling rotis is much easier with wheat than with millet flour. Wheat has gluten proteins that make the dough more cohesive and elastic. The resultant breads come out soft, unlike with millets that are gluten-free. The public distribution system (PDS) has made rice and wheat accessible even to the rural poor, for whom these were previous aspirational cereals. For farmers, too, millets are orphan crops. With access to irrigation, they will immediately switch to growing wheat and rice that yield 3-4 times more than jowar or bajra.

That said, cultivation of millets deserves a special push, given their nutritional superiority over wheat and rice — whether in terms of amino acid profile or vitamins, minerals and crude fibre content. They are also hardier and drought-resistant crops, which has to do with their short growing season (70-100 days, as against 120-150 days for paddy and wheat) and lower water requirement (350-500 mm versus 600-1,200 mm). The right strategy would be to promote their cultivation in those regions — rain-fed semi-arid and hilly terrains — where they have been well-adapted. One cannot expect farmers in Punjab or coastal Andhra Pradesh to grow bajra and ragi; the yield sacrifices and opportunity costs of diverting irrigated land for these would be far too high. A more realistic approach is to incentivise farmers in western Rajasthan, southern Karnataka or eastern Madhya Pradesh — who are already cultivating bajra, ragi and minor millets — to not shift to rice and wheat. These districts/regions can, in turn, be developed as clusters for particular millets — like Dindori in MP for kodo and kutki.

The same region-specific strategy could be adopted even for boosting consumption. India, according to data for 2021-22, has 14.89 lakh schools with 26.52 crore students. These, plus another 14 lakh pre-school anganwadi centres, constitute a large potential market for millets. The PDS can continue supplying rice and wheat, which are more amenable to nationwide procurement, stocking and distribution. But the schools and anganwadis can serve khichdi, dosas, energy bars and puddings made from locally-sourced millets, along with a daily glass of milk and egg for every child. The need for such wholesome nutrition would be more for children in the very regions that are suited for millet cultivation.
Riaz Haq said…
Mango farmers in Pakistan say production of the prized fruit has fallen by up to 40 percent in some areas because of high temperatures and water shortages in a country identified as one of the most vulnerable to climate change.

The arrival of mango season in Pakistan is eagerly anticipated, with around two dozen varieties arriving through the hot, humid summers.

This year, however, temperatures rose sharply in March -- months earlier than usual -- followed by heatwaves that damaged crops and depleted water levels in canals farmers depend on for irrigation.

"Usually I pick 24 truckloads of mangoes... this year I have only got 12," said Fazle Elahi, counting the bags lined up by his farm.

"We are doomed."

The country is among the world's top exporters of mangoes, harvesting nearly two million tons annually across southern parts of Punjab and Sindh.

The total harvest is yet to be measured, but production is already short by at least 20 to 40 per cent in most areas, according to Gohram Baloch, a senior official at the Sindh provincial government's agriculture department.

Umar Bhugio, who owns swaths of orchards outside Mirpur Khas -- locally known as the city of mangoes -- said his crops received less than half the usual amount of water this year.

"Mango growers confronted two problems this year: one was the early rise in temperatures, and secondly the water shortage," he said.

Pakistan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, a problem made worse by poor infrastructure and mismanagement of resources.

It also ranks as the country eighth most-vulnerable to extreme weather due to climate change, according to the Global Climate Risk Index compiled by environmental NGO Germanwatch.

Floods, droughts and cyclones in recent years have killed and displaced thousands, destroyed livelihoods and damaged infrastructure.

"The early rise of temperatures increased the water intake by crops. It became a contest among different crops for water consumption," said food security expert Abid Suleri, head of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

A rise in temperature is generally expected in the mango belt in early May, which helps the fruit ripen before picking starts in June and July.

But the arrival of summer as early as March damaged the mango flowers, a key part of the reproductive cycle.

"The mango should weigh over 750 grams but this year we picked very undersized fruit," Elahi said.

Known in South Asia as the "king of fruits", the mango originated in the Indian subcontinent.

The country's most treasured variety is the golden-yellow Sindhri, known for its rich flavour and juicy pulp.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan produces around 560,000 tons guava annually with 58,500 hectares of land under its cultivation. Sindh is the second largest guava producer in the country.

Guava, is popular across the country for its unique fragrance and taste. Guava belongs to family of Myrtacear. It is called “poor man’s fruit” or
“apple of tropics” and is a popular fruit tree of the tropical and subtropical climate and is native to tropical America stretching from Mexico to
Peru. Guavas are cultivated throughout the tropical and subtropical areas of Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia. Top guava producing
countries are India, China, Thailand, Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Philippines, and Nigeria. In Pakistan, it is grown in all the provinces.
The major guava growing areas include Shariqpur, Kasur, Lahore, Sheikhupora, Sangla Hills, Gujranwala in Punjab; Kohat, Haripur, and Bannu in
KPK and Larkana, Naushehro Feroze and Hyderabad in Sindh. Guava fruits are used both, as fresh consumption and processing. It excels in
adoptibility, productivity, hardiness and most importantly in vitamin C. Besides its high nutritive value, it bears heavy crop every year and gives
good economic returns involving very little input. Guava is the one of the most gregarious of fruit trees of the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) and is
almost universally known by its common English name or its equivalent in other languages. The Dutch call it guyaba, goeajaaba, the Surinamese,
guave or goejaba, and the Portuguese, goiaba or goaiberi, in Spanish, the tree is guayabo, or guayavo, the Surinamese, guave or goejaba, the
Portuguese, goiaba or goaiberi, for Hawaiians it is guava or kuawa. In Malaya, it is generally known either as guava or jambu batu. Various tribal
names pichi, posh, enandi, etc. are employed among the Indians of Mexico and Central and South America. In Pakistan, it is locally known as
amrood. Guava is partly deciduous, shallow-rooted shrubs or small tree that grows 4 to 5m in height but in exceptional cases, it may attain a
height of 9 m, with spreading branches. Leaves are light green in color 7 to 15 cm in length. The flower is white in color, complete and sometimes
grow singly and sometimes it grows in clusters. Plant stem skin brown in color, smooth and scaly, flower bud mixed. It has an edible round or
pear-shaped sweet fruits usually 5-10 cm in diameter. The fruit has a thin peel, usually red, pale green or yellow when mature. The flesh of some
varieties is hard (crunchy like an apple) other cultivars are white or pinkish in flesh color and soft when ripe with a strong, very characteristic
fragrant scent. The fruit center core contains many small hard seeds. Guava can grow in both humid and dry tropical or subtropical regions of
the world and it is cold sensitive. Minimum required temperature is 20 degree Celsius and the optimum required temperature is 23 to 28 degree
Celsius. Guava cannot tolerate a high temperature of desert regions. Guavas cannot tolerate frost. Guava is cultivated on varied types of soils heavy clay to very light sandy soils. Good quality guavas are produced in river-basins. It tolerates a soil pH of 4.5- 8.2. The maximum
concentration of its feeding roots is available up to 25 cm of soil. Good drainage is recommended but guavas are seen growing spontaneously
on land with a high water table. Besides all these, guava is a bit salt resistant as well.

Riaz Haq said…
CPEC Agri corridor sows seeds of economic growth

As 2022 draws close, the agriculture sector has gained manifold tractions under China-Pakistan agriculture cooperation promising the phenomenal agri growth in the length and breadth of Pakistan, according to a report published by Gwadar Pro on Saturday.

Given the comprehensive spectrum of cooperation under “CPEC Green Corridor” throughout the year in 2022, the agriculture sector has recorded a remarkable growth of 4.4% and surpassed the target of 3.5% as well as last year’s growth of 3.48% during FY2022.

According to Economic Survey, the growth in the agriculture sector recorded 4.4% and surpassed the target of 3.5%.

This remarkable growth is mainly underpinned by China-led assistance to Pakistan of many facets relating transfer of hands-on experience in the fields of intercropping, high-yield seeds, pest control, hybrid cultivation, corporate farming, innovate irrigation technique, agri machinery training, agri research & development, protocol for Pak agri exports to China, digital farming and agri labor skills.

Since Sino-Pak agriculture has continued to deepen in 2022, Pakistan’s agricultural products exported to China from January to August 2022 reached $730 million with a year-on-year increase of 28.59%.

Pakistan’s agricultural exports to China are expected to exceed a record high of $1 billion next year.

On the back of 2022 agri sector’s milestone achievement, the focus of next year under CPEC Green Corridor will be continuing on improving land cultivation area, water management, better access to markets for inputs (seeds, fertilizers, farm mechanization, credit, water) and outputs, improved infrastructure including storage and cooling facilities, reduction in post-harvest losses, greater investment in research, development and extension, improved quality and fulfillment of quarantine requirements for international markets and competitiveness, greater diversification, especially minor but high-value crops, farm input and effectiveness of markets.

The announcement of three new corridors under CPEC including China-Pakistan Green Corridor (CPGC), which focuses on agricultural environment and food security speaks volumes about the significance of agricultural cooperation in CPEC.

The inauguration of the Intercropping Research Center jointly established by Sichuan Agricultural University (SAU) and the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB) in 2021 showed fantastic results in the 2022 season.

According to a news report a few weeks ago, China’s maize-soybean strip intercropping technology completed harvest at 65 demonstration sites in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recently, and the production of maize and soybeans reached 8,490 kg and 889 kg per hectare respectively in the intercropped fields.

Compared with the production of solely cropped maize and soybeans at these 65 sites which are 8,995 kg and 1,531 kg per hectare respectively, the intercropping technology definitely creates much more economic benefits.

Good news is that the researchers are also developing the strip intercropping systems of maize-peanut, maize-pea, sugarcane-soybean, sugarcane-mustard, wheat-mustard, wheat-soybean, wheat-chickpea, potato-maize and canola-pea.

Another healthy development in the agriculture sector happened in June, 2022 when a newly developed centre at Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (AAUR), the CPEC-Agriculture Cooperation Centre (ACC), announced to perform policy research, assist Chinese businesses in working in the agriculture sector, and foster institutional cooperation. Pakistan is also looking forward to enhance banana production with Chinese cooperation.

Riaz Haq said…
CPEC Agri corridor sows seeds of economic growth

According to Nosherwan Haider, CEO of the Sprouts Biotech Laboratories, Pakistan contributes less than 0.5% to the global banana market whereas China contributes about 4.5%.

Cotton germplasm is another significant component in Pak-China agricultural cooperation. For many years, China and Pakistan have cooperated in the field of gathering and identifying cotton germplasm resources.

In order to determine which cotton germplasms are resistant to heat, drought, diseases, and insect pests in various locations and environments, Institute of Cotton Research (ICR) of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), collaborated with Cotton Research Institute (CRI), Multan, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), and some other universities and scientific research institutions.

During July, 2022, Tianjin Modern Vocational Technology College (TMVTC), China and MNS-University of Agriculture, Multan (MNSUAM), Pakistan signed an online agreement for an agricultural machinery training program of Luban Workshop in Pakistan.

The two institutions will jointly promote the sci-tech exchanges and cooperation on agricultural machinery, germplasm resources and agricultural environment.

Earlier this year, Zhang Jishu from Sichuan Litong Food Co., Ltd. announced that his company would implement a 1,000-acre pepper cultivation demonstration garden in Multan during the 2022-2023 growing season.

In partnership with local agribusinesses and farmers in Pakistan, it intends to take over 15,000 acres of pepper orders in South Punjab, with a planned harvest of 30,000 tonnes of dried pepper. Additionally, the company intends to construct two pepper processing plants in Lahore and Multan and is in the process of locating suitable sites.

Pakistan is also working to grow the sorghum crops as, along with the three main basic foods of the globe, sorghum is a crop that has increasingly gained acceptance around the world.

During the Symposium on Sorghum Industry Development of China and Pakistan organized during 2022, there was a consensus that, sorghum is a versatile crop that can be useful in supplying food and fodder.

Hybrid farming is growing in Pakistan in a variety of sectors, as the Executive Member of the Asia and Pacific Seed Association and General Manager of Wuhan Qingfa Hesheng Seed Company, Zhu Xiaobo said that the hybrid canola variety developed by her company has been planted in Pakistan on about 10,000 hectares of land, covering around 6000 households.

In the next three to five years, they expect it to expand to over 40,000 hectares and provide more and healthier edible oil to Pakistanis. Similarly Sino-Pak cooperation in cauliflower farming through hybrid seeds is also expanding.

As Pakistan faced one of the worst flood calamities in 2022, consequently loosing drastic crop yield, Wuhan-based hybrid seed developer and supplier China also announced to donate hybrid rice seeds to mitigate flood impact on agriculture and food security.

According to the Chairman of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, to raise the average productivity and output of Pakistan’s crops and to mitigate the harm caused by the floods, experts from Pakistan and China are developing hybrid wheat types.

To facilitate the swift development of agri-sector in the country, the Punjab cabinet approved the leasing out of state land for corporate farming as part of the CPEC initiative in the first week of March 2022.

The move, according to agriculturalists, would be a revolutionary one for Pakistan’s farming industry. Corporate farming describes the direct ownership or leasing of farmland by business organizations for the purpose of producing goods for their in-house processing needs or for the open market.

Riaz Haq said…
80,000 tons of singhara (water chestnut) grown in Pakistan, according to Junaid Saleem, host of Hasb-e-Haal on Dunya News.


It doesn’t look very appealing nor does it taste ‘yummy’ and most of us just ignore the knobby triangular thing with a blackish brown peel being sold along roadside on pushcarts, close to winter. Yet, some relish it for its crispy-crunchy texture and delicate sweet coconut like flavour. Though, if people were to know of its dietary benefits few would be able to push it aside.

The Hallmark of Southeast Asian cuisine, it’s known as ‘singhara’ locally, though it has other names such as water chestnut, pani-phal, devil pod, caltrop, ling-nut, trapa natan and so on. It grows in slow moving water that is up to five metres deep and is native to warm temperate parts of Eurasia and Africa.

Singhara or caltrop is great for winter season snack. As it grows in slightly runny water, the fruit may have some toxins when sold fresh, and so after washing properly, it should be neutralised by blanching, boiling, steaming or roasting for at least seven minutes prior to peeling or slicing for blending into a drink, adding to salads, clear soups, stew or curry, stuffing for wraps or in whole chicken, or as pizza toppings, making its powder (used as a gravy thickener), mincing it to make puddings or cakes and storing as pickle. After cooking, it retains most of its crunchiness which is even retained when leftovers are reheated.

Few know of it and fewer eat it, though it has many health benefits
The fruits are eaten raw or boiled. The dried fruit is ground to make flour called singhare ka atta which is used in many religious rituals and can be consumed as a phalahar (fruit diet) on the Hindu fasting days, such as the Navratari.

Fresh singhara is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, iron, iodine, gives double the amount of magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, copper and multi-vitamins in comparison to the canned varieties that are available round the year.

It is a perfect food for a healthy life; half a cup of singhara carries just 0.1 gram fat, 14.8 grams of carbohydrates, 0.9 grams of proteins, 22 per cent more micro and macro elements and minerals as compared to buffalo milk, only 60 calories, zero cholesterol, low sodium and 10pc of the daily value of vitamin B6 and B7 to support healthy brain and immune system function, while thiamin and riboflavin portion help body to convert food into energy. Zero fat content assists in maintaining healthy body weight.

Being rich in polyphenolic and flavonoid antioxidants, it has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties that help in strengthening the stomach and spleen, and thus removes the symptoms of weak spleen, such as bad taste, insomnia, feeling sick, fatigue or swelling and urinary infections.

Loaded with detoxifying properties, it is advantageous for people suffering from jaundice, aids in proper functioning of the thyroid gland, acts as sterling coolant for the body, promotes salivation and quenches thirst, potent in treating urine infections, eradicate inflammations and blood impurities. It drives away tiredness as energy booster, and checks the flow of blood from wounds, regulates water retention and blood pressure by balancing sodium. Juices and extracts of singhara seeds are effective in treating conditions like measles, aid in curing the disorders of nausea and indigestion, eliminate bile residues properly, cure phlegm and plethora, controls diarrhoea and dysentery, treats sore throats, anaemia, fractures and bronchitis.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s Agriculture-focused Fintech Digit++ Obtains Approval from State Bank

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the nation’s central bank, has reportedly granted approval to the test launch of the country’s very first agriculture-focused Fintech platform, Digitt+ (providing an Electronic Money Institution or EMI permit).

Digitt+ is supported by Akhtar Fuiou Technologies (AFT), the firm revealed this past Friday.

According to the firm, the aim of this agri-Fintech app is to fully digitize the agricultural ecosystem, enable greater financial inclusion for local farmers and unbanked consumers via its tech, partnership, relationship with agri-businesses and FMCGs operating in Pakistan.

As reported by local sources, Digitt+ has teamed up with FuiouPay, an international payment solutions provider, in order to offer a market-based alternative to the traditional banking system.

As explained in the announcement, FuiouPay provides holistic enabling solutions via their 75 intellectual property licenses and proprietary software solutions.

Qasim Akhtar Khan, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Digitt+, noted that the firm will offer financial technology solutions to farmers residing in the country, who will have the option to open bank accounts and also gain access to credit and digital financial services – including easy bill payments, digital commerce, investments as well as fund transfers.

As noted in the update, the approval from the State Bank of Pakistan is a key milestone.

This ongoing initiative has the potential to address persistent food security issues, significantly improve yields and enhance human welfare in Pakistan, directly affecting local farmers and merchants, he stated.

Notably, Pakistan has been a significant agriculture powerhouse for many years. Agriculture employs around 50% of the nation’s workforce and also contributes approximately 25% to the GDP.

While this is considerable, the industry doesn’t have adequate access to financial services from the banking sector.

Ahmed Saleemi, CEO of Digitt+ explained that using tech to create digital financial products focusing on micro services to build a platform that should support the delivery of these solutions for the retail Agri market and corporate sector can be achieved via the provision of business tools.
Riaz Haq said…

The $8.2 million USAID-funded Pakistan Agricultural Technology Transfer Activity (PATTA) (2017-2021) increased Pakistani smallholder farmers’ access to agricultural markets, finance and technologies by supporting the cost-effective promotion and development of appropriate and affordable agricultural technologies that enable smallholders to increase their incomes, create jobs and enhance economic growth and stability.

PATTA facilitated productive linkages between local producers, suppliers, governments, academic institutions and other key stakeholders to develop, scale and promote the use of agricultural technologies and practices that expand agricultural productivity, increase yields and improve farm management. These included seeds, fertilizers, water pumps, improved plant and animal breeds, precision agriculture and integrated soil fertility management, among others.

PATTA also promoted agricultural innovation and accelerated the use of modern technologies through collaborations with 788 private sector partners, including micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) involved in agricultural technology manufacturing, assembly, supply and import.


Enabled agricultural technology-related businesses to expand, adapt and market their products and services to meet smallholder farmers’ needs:
Created an Enabling Environment for Increased Agricultural Technology Adoption: A favorable enabling environment for technology adoption is vital to reach farmers across Pakistan with new agricultural technologies. PATTA partnered with agribusinesses and provincial agricultural departments to identify new geographical areas for technology promotion so that technologies could be appropriately and widely adopted. Through these strategic private-sector partnerships, PATTA enabled a conducive environment for investment in agricultural activities that increased technology uptake such as experience sharing in farmer community gatherings, women-centric awareness raising demonstrations and on-site practical demonstrations.
Riaz Haq said…
Why 2023 is the year of millets

By Charukesi Ramadurai
9th February 2023
Once a forgotten staple of traditional Indian cuisine, nutritionally dense millets are becoming popular the world over. So much so that 2023 is being dubbed "the year of millets".

The woman squatting in front of the earthen chulha (stove) fanned the flame with the edge of her sari as she turned the bajra bhakri (flatbread made from pearl millet flour) over and topped it with a generous dollop of ghee. With a shy smile, she handed it to me on a plate with piping-hot zunka (a spicy dry curry made with chickpea flour) on the side. I was in a forest near the city of Nagpur in central India in the middle of winter, and the earthy, slightly sweet flavour of the millets seemed to warm me up from the very inside.

Millets are a group of small grains – technically seeds – that are grown on lands with poor soil quality or limited access to irrigation. They are versatile ingredients that can be used both in their original grain form in porridges and as rice substitutes, or as flour to make flatbreads and other baked goods.

Once a staple in traditional Indian cooking, millets fell out of favour over the years, and have been making a slow comeback in India and across the world. To keep this momentum going, the United Nations has declared 2023 the International Year of Millets.

At the announcement ceremony in December 2022, Qu Dongyu, the Director-General of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, spoke about the nutritive value of millets and their invaluable role in empowering small farmers, tackling food security issues and achieving sustainable development.

While this may be news for much of the Global North, millets have been staple food in India (and parts of Africa) for several centuries, having come from China at least 5,000 years ago. There are nine kinds of millets cultivated across various regions in India, such as sorghum, finger millet, little millet, kodo millet, foxtail millet and barnyard millet. These vary in colour, size and texture, but share roughly the same nutritional profile. And all of them have local names in many Indian languages, attesting to their historical popularity across regions.

Nevertheless, their ubiquity in India waned after the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when the Indian government pushed for hybrid, high-yield varieties of wheat and rice to increase food production for both domestic consumption and export. Being officially called a "coarse grain" didn't help millets' cause either, as this designation signified something less desirable to processed rice and wheat.

Millets began to be seen as the food of rural and tribal communities, who ate rustic dishes like ragi mudde (steamed balls made with finger millet) and jowar roti (sorghum flatbread) as cheap and filling meals. However, for pastoral folks, millets were much more than sustenance. For example, they believed that consuming bajra raab (a thin porridge) would help build immunity against winter colds, and they would talk about how just two energy-packed ragi (finger millet) balls – eaten with a spicy, thin stew in the morning – would keep farmers fed for the whole day. Women, like the one who fed me the bajra bhakri, would pass the know-how of these dishes down through the generations, keeping the tradition of millet-based meals alive in rural India.

Now, mainstream society is beginning to understand and appreciate the long-lost benefits of millets too. Manu Chandra, chef and founder at Manu Chandra Ventures, who has been championing millets for years, rues, "With modernisation and increasing conveniences, we have forgotten what used to be traditional and lost sight of what our grandmothers used to cook. Given that we Indians have the highest rate of diabetes in the world, including millets in our diet just makes sense, but [they have been] sacrificed at the altar of rice and wheat."
Riaz Haq said…
Why 2023 is the year of millets

According to Mumbai-based holistic nutrition expert Amita Gadre, "Millets are not just naturally gluten-free, they also have much higher levels of iron and calcium than processed wheat and rice. They are also very rich in fibre, which makes them a good choice for those trying to control blood sugar or manage insulin resistance." One hundred grams of ragi grain, for instance, contains 344g of calcium, compared to only 33g in rice and 30g in wheat.

And then there's also the agricultural benefits of growing millets. Amrita Hazra, associate professor of chemistry at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Pune and founder of The Millet Project at the University of California Berkeley, explained that millets are hardy crops that don't need much water or fertiliser, and can be grown in arid conditions. "Lands that can't sustain anything else can still have millets growing on them," she said. "They have a short cycle and can be grown between major crop seasons, and they also enrich the soil with their own set of micronutrients."

Given this, over the last decade the Indian government has begun to encourage the growth and consumption of millets, starting with rebranding millets as "nutricereals" instead of calling them "coarse grains". A diplomatic push at the international level to promote millets globally soon followed, with the intent of making India a major hub for millet production.

Millets are now slowly finding their way back into Indian diets across the social spectrum, from affluent consumers who look to trendy foods (like quinoa and kale) in their search for wellness to middle-class mothers who are finding clever ways to sneak the nutritious grains into family meals.

Influential restaurant chefs have also been giving them a fillip through fusion recipes. The menu at The Bombay Canteen in Mumbai, for example, often features millet dishes such as barley and jowar (sorghum) salad, and vegetarian haleem with a mix of kodo, proso and foxtail millets (a savoury porridge usually made with meat, wheat and lentils). Nearby, Noon serves a range of millet tortillas and dosa, while Soam offers jowar pita pockets and ragi pancakes. In Bangalore, Go Native serves up rustic millet khichdi (a porridge usually made with rice and lentils) and ragi pizzas. And at Toast & Tonic, with locations in Mumbai and Bangalore, millet is added to arancini and kibbeh.

According to Chandra, "For millets to become truly broad-based, they need to be presented in a form that is more acceptable for today's generation instead of holding on to traditional recipes and ways of cooking."

Millet companies such as Tata Soulfull and Slurrp Farms are doing just this, in the form of snacks and ready-made meals such as chips, chakli (a savoury fried snack usually made of ground rice and lentils), noodles, pancake mixes and breakfast cereals. Prashant Parameswaran, managing director at Tata Soulfull, says that the inspiration for creating the brand came from the growing interest in eating quinoa he observed more than a decade ago when he lived in the United States. "I thought, why not our Indian millets?" he said.

All of this is adding to what Gadre calls "diversity on the plate", as she considers millets, along with other staples like rice and wheat, to be crucial for a balanced and varied diet. Other experts agree. According to food writer and nutritionist Nandita Iyer, "Millets are part of the larger biodiversity story in India… Along with the added fibre that helps control sharp spikes in blood sugar levels, eating millets also gives us more varied tastes and textures in our meals."

Riaz Haq said…
Why 2023 is the year of millets

All of this is adding to what Gadre calls "diversity on the plate", as she considers millets, along with other staples like rice and wheat, to be crucial for a balanced and varied diet. Other experts agree. According to food writer and nutritionist Nandita Iyer, "Millets are part of the larger biodiversity story in India… Along with the added fibre that helps control sharp spikes in blood sugar levels, eating millets also gives us more varied tastes and textures in our meals."

Millets are part of the larger biodiversity story in India
There are even millet-based beers offered by microbreweries and gastropubs across the country to wash all these millet dishes and snacks down. At his craft brewery, Great State Aleworks in the city of Pune, Nakul Bhonsle aims to "always have one millet beer pouring, and create a new one every three months". Currently in the pipeline is a new jowar pilsner. "I wanted my craft beer to be local in every way, and millets fit into our vision because they are cultivated in Maharashtra [the state in which Pune is located]," he said. "Globally, millet beers are about being gluten free, but for us, it is about working with the farmers."

Parameswaran sums up what many consider the significance of millets: "Millets are good not just for the consumer, but also for the farmer and for the environment. [Embracing millets] enables conscious consumers to say, 'this is my way of contributing to climate change'. So, this is more than a "super food", it is a smart food."

Given that India is already the largest producer and one of the biggest exporters of millets, the global attention on millets this year is sure to come as boost for Indian farmers. As for consumers, the classic cycle of what's traditional becoming trendy again, has already begun.'s World's Table "smashes the kitchen ceiling" by changing the way the world thinks about food, through the past, present and future.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan is the world's 12th largest millet producing country. It produced 384,000 tons in 2019.

World's top 3 producers of millet are India (10 million tons), Niger (3 million tons) and China (2 million tons)
Riaz Haq said…
Farmers urged to pursue modern farming through cooperatives

Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Minister Teten Masduki has asked farmers to pursue a modern agricultural business model with the help of cooperatives to improve their welfare.

He said that the agriculture system in Indonesia is different from that in Australia, America, and Europe, where a farmer can have hundreds of hectares of land.

“In Indonesia, on average, each farmer has 0.3 hectares,” he said during a meeting with farmers and Artha Mitra Abadi Jaya Cooperative members at a restaurant in Nepal Van Java village in Magelang district, Central Java province.

He said that with such a small space for productivity, it is hard to establish food resilience, considering that farmers have to supply high-quality stocks in a consistent manner.

He said that attempts are being made to replicate the corporate farming system adopted in countries like Australia and New Zealand, however, farm ownership will not be entrusted to just one person or entity.

“Through cooperatives, the farmers’ corporatization will be consolidated. Farmers will collaborate with cooperatives so that they gain economic (benefits),” he elaborated.

Nepal Van Java has 400 hectares of land belonging to 600 people, he pointed out.

“In Lampung, we make the same model, in which 400 hectares involve 600 people for (growing) a product, that is banana,” he added.

He said that he is sure that the bananas in Singapore have been sourced from the same Lampung cooperative.

With this model of collaboration, farmers can focus on productivity and not be concerned by sales, since cooperatives will manage that part by either working with regional companies or selling products in the market directly, Minister Masduki added.

Such a model has also been adopted in Ciwidey sub-district in Bandung district, West Java, he said. Their product has penetrated modern markets, he noted.

“We want to collectively establish a well-planned agriculture system, so that what the farmers plant, be it in terms of plant variety, product, or volume, can suit the market demands,” the minister said.

By doing so, there would be no excess supply that leads to a decline in prices, he added.— ANTARA
Riaz Haq said…
The challenge of shrinking farm sizes

Many research studies have explored and proven the inverse relationship between farm size and crop yields. In Pakistan, the solution undeniably lies in consolidating agricultural holdings into somewhat larger and more efficient farms. But the real challenge is to devise and execute effective policy measures. Among the options explored, cooperative farming and corporate farming are often the most cited.

In Pakistan, the average farm size has steadily declined from 5.3 hectares in 1971 to 3.1 hectares in 2000 and then subsequently to 2.6 hectares in 2010 (Agricultural Census 2010). As a result, the agriculture sector is now dominated by smallholders. Over 90 per cent of farms are smaller than 12 acres, out of which 67pc are below even five acres (two hectares).

The majority of farms have become so small due to successive land divisions that they are no longer economically and operationally viable. Small size is a major limiting factor for increasing labour and land productivity, mechanisation of farms, optimal application of quality farm inputs, and adoption of advanced agricultural practices and technologies.

At the same time, more than 8.2 million farms pose a serious challenge for the government to provide extension services, offer credit facility to all farmers, enhance their effective access to the market and even implement government programmes for farmers, primarily due to the high transaction costs involved. All these challenges translate into higher production costs and, in turn, a lack of competitiveness. As a result, farmers demand farm subsidies, putting additional pressure on the country’s scarce financial resources.

Interestingly, in East Asian countries like South Korea and Japan, instead of shrinking, farm sizes are increasing. In fact, thriving manufacturing and service sectors have provided lucrative employment opportunities, resulting in labour migration from agriculture to non-agriculture sectors.

Many research studies have explored and proven the inverse relationship between farm size and crop yields. In Pakistan, the solution undeniably lies in consolidating agricultural holdings into somewhat larger and more efficient farms. But the real challenge is to devise and execute effective policy measures. Among the options explored, cooperative farming and corporate farming are often the most cited.

Cooperatives (associations of persons united voluntarily) have been successful in many countries in empowering farmers to pool in multiple lands together, use collective bargaining to buy agricultural inputs and sell their produce, and collectively undertake value addition to attain greater efficiencies. Their success can be gauged from the fact that cooperatives in Europe have over 40pc market share in agri-food supply chains, whereas, in the USA, around 75pc of the country’s milk is marketed by dairy cooperatives.

Due to the peculiar socio-cultural context of our rural areas, particularly in Punjab and Sindh, people do not exhibit an inclination towards working together for common needs and aspirations. Therefore, cooperatives in the agriculture sector could not reap the desired results. In Pakistan, cooperatives often do not hire professional managers. Therefore, when the majority of members lose interest in managing the organisation due to one reason or another, a small group takes control and manages it for their own gains and interests.

Another widely mentioned option is corporate farming (large-scale agriculture by large companies). The arguments in favour include companies’ greater capacity and financial muscle to introduce mechanisation and new technologies, undertake effective marketing of farm produce, develop linkages with national and international value chain players, and improve farm and area infrastructure. All these factors result in higher productivity and competitiveness.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Fruits And Vegetables Market Analysis - Industry Report - Trends, Size & Share

Pakistan Fruits & Vegetables Market Analysis

The Pakistan fruits and vegetable market is projected to register a CAGR of 5.9% during the forecast period.

According to the FAO, fruit production amounted to 9.82 million metric ton in 2020. Mangoes accounted for the highest production of 2.3 million metric ton, followed by oranges with a production of 1.6 million metric ton. Similarly, in 2020, vegetable production accounted for 5.5 million ton, where about 40% of the production was only attributed to onions with over 2 million metric ton, followed by tomatoes, carrots, and turnips. Following cereals exports, fruit exports hold the largest share of the agriculture export revenue of the country. The value of the country's fruit exports grew by over 17% reaching USD 492 million in 2021.

Different climates in the country result in the availability of many vegetable varieties in markets around the year. Around 35 kinds of vegetables are grown across numerous ecosystems in Pakistan, ranging from the dry zone to the wet zone, low elevation to high elevation, rain-fed to irrigated, and low input to high input systems, such as plastic houses. Horticulture in Pakistan emerged as an important sector contributing over 18% to the national agriculture GDP. A large number of horticultural products are produced to fulfill the domestic demand for fruit and vegetables for the rapidly expanding population as well as to cater to the demand arising in potential export markets. Out of the total annual agriculture production of the country, the major contributors are Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and NWFP. Mango, kino, apple, dates, pine nuts, oranges, and guava are a few of the majorly exported fruits, and potato, onion, mushroom, garlic, chili, etc., are among the vegetables exported globally. Pakistan is heavily relying on one market for specific items. For example, Dubai is the biggest market for Pakistani mango, followed by England and Saudi Arabia. Sri Lanka is the only biggest market for Pakistani fresh apples. Hence, all these aforementioned factors are anticipated to positively impact the fruits and vegetable market of Pakistan during the forecast period.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Fruits And Vegetables Market Analysis - Industry Report - Trends, Size & Share

Increasing demand for Vegetables
Owing to low domestic production, Pakistan depends on vegetable imports for meeting the domestic demand. According to the International Trade Center, vegetable imports dominate the Pakistani market compared to fruit imports. The value of vegetable imports in the country increased by about 50% during the period 2018-2021. The country imported vegetables worth more than USD 946 million in the year 2021 with Australia, Afghanistan, Russia, and Canada being the major exporters of vegetables to Pakistan. Vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale, lettuce, chicory, carrots, turnips, cucumbers, gherkins, and coconuts are majorly imported in Pakistan. Furthermore, recent floods in the country are expected to further increase vegetable imports in the following years. According to a report published by ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development), Sindh province is the most affected area in the country, where the vegetable losses are estimated at USD 374 million affecting the three key vegetable crops Onions, Tomato, and Chilli. The growing domestic demand for vegetables in addition to the low domestic production is anticipated to drive vegetable imports driving the studied market.

Pakistan Fruits & Vegetables Market Recent Developments
October 2022: The Punjab government in Pakistan released USD 1.11 million (PKR 250 million) to set up the first fully tax-free, fruit, vegetable, and flower market in Rawalpindi to mitigate the inflation on consumers. The new market will have discounted prices of up to 30% and will increase the fruit and vegetable market in the region.

August 2022: The government of Pakistan lifted the tariffs on the import of tomatoes and onions to allow immediate import into the country. The government took the decision, as 80% of the onion crop has been damaged in the Sindh area due to floods, thereby, creating a shortage of the two important vegetables in the country.

April 2022: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government signed agreements with private companies to set up cold storage facilities and manufacturing units in Wana, South Waziristan tribal district. The units are being set up under the USAID-funded Horticulture Advancement Activity and implemented by FAO and are designed to increase the competitiveness of potential horticulture value chains in the target regions in the country.
Riaz Haq said…
#DigitalPakistan: #Mastercard (MA) to Aid #Pakistan #Agriculture Sector Digitization. The expansive footprint of Digitt+ across the agricultural sector of Pakistan makes it an apt partner to complement MA’s endeavor. #Farm #Finance

Mastercard Incorporated MA recently inked a deal with Pakistan-based Aktkar Fuiou Technologies ("AFT") as a result of which AFT can take part in the Mastercard Community Pass Program. The program is a shared and interoperable digital technology platform, which aims to counter infrastructural headwinds, such as lack of secure connectivity or low smartphone usage, often encountered while digitizing rural communities.

As a result of the abovementioned deal, Digitt+, the country’s agri-fintech company, backed by AFT, will be entrusted to introduce Mastercard Commerce Pass across Pakistan. Commerce Pass is a digital payment solution that falls under MA’s Community Pass suite.

An offline and stored-value account product, Commerce Pass paves way for the safe storage and transfer of digital funds. Thereby, consumers and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises ("MSMEs") of Pakistan are made aware of digitization benefits and the hassles of cash storage and transferring are minimized.

The recent tie-up reinforces Mastercard’s sincere efforts to integrate digital solutions within the underserved agricultural markets of the country. And the expansive footprint of Digitt+ across the agricultural sector of Pakistan makes it an apt partner to complement MA’s endeavor.

The move seems to be a time opportune one as a significant portion of Pakistan’s population is employed in agriculture and widespread measures are being adopted across the globe to integrate digitization in every sphere of life. But the agricultural sector of Pakistan grapples with ineffective infrastructure thereby creating roadblocks in the way of financial service providers to cater to agricultural workers.

Deemed to be a perfect fit in the prevailing scenario, Commerce Pass will offer a record of transactions that will make availing credit and other financial services easier for the country’s agricultural employees. The Mastercard solution is expected to offer financial flexibility to a considerable population of Pakistan that resides in rural areas and resorts to informal lending channels.

Mastercard follows a public-private partnerships strategy in Pakistan and works in unison with the government or private sector companies to infuse digitization across various sectors of the economy. Last year, MA collaborated with LMK Resources Pakistan (Private) Limited ("LMKR") to execute the first open-loop payment solution, powered by MA’s advanced technology, across the country’s transit system. The move was undertaken to infuse digitization within the country’s travel sector. By virtue of such remarkable initiatives, Mastercard occupies a significant share of the digital payments market in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said…
Army set to initiate ‘corporate farming’ on 45,267 acres in Punjab

According to the sources, corporate companies would also be included in this project, which will be completed in phases.

Under the project, state lands of the Punjab government which are barren and under-cultivated will be utilised for corporate farming. The locals would be made part of the project for modern and mechanized farming.

“The produce will not only be utilised to cater to the food needs of the country but also be used in improving the foreign exchange reserves by exporting the agriculture products.”

The project is quite challenging, as the provision of water to make the land cultivable will be a gigantic task.

The joint venture management agreement was signed on March 8, 2023, with the Punjab government.

“Under the agreement, the Punjab government will hand over its state lands of 45,267 acres to the army for corporate agriculture farming,” discloses an official correspondence that took place on March 10, 2023, between the army and Member (Colonies) Board of Review of Punjab.
Riaz Haq said…
China transforming agriculture industry in Pakistan | By Muhammad Zamir Assadi - Pakistan Observer. By Zamir Assadi

The CPEC Long-Term Plan (LTP) envisages significant development of the agriculture sector of Pakistan that has a huge potential for enhancing its agriculture exports to the international community. Under this plan, there is a focus on increasing the use of modern machinery and synthetic fertilizers to enhance the yields, while food storage and processing zones would be constructed to reduce significant post-harvest losses.

Similarly, the building of cold storage stations and meat processing plants is also being planned to enhance productivity of livestock and fisheries sectors besides making their output more competitive in the international market. Being one of the countries included in the BRI initiative, Pakistan can benefit from China’s increased food import dependence and gradual transition towards high value addition in the agriculture sector.

China is planning to outsource its agriculture supplies in the form of joint ventures by investing in and developing processing zones, warehouses, dairy farming and cold storage stations in Pakistan. It was recorded at the end of last year that the agriculture sector has gained manifold traction under China-Pakistan agriculture cooperation promising the phenomenal agriculture growth in the length and breadth of Pakistan.


Given the comprehensive spectrum of cooperation under “CPEC Green Corridor” throughout the year in 2022, the agriculture sector has recorded a remarkable growth of 4.4% and surpassed the target of 3.5% as well as last year’s growth of 3.48% during FY2022.

Since Sino-Pak agriculture has continued to deepen in 2022, Pakistan’s agricultural products exported to China from January to August 2022 reached $730 million with a year-on-year increase of 28.59% and its agricultural exports to China are expected to exceed a record high of $1 billion next year.

On the back of 2022 agri sector’s milestone achievement, the focus of year 2023 under CPEC Green Corridor will be continuing on improving land cultivation area, water management, better access to markets for inputs (seeds, fertilizers, farm mechanization, credit, water) and outputs, improved infrastructure including storage and cooling facilities, reduction in post-harvest losses, greater investment in research, development and extension, improved quality and fulfillment of quarantine requirements for international markets and competitiveness, greater diversification, especially minor but high-value crops, farm input and effectiveness of markets.
Riaz Haq said…
Corporate farming can ensure food security, strengthen economy: PBF

Pakistan Business Forum (PBF) has called for promoting corporate farming and agriculture research that will not only prove to be an in­stant solution to farmers’ financial woes but also ensure food security in the country, besides strengthen­ing the overall economy. The PBF Vice Presidents Jahanara Wattoo and Chaudhry Ahmad Jawad, and Chairman (Sindh) Mir Murad Talpur expressed these views while talking to media here Monday. The PBF Vice President Jahanara Wattoo said that last year’s flash floods had severely affected farm­ers’ community and the overall agriculture sector, and also put the national food secu­rity at risk. Agriculture sector contributed substantially to coun­try’s GDP, and farmers had always played an instrumental role in resolving every crisis the nation encoun­tered, she observed and suggested that it was necessary to implement an emergency agricul­ture programme and provide farm­ers with an instant solution to their issues. In this regard, she added, public and private sector must play their due role in making improve­ments in agriculture sector.

Both sides should devise plans and make investments to transform the agri sectors on modern farm­ing and techniques, ensuring high yields with low water consumption and other inputs, she maintained. Jahanara Wattoo said, “Women also have great role in our agriculture and without taking them aboard, the development of this vital sector is impossible.” She also emphasized that media should raise awareness and dispel gender stereotypes ob­structing development of various sectors, which were important for economic growth. PBF Vice Presi­dent Chaudhry Ahmad Jawad said that flash floods wreaked havoc in agriculture by washing away stand­ing crops, livestock and other in­frastructures in all the provinces. Though donors organizations and the governments had provided re­lief and rehabilitation support, the agricul­ture sector needed equal opportunities and even more sup­port from the public sector. Ahmad Jawad asserted that it was becoming increas­ingly challenging to satisfy the require­ments of the expand­ing population due to obsolete farming methods, and lack of research and pro­ductivity in the agri sector. In this crisis-like situation, he suggested the government to in­crease agri-research budget, and lay a greater focus on horticulture and other modern farming methods to enhance agri produces which guarantee food security and help increase country’s agri exports. He added, “We pay a lot for food imports however we can save this money by reducing our food im­port, and spend this hefty amount to safeguard farmers and enhance Pakistan’s agricultural sector in or­der to achieve self-sufficiency.”
Riaz Haq said…
The wheat production (in Pakistan) this year topped 27.5 million metric tons, the highest in the last 10 years, despite the challenges posed by heavy rains and floods last year, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Sunday.

Chairing a review meeting on the wheat situation, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the relevant federal government institutions as well as the provinces to increase their procurement quotas in the wake of a bumper crop.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the meeting received a briefing on the wheat production, current reserves, carry-forward reserves, procurement targets, and progress of federal and provincial departments.

Shehbaz applauded the record wheat production, saying that this achievement made possible by the grace of Allah, quality seeds, uninterrupted supply of fertiliser, and the timely decisions of the government and its Farmers Package.

“The bumper crop of wheat is a testament to the government’s timely decisions and excellent governance,” he said. “Looking forward, the government is preparing a strategy to increase wheat production even further next year,” he added.

“With the government’s continued efforts and the dedication of farmers, Pakistan aims to maintain its position as a leading wheat producer,” he said, congratulating the farmers for their hard work and dedication to achieve the milestone despite financial difficulties.

He noted that Pakistan became a wheat importing country due to the mismanagement of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. The PTI government, he added, made farmers to stand in long queues for fertilisers.

He urged the federal and provincial institutions to increase procurement targets to enable uninterrupted supply of wheat throughout the year. He also instructed that the resources required to obtain the specified quantity of wheat should be provided through banks.

He congratulated Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema and the officials concerned, and directed all institutions to increase their targets. The meeting was also attended by the caretaker Punjab minister for industries, and other senior officials.
Riaz Haq said…
Feature: Chinese canola crops transform Pakistan's cooking oil industry, boosts local economy-Xinhua

Pakistan's annual consumption of cooking oil is around 5 million tons, but due to the low economic potential of oilseeds in the local market, they are not preferred by the farmers. The country has to import about 89 percent of its oil to meet the demand, spending 3.6 billion dollars annually.

Dealers associated with oilseed distribution have said that the newly introduced variety has a high-profit margin for the farmers and, as such, it has become famous among local farmers just two years after its introduction in Pakistan.

Muhammad Rizwan, a seed distributor in Gujranwala, told Xinhua that the Chinese canola seed is resistant to diseases and has a higher yield than other previously available oilseed varieties on the market.

"Other oil seeds were sold for about 5,000 to 6,000 rupees per 40 kg on the market this year, whereas the Chinese canola was sold for up to 9,500 rupees, it also had a 20 percent to 30 percent higher yield than the other varieties," Rizwan explained.

"The seed is now a hot cake in the eyes of farmers in the Gujranwala district so we have placed a higher order than last year to the seed company to meet the demand in the next cultivation season in November this year," he added.

Last year, 11 tons of seeds were cultivated on 20,000 acres of land across the country, while this year 100 tons are expected to be cultivated due to a higher demand for the seed.

Housewife Saima Rizwan told Xinhua that she came to know about this oil six months ago from social media and how the oil extracted from Chinese canola is beneficial for health besides being cost-effective.

"I asked my husband to buy the oil and its taste was so good that we have never bought imported oil since. We cook all local dishes in the oil, and sometimes when we invite guests, they can't tell the food is cooked in canola oil rather than the commonly used palm oil," the 32-year-old told Xinhua.

Muhammad Azim, team leader of Eyvol group in Gujranwala, said that it was a bumper yield of canola this year compared to other crops, due to which farmers were very happy.

"It is a new beginning because farmers are making a good profit as consumption of locally produced oil increases," said Azim.

"As a next step, we will focus on local production of the seeds in Pakistani nurseries with the help of our Chinese friends to make the seeds more affordable for the local farmers," he said.
Riaz Haq said…
USDA: Global #cotton production forecast to hit 4-year high in FY24. It’s driven mainly by major cotton-producing countries, with #US & #Pakistan leading the charge, each adding 2 million bales to global yield. #India also contributing. #textiles

World cotton production is projected to reach a four-year high of 116.7 million bales in 2023-24 (FY24), according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The expected growth in production represents a slight increase of 400,000 bales from the previous year.
The increase is predominantly driven by the major cotton-producing countries, with the US and Pakistan leading the charge. Both countries are projected to see a significant rise in production, each adding 2 million bales to the global yield. India is also expected to contribute to the surge, albeit on a lesser scale, with an additional half a million bales.

However, these gains will be partially offset by a reduction in output from China, the world's leading cotton producer. The Chinese crop is anticipated to shrink by 3.7 million bales in the 2023-24 season due to cooler than normal temperatures early in the growing season in China's Xinjiang region, which could limit yield potential. This decrease means China's contribution to global cotton production is expected to shrink from 26 per cent in 2022-23 to 23 per cent in 2023-24, as per USDA’s Cotton and Wool Outlook: June 2023 report.

Meanwhile, India is set to buck this trend with a projected 2-per cent increase in cotton production from the 2022-23 crop. This rise comes despite an expected reduction in harvested area, with alternative crops predicted to reduce cotton acreage to 12.4 million hectares. A rebound in yield is set to offset this, with the national yield forecast at 448 kg per hectare, the highest in three years. India's share in global cotton production is set to remain steady at approximately 22 per cent.

Outside of the US, other countries including Brazil, Pakistan, and Australia are also projected to see an increase in cotton production. Brazil's output is expected to hit 13.25 million bales, slightly above the 2022-23 figure and second only to 2019-20's record of nearly 13.8 million bales.

Pakistan's cotton production is set to rebound from the nearly four-decade low of 3.9 million bales recorded in 2022-23 due to flood damage. The forecast production of 5.9 million bales for 2023-24 will account for 5 per cent of global production.

Lastly, Australia's 2023-24 cotton production is projected at 5.8 million bales, 300,000 bales above 2022-23 and close to 2021-22’s record of 5.85 million bales, supported by above-average reservoir levels.
Riaz Haq said…
Amid Food Insecurity, Pakistan Reports Record-Breaking Wheat Harvest

With ongoing disruption to global supplies caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there is some good news on commodities markets: Pakistan, one of the world's top 10 wheat-producing countries, has reported a record-breaking harvest.

A Pakistani farmer carries bundles of wheat during the harvest season at a village on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan, on May 4.

Pakistan's highest wheat production in a decade is a welcome respite for its cash-strapped government struggling through economic, political, and food insecurity.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took to social media on April 30 to announce that the country had attained a “record bumper” harvest of wheat totaling 27.5 million metric tons.

The announcement came as Pakistan has been dealing with record inflation and struggling to avoid a default on its debt as it recovers from last summer's floods, which killed 1,379 people and caused $30 billion in damages.

On global markets, the prices of grains, vegetable oil, dairy, and other agricultural commodities have fallen steadily from record highs. But often the relief hasn’t trickled down to the real world of shopkeepers, street vendors, and families trying to make ends meet.

Food prices were already running high when Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, disrupting trade in grain and fertilizer and sending prices up even more. But on a global scale, that price shock ended long ago.

According to the UN, food prices have decreased for a full year straight due to bumper crops in countries like Brazil and Russia, and a fragile wartime arrangement to allow grain supplies out of the Black Sea.

Food markets are so interconnected that “wherever you are in the world, you feel the effect if global prices go up," said Ian Mitchell, an economist and London-based co-director of the Europe program at the Center for Global Development.

Pakistani farmers sort wheat grains after they have been threshed during the harvest season at a village on the outskirts of Peshawar.

The Wilson Center, a nonpartisan research institute, reported on March 6 that 77 million Pakistanis are going hungry and 45 million are malnourished.

Though Pakistan is ranked among the top 10 wheat-producing countries, inflation has destroyed the purchasing power of the rupee, resulting in record prices for vegetables, beans, rice, and wheat.

The Central Bank of Pakistan raised its key interest rate by 100 basis points to 21 percent on April 4, pushing borrowing costs to their highest level since records began in 1992. Consumer price inflation in Pakistan accelerated to a record 35.37 percent in March from a year earlier, eclipsing February's 31.5 percent, the statistics bureau said on April 1.

A worker distributes free traditional roti or bread among needy people at a restaurant in Peshawar on April 16.

According to the Global Hunger Index 2021, Pakistan ranks 92nd out of 107 countries, indicating a "serious" level of hunger. The government of Pakistan has launched several initiatives to address food insecurity; however, it remains a significant challenge.
Riaz Haq said…
Rice exports from Pakistan to Russia will escalate

In a major breakthrough, fifteen more rice establishments got approved for exporting rice to Russia. Under the leadership of Federal Minister NFSR Tariq Bashir Cheema and Zafar Hassan, Secretary MNFSR, DPP succeeded to get approved 15 more rice establishments for exporting rice to Russia.

Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of Russia confirms Department of Plant Protection (DPP) Ministry of National Food Security and Research Pakistan that 15 more rice mills which were recommended after technical audit by DPP, can now export rice to Russia. This marks a huge success towards boosting exports and overall economy of the state.

Russia had put a ban on rice exports few years back because of pest interception in rice. However it was lifted in 2021 and only 4 rice mills, which complied their quality standards, were allowed to export rice from Pakistan to Russia. Department of Plant Protection with the support of Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) took special steps to upgrade 15 more mills as per the Guidance Document prescribed by the Russian Federation for compliance with the SPS requirements for rice exports. Now, 19 rice enterprises from Pakistan can export rice to Russian Federation. This is a huge achievement of Pakistan government where Department of Plant Protection under the MNFSR in close collaboration of Ministry Of Commerce became able to pitch increase rice exports to Russian Federation. This brings a good news especially to the rice farmers of Punjab and Sindh, as they will be the beneficiaries for this.
Riaz Haq said…
Sugar price hike has nothing to do with exports, says PSMA

Then the price of sugar was in the range of Rs 80-85 per kilogram, while the cost of production of sugar ranged between Rs 105-110 per kilogram. Pakistan then had a surplus sugar stock of 1.2 million metric tons. The sugar industry had asked the government to allow export of at least 1.0 million tons of surplus sugar out of the 1.2 million tons surplus. However, the government inordinately delayed the decision.

The association also added in their statement that timely exports would have given the correct signal to the farmer to plant more sugarcane or improve the yield of their crop by timely inputs. In December 2022, the government finally gave permission to export 250,000 metric tons of sugar. After fulfilling all governmental prerequisites, the sugar industry has exported 172,180 metric tons of sugar till March 2023 earning approximately USD 85 million.

According to the PSMA, the continually increasing international sugar price meant that sugar domestically in Pakistan is priced at half of prices across our border in Afghanistan. PSMA through its spokesman had continually stressed the need to Control our porous borders to Afghanistan or otherwise the huge arbitrage would make it lucrative to smuggle this commodity, as well, along with what has been seen happening in urea and wheat previously.

PSMA had time and again sensitised the government that the smugglers mafia would take advantage of higher sugar prices in the international market and smuggle sugar out of the country. If the government had given due consideration to the apprehensions and demands of the sugar industry then its earnings of foreign exchange would have been added to the national exchequer instead of landing into the pockets of smugglers mafia. Sadly, the industry couldn’t export the surplus and the country couldn’t benefit from this due to the huge smuggling.

It is also important to address the rising cost of sugar production in Pakistan. In the last crushing season, the government had increased the minimum support price of sugarcane from Rs 225 per 40-kg to Rs 300 per 40-kg (a 33 percent increase), resulting in jacking up the cost of production of sugar to Rs 130 per kilogram. While sugarcane is a major cost component, there are other key elements, as well. An increase in Sales Tax from 17 percent to 18 percent means that with any increase in the price of sugar the federal government gets 18 percent benefit.

They also added that the doubling in the mark-up rates of banks from 12 percent to 24 percent has been a major reason for cost increase, since sugarcane payments are made in three to four months while sugar is sold all year around due to its monthly distribution. Other factors that contribute to the issues include raising of minimum labour wages from Rs 16,000 to Rs 25,000, increase in the prices of different chemicals and spare parts of the machinery of around 70-80 percent as they are imported and the exorbitant rise in the oil prices leading to higher transport costs for sugarcane. All these elements are factors in the increase of cost of production of sugar up to Rs 130 per kilogram.

“Despite all the challenges faced by the sugar industry the price of sugar has increased much less in comparison to food inflation in the country which has gone up by 47 percent in the last one year. It might also be reiterated that the sugar industry of Pakistan set up several discounted sugar stalls much below its cost of production in different cities of the country during the holy month of Ramadan. This step of the sugar industry was also acknowledged by government circles. If the government would have timely allowed export of one million tons of sugar it would have ultimately given a positive message to the farmer who would have timely increased plantation and invested more in their fields to increase yield,” PSMA stated.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistani Mango Crop Set To Recover After Last Year’s Heatwave | Produce Report

Pakistan’s annual mango production averages 1.8 million metric tons, of which approximately 150,000 metric tons are exported. Given last year’s weather challenges, the export target for 2022/23 was reduced by one-sixth to 125,000 metric tons early in the season, according to Waheed Ahmed, patron in chief of the All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association.


Pakistan witnessed an extreme heatwave during last year’s spring months that strongly affected the crop of mangos, the country’s second-largest fruit export after citrus fruits. Mango trees, which are vulnerable to temperature variations during the flowering period, suffered under the unusually high temperatures — up by 3–8 degrees Celsius from the average — causing the 2022/23 harvest to plummet by half.

In addition to thermometer readings reaching record highs, mango growers experienced severe water shortages. Although farmers actively pumped groundwater in an effort to protect the trees from heat stress, much of this was unsuitable for agricultural use because of varying salt levels, potentially complicating future plant and fruit growth.

Pakistan’s annual mango production averages 1.8 million metric tons, of which approximately 150,000 metric tons are exported. Given last year’s weather challenges, the export target for 2022/23 was reduced by one-sixth to 125,000 metric tons early in the season, according to Waheed Ahmed, patron in chief of the All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association.

While final figures for fiscal year 2022/23 (July–June) have yet to be released, the available statistics show that Pakistan’s mango production has either decreased or remained stagnant over the past decade. To boost mango yield and exports, several government departments and industry stakeholders worked together to develop the Fruits and Vegetables Export Strategy, which will be implemented between 2023 and 2027. As part of the strategy, China is highlighted as a premium market for Pakistani mangos, with greater exports to this lucrative market representing one of the key goals. A number of investments have also been proposed with the purpose of enhancing the sector’s pest control and management, farm hygiene, cold chain transportation and other attributes to more successfully meet China’s import requirements.

In response to the recent climate vagaries, industry members have recommended that the government invest in the research and development of heat-resistant cultivars, the establishment of small-scale meteorological stations providing area-specific updates, and the expansion of digital channels for agriculture, such as real-time advisory services to offer growers rapid assistance in the case of unexpected events.

This year’s moderate March and April temperatures have the sector hoping for a stronger crop in the current season, with an initial production forecast of 1.7 million metric tons having been announced.

The Pakistani mango industry is sparing no effort in promoting its fruit in China, organizing webinars with Chinese importers and distributors as well as mango festivals and other marketing events. However, exports have not yet reached the anticipated level. In 2022, Pakistan exported only 23.95 metric tons of fresh or dried mangos to China with a value of $55,605, down from 37.42 metric tons and $127,200 in 2021.

Riaz Haq said…
Total production of kinnow in Pakistan is around 2.1 million tons, said All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA) Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed. “Export target has been set at 350,000 tons as opposed to the 300,000 tons exported in the previous season.”

“The export of kinnow is expected to fetch foreign exchange worth $210 million,” he added.
Riaz Haq said…
Land Information And Management System: Step Towards Pakistan’s Modern Agriculture Revolution – OpEd

By Sarah Saeed

Land is an essential resource and one of the primary elements of statehood which ensures the survival of a nation-state.Administrative inefficiencies, corruption, and lack of transparency that afflict conventional land management practices can lead to land conflicts and poor management. The cumulative impact of past negligence has made economic revival, a question of survival for Pakistan.

Looking back, Pakistan’s First Green Revolution was launched in the mid-sixties. Through the use of innovative technologies, timely application of high-yielding varieties (HYV) seeds, chemical fertilizers, and irrigation water, the output of food grains increased by three times. At that time, Pakistan scored far better than other South Asian nations, where the production of wheat surged by 79%, from 3.7 MMT to 6.8 MMT.

As of now, population-production gap is widening while area under cultivation is declining, and agriculture-related imports are now estimating at $10 billion,creating economic stress. Simply put, Pakistan’s productivity is currently below average. According to the World Food Program, 18.3% of Pakistanis—36.9% of the population—are experiencing acute food crises. With the entire wheat demand exceeding 30.8 MMT, the wheat shortage problem is becoming worse. There is now a shortage of about 4 MM as output is just 26.4 MMT. Over the past ten years, cotton output has decreased by 40%, from 14.8 million bales to 5 million bales.

With all these challenges in view, there is a dire need to take a promising initiative, aimed at enhancing Modern Agro Farming utilizing over 9 million hectares of uncultivated waste state land. In this regard Land Information and Management System – Center of Excellence has been established under Director General Strategic Projects by Adjutant General Branch, GHQ. LIMS is a digital platform to manage land related data with the mission to ensure Food Security and Optimize Agricultural Production inPakistan through innovative technologies and sustainable precision-guided agricultural practices based on agro-ecological potential of land, while ensuring well being of rural communities and preservation of environment.

LIMS is keen to contribute significantly in Agriculture sector and has recently initiated Modern Agriculture farming projects, starting from Punjab. In coordination with all provinces, thus far total land identified is almost 4.4 million acres in which Punjab and Sindh both separately have 1.3 million acres of land, whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has 1.1 million acres of land and Balochistan contains 0.7 million acres of land. The project is well expected to deliver a paradigm change in terms of land management and agricultural growth, triggering a system revolutionization. System revolutionization refers to the use of real-time data on land, crops, weather, and pest management under one roof to guide agricultural progress.

As planned, Research & Development in Seeds, Fertilizers, and Artificial Intelligence-based solutions through public/private collaborations and agreements with foreign and domestic partners will improve effectiveness, productivity, and sustainability by ensuring food security through large-scale farming, including livestock. Precision farming, biotechnology (genetic engineering, seed coating, and seed inoculation), irrigation management, pest management, agro-forestry, and aquaculture are some of the contemporary farming practices introduced by LIMS. These practices will further increase production yield, decrease input costs, minimize environmental impact, and support research and development.

Riaz Haq said…
Land Information And Management System: Step Towards Pakistan’s Modern Agriculture Revolution – OpEd

By Sarah Saeed

The world is currently using 80 % hybrid seed while Pakistan is using only 8% of the same. Pakistan’s seed requirement is 1.77 million tons, whereas seed availability is only 0.77 million tons. LIMS efforts are in hand to use certified hybrid seeds with concurrent development of seed involving Japan Vegetables (JVs) with Multi-National companies, which can pay rich dividends.

By leveraging the expertise, resources, and technology of various entities coupled with modern irrigation systems, Pakistan is in desperate need to revolutionize its agricultural sector horizontally and vertically as well as ensure food security for its rapidly growing population. As an immediate and well calibrated project which promises introduction of transparency, efficiency, and equality to the system, LIMS has the potential to revolutionize land management in Pakistan.

Planned under LIMS, real-time data gathering, processing, and reporting will be useful for identifying problems and putting into place prompt solutions for increased output. In turn, this will not only solve the constantly lingering threat of food security but also make it possible for the country to ecplo export possibilities and support the expansion of economy. Additionally, by allowing Modern Agro Farming access to state property, it will help in drawing investment, foster innovation, and provide job possibilities.
Riaz Haq said…
Farmers happily reaped a rich harvest of grewia asiatica fruit, locally known as phalsa or falsa fruit, in Multan in eastern Pakistan's Punjab province.

Demand for the sweet and sour fruit reaches a fever pitch in summer when restaurants and bakeries dole out falsa-based desserts, juices and smoothies.


Berry versatile: Falsa rules the roost as Pakistan’s most favored summer fruit

From kulfis and juices to pickles, the tangy-sweet fruit is on most checklists
Restaurants put on their thinking caps by adding it to traditional dishes and drinks

ISLAMABAD: When it comes to berries, falsa remains the top pick for Pakistanis in this scorching heat, with several food and beverage outlets reaching out for the versatile fruit to pack a punch in their choice of menus.
With its botanical name as Grewia Asiatica, falsa or phalsa traces its roots to South Asia and is very similar to the blueberry.
Demand for the tangy-sweet fruit reaches a fever pitch in summer when restaurants and bakeries dole out falsa-based desserts, juices and smoothies.
One such food outlet is Funky Pop, an ice-cream retailer which is popular for its fresh fruit popsicles that are devoid of artificial flavours or added sugar. Watch out for their falsa popsicles available at their outlet in F10 Markaz, or if creamy Italian ice cream is more up your alley, right around the corner at Manolo Gelato in F11 markaz they are serving up falsa hype with a special availability of falsa gelato.
Close on the heels of Funky Pop is Sooper Scooperz in Islamabad’s Jinnah Market, whose rich and seasonal juices are a favorite among locals and visitors alike. New on their menu is the falsa juice which can be devoured on its own or blended with a combination of other fruits.
Not one to be limited to juices and popsicles, the fruit – with the help of Karachi-based Tempting Bites by Zee – is pushing the envelope by adding a little bit of glamor to the humble kulfi as well.
The retailer which delivers the delight at home too, has been churning out cups of the icecream for years now and is very popular among residents in the metro.
Shehreen Farhan who runs a bakery in Bara Kahu, Islamabad says the fruit has been an industry favorite, mostly for its versatility, as it can jazz up any classic desserts.
“Cobblers (that are traditionally made with apples and peaches), pies and fruit tarts are so easy to modify by using falsa in place of berries and other fruits,” she said, adding that “fruit tarts are our best falsa seller.”
A more desi spin to the fruit is by using it in fruit chaats and salads, as well as boiling it down to jams and syrups or as a tangy replacement for regular chutneys and achaars (pickles).
Riaz Haq said…
Country moving forward from wheat importer to self-sufficiency

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battling malnutrition

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

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

Closing the yield gap between research fields and smallholder fields

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

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

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

Strengthening and diversifying seed production of newly released varieties can be done by decentralizing seed marketing and distribution systems and engaging both public and private sector actors. Marketing and training efforts need to be improved for women, who are mostly responsible for household level seed production and seed care.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan sugar production for 2023/24 is forecast to rise 250,000 tonnes to 7.1 million due to the recovery in sugarcane area harvested from the flood-damaged crop the year before.

It is reported by USDA in its May report.

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

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

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan world's 7th largest sugar producing country.

10. Australia 4.1 million tons

9. Russia 5.4 million tons

8. Mexico 6.1 million tons

7. Pakistan 7.8 million tons

4. Thailand 10.3 million tons

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

2. Brazil 34.9 million tons

1. India 36 million tons

7. Pakistan

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

In February 2021 Pakistan’s sugar prices rose as predictions of overall output being 200,000 tonnes less in 2021/22 than the 2020/21 season influenced speculative action in the market. That did not happen. Instead, Pakistan’s sugar output was over two million tonnes higher in 2021/22 than 2020/21. In October 2022 traders found themselves waiting on the government to authorise exports of the excess sugar produced.
Riaz Haq said…
Peanuts to solve high edible oil prices issue
Pakistan, China join hands to increase planting area, crop yield

Lately, Rainbow’s high-oleic-acid peanut cultivation base project was formally included in the China-Pakistan agricultural cooperation framework by the Ministry of Agriculture, China.

“As you can see, our seed registration with Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) has started. A total of five high-oleic peanut varieties for oil extraction of Runhua series have been trial-planted in Pakistan, which is expected to achieve fruitful results,” revealed Fan Changcheng, Deputy General Manager of Rainbow.

“Next, our aim is to increase the area gradually to 1,500 hectares in the coming years,” he said.

“My country has a long tradition of peanut planting. Peanuts like warm environment with sufficient sunlight, with loose and breathable sandy loam as the most suitable soil condition. The Potohar region of Punjab is the best area for peanut production,” Ijaz stated, adding that peanut seeds contain 40-50% oil and the high-oleic peanut oil is rich in unsaturated fatty acids.

“During our trial, we always focused on how the local environment can act on the quality of seeds on the whole. The varieties we selected have the highest oleic acid content, up to 75-80%, which means very high nutritional value.”

“Self-sufficient in peanut production means that we can reduce our import bill of edible oil,” said Muhammad Jahanzaib, Scientific Officer of the Oil Seed Research Programme in NARC Pakistan.

Statistics of the US Department of Agriculture showed that Pakistan’s peanut planting area in 2022-23 is about 150,000 hectares, with total output of 140,000 metric tons.


Riaz Haq said…
The alliance between Pakistan and China in the field of agriculture has emerged as a powerful force driving economic growth, sustainable development, and food security in both nations.

The strategic collaboration between these two neighboring countries, under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has witnessed significant advancements in recent years, transforming the agricultural landscape of Pakistan, according to a report carried by Gwadar Pro on Monday. Through joint initiatives, technological exchanges, and investment in key sectors, the bilateral partnership has not only addressed Pakistan’s domestic agricultural challenges but has also paved the way for future prosperity and self-sufficiency.

The agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and China has witnessed remarkable developments, particularly in the cultivation of high-value crops and the introduction of advanced farming technologies. The collaboration between Chinese and Pakistani companies in producing Chinese hybrid canola and edible oil has significantly reduced Pakistan’s dependence on imported cooking oil, meeting the country’s domestic demand while bolstering its foreign exchange reserves.

The success of chili cultivation in South Punjab, Sindh and other provinces has opened new avenues for export to China, with substantial growth in agricultural exports expected in the coming years. The establishment of the CPEC-Agriculture Cooperation Centre (ACC) and the signing of agreements between educational institutions for agricultural training programs further demonstrate the commitment of both nations to fostering long-term cooperation in the agricultural sector.

With the establishment of the China-Pakistan Green Corridor (CPGC) under CPEC, the focus on agricultural environment and food security has taken center stage. The utilization of advanced agricultural technologies, such as maize-soybean strip intercropping, has demonstrated economic benefits by increasing crop yields and improving resource efficiency. The agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and China has yielded remarkable results. In 2022 alone, Pakistan’s agricultural sector experienced a commendable growth rate of 4.4%, surpassing both the set target of 3.5% and the previous year’s growth of 3.48%.

Riaz Haq said…
The alliance between Pakistan and China in the field of agriculture has emerged as a powerful force driving economic growth, sustainable development, and food security in both nations.

This achievement is a testament to the effectiveness of the initiatives implemented under CPEC and the Green Corridor in particular. The surge in agricultural exports to China reflects a staggering year-on-year increase. With expectations of agricultural exports surpassing a record high in 2023, it is evident that the agricultural cooperation between these two nations has bolstered trade relations and presented new opportunities for Pakistan to establish itself as a key player in the global agricultural market.

In addition to the impressive growth rates and increased agricultural exports, there are other significant numbers that underscore the impact of the agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and China. One noteworthy aspect is the cultivation of dried chilli, which has witnessed substantial progress. This not only signifies the expansion of chilli cultivation in Pakistan but also highlights the potential for exporting this sought-after commodity to China.

The successful implementation of the maize-soybean strip intercropping technology at 65 demonstration sites in Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has yielded impressive results. The intercropped fields have achieved maize and soybean production of 8,490 kg and 889 kg per hectare, respectively, surpassing the yields of solely cropped maize and soybeans. This innovative technique demonstrates the effectiveness of knowledge and technology transfer from China to Pakistan, resulting in increased productivity and economic benefits for farmers.

Many agro-based innovative Chinese companies involved in production and support for bee farming, honey production, sorghum, sesame and peanuts in various regions of Pakistan has made substantial contribution in diversifying these corps and their production. The ongoing efforts to strengthen ties reflect a long-term commitment to advancing agricultural practices, technology transfer, and market access. As the collaboration deepens, it is essential to prioritize sustainable farming practices, resource management, and the adoption of modern technologies to ensure long-term productivity and environmental conservation. By fostering innovation, knowledge exchange, and market diversification, the agricultural sector in Pakistan is poised to become a driver of economic growth, food security, and rural development, while further cementing the bilateral ties between Pakistan and China.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan's Rise as Strong Competitor Threatens India's Supremacy in Global Maize Market

In the worldwide maize (corn) market, Pakistan has emerged as a strong rival to India, delivering the coarse cereal at a lower price in South-East Asia.


"Pakistan is currently dealing with a number of difficulties. This year, India boasts a bountiful maize crop. The situation is expected to improve as new contracts are signed by Indian exporters to South-East Asia and Gulf countries," said Mukesh Singh, Managing Director of Mumbai-based MuBala Agro Commodities Pvt Ltd.

"Pakistan benefits from its currency's depreciation against the US dollar." However, it has limited numbers and is only targeting South-East Asia," said Rajesh Paharia Jain, a New Delhi-based exporter. According to a trade analyst in Delhi, Indian exporters cannot help with such buyer behavior, even though such cases are rare. "However, there are issues. No one is issuing letters of credit (LCs) to facilitate trade with Pakistan. Also, container availability is an issue," he added.

According to Prakash, Indian maize is being offered for USD 307-15 per tonne, while Pakistani maize is being sold at USD 293-95 cost and freight. According to Jain, Pakistan is offering its produce for USD 280 f.o.b., whereas India is requesting USD 295 f.o.b. "India should be able to reclaim the advantage, primarily through lower east coast freight rates."

Our maize, on the other hand, is hampered by a flat Indian currency and a lack of government support, in addition to greater handling and storage costs," Jain explained. "We don't have any supply issues. As prices have calmed slightly, we are getting maize supplied for USD 24,000 per tonne in Chennai', added Prakash.

The median price (rates at which most trades take place) of maize at Davangere in Karnataka is 2,017 per quintal, according to data from Agmarknet, a subsidiary of the Agriculture Ministry, down 150 since last month. This crop year's minimum support price (MSP) for maize is USD 1,962. Prices have fallen below the MSP in some Maharashtra marketplaces.

Corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) are trading at a one-month high of USD 6.5 per bushel (USD ​255.89 per tonne) due to robust demand. According to Jain, the quality of Indian maize is superior, but it is unable to gain since it is desired for feed rather than human use. MuBala's Singh stated that he has had orders from Oman and Saudi Arabia, but in lesser lots of 5,000 tonnes. Vietnam and Malaysia were also buying in large quantities.

However, issues have arisen with shipments to Bangladesh, the main consumer of Indian maize, because Indian LCs are not being fulfilled. According to the analyst, demand for Indian maize would remain strong in light of agricultural concerns in the United States. "There is uncertainty about supply from the United States. In addition, supplies from Ukraine are in doubt. Maize demand remains strong, and India stands to benefit," he said.

A record high maize yield of 34.61 million tonnes (mt) is expected to help meet export requests. According to figures from the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), maize exports were 28.6 lakh tonnes (lt) valued at USD 931 million during the April-January period of the 2022-23 fiscal, with Bangladesh accounting for 15 lt and Vietnam contributing for 5.7 lt. Maize exports were 36.9 lt valued at $1.02 billion in 2021-22.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s maize output has grown 4.5 times between 2000 and 2020 in the face of looming climate change challenges.

It has witnessed an estimated 60 percent increase in productivity in the last decade according to the data published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and Economic Survey of Pakistan. It’s the third-biggest cereal crop. In addition to direct human consumption, its uses range from poultry, livestock, and fisheries all of which play a key role in ensuring Pakistan’s national food security.

Since the opening of the first maize research institutes of the country in Yousafwala (Sahiwal) and Pirsabak (NWFP) in 1971 and the introduction of spring maize cultivation in 1975, maize acreage and production have been growing steadily over the years.

A coordinated Maize and Millet Research Programme initiated the same year and simultaneous efforts by the private sector have brought us to the point where Pakistan has surplus stocks of maize to export. It’s one of the few instances where the government and private sector has jointly built something so immense from scratch, especially in the agriculture sector.


Developing the market
The primary driver behind the growth of any commodity is sustainable demand and fortunately for maize, it found a robust market. Poultry, one of the biggest sub-sectors with an annual turnover of Rs. 1500 billion and 10-12 percent annual growth, has been the key recipient of maize grain.

An estimated 65 percent of Pakistan’s production goes to providing poultry feed while 15 percent goes to wet milling, a process that mainly gives starch and other by-products like corn oil, gluten, fibre, and several important chemicals. All of these have widespread use cases from beverages, bakeries, processed food, oil, industrial alcohol, textile, paper, and pharmaceuticals.

Another 10 percent is utilized to produce cattle feed while the little of what’s left is used for human consumption. All of this points towards the fact that if we want the same success in other major crops Pakistan is struggling with, we need to develop their market and demand will take care of the rest.

It is unfathomable to expect an increase in cotton acreage and productivity when the textile sector is suffering from inflating energy crisis, uncompetitive tariffs, lack of skilled labor and the lack of innovation and value addition.

The same is true for oil seed crops where 75 percent of the consumption for edible oil is met with imported palm oil while the informal sector which constitutes desi ghee and domestic mustard oil cover 70-80 percent of the market. We simply lack the conducive infrastructure that can incentivize and promote the growth of oil seed crops. As long as there will be uncertainty on the market end, farmers will remain cautious in following the trend.

Research & Development
While the market demand played its role, the same can also be said about cotton, which has the biggest sector of the economy to back it, but the country is still failing to revive production to 2014 levels, let alone making any new breakthrough. The answer is research. The way the public and private sector has developed and promoted the modern maize hybrid seeds among farming communities, is unforeseen for any other crop, even cotton.

Industry-led efforts and Pakistan’s cooperation with China to introduce hybrids for rice and wheat are still in the early stages, but maize hybrid has already made its mark. Although, hybrid maize accounts only for 40 percent of the maize grown in the country, it contributes far more to the overall production due to high-yielding cultivars.

According to the farmers we talked to, they are often lucky to get nearly 40 maunds per acre with traditional varieties, but hybrid maize can easily guarantee 100 maunds per acre with the right practices.
Riaz Haq said…
....the agriculture sector, which is widely considered the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, saw a 27.5% growth in agri loans, after the agriculture lending financial institutions disbursed Rs 1.222 trillion on account of agricultural financing during the first nine months (July-March) of this fiscal year.

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Habib Bank Limited (HBL), one of the country’s largest banks, said that it intends to establish a subsidiary to promote Pakistan’s agriculture sector.

The development was shared by HBL in its notice to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Wednesday.

“We would like to clarify that the bank (HBL) intends to set up a subsidiary, to promote the agriculture sector of Pakistan, for which a detailed feasibility report has been finalised,” read the notice.

HBL said that it is currently in the process of obtaining all regulatory approvals required for the incorporation of the said subsidiary.

HBL declared earnings in January-March with a profit before tax (PBT) of Rs21.5 billion, 47% higher than the PBT of Rs14.6 billion last year.

The bank’s profit after tax rose by 54% to Rs 13.3 billion with earnings per share improving from Rs 5.78 in Q1’22 to Rs 9.00 in Q1’23.

Meanwhile, the agriculture sector, which is widely considered the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, saw a 27.5% growth in agri loans, after the agriculture lending financial institutions disbursed Rs 1.222 trillion on account of agricultural financing during the first nine months (July-March) of this fiscal year.

According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan released last month, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) allocated the indicative agricultural credit disbursement target of Rs1.819 trillion for FY23, which is 28.2 percent higher than last year’s disbursement of Rs 1.419 trillion.

Further, the outstanding portfolio of agricultural loans has increased by Rs80.2 billion and reached Rs712.9 billion at the end of March 2023 compared to Rs632.7 billion at the end March 2022, witnessing 12.7% growth.

Analysis of the sector-wise disbursement reveals that out of the total disbursement of Rs 1.222 trillion, the farm sector has received Rs 625.1 billion (51.2%) and Rs 596.8 billion (49%) has been disbursed to non-farm sector during July March FY2023.

Riaz Haq said…
Eight months into Pakistan’s financial calendar, the country’s seafood exports are up 23 percent by volume and 12 percent by value year-over-year.

Between July 2022 and February 2023, Pakistan exported 126,270 metric tons (MT) of seafood valued at USD 300.2 million (EUR 275.3 million), up from 100,154 MT valued at USD 267.8 million (EUR 245.5 million) in the same period the year prior. Seafood exports grew nearly 5.8 percent by volume and 5.6 percent by value in February 2023 compared to the month prior, hitting totals of 18,548 MT of exports valued at USD 38.3 million (EUR 35.1 million), according to The Nation.

Exports to China fueled the growth, according to Ghulam Qadir, the commercial counselor in Pakistan’s Embassy in Beijing, speaking with China Economic Net. In 2022, Pakistan exported USD 198.3 million (EUR 181.8 million) in seafood to China, up from USD 139.3 million (EUR 127.7 million) in 2021, when Pakistani exporters struggled with strict import restrictions in China. Pakistan’s exports of frozen fish nearly doubled in value year-over-year in 2022, reaching USD 63.3 million (EUR 58.0 million) in value and 30,637 MT in volume, up from USD 33.4 million (EUR 30.6 million) and 18,987 MT in 2021.

“The increase in Pakistan’s seafood exports to China is largely attributed to the increasing demand for fish of the Chinese people and the growing popularity of Pakistani fish in Chinese restaurants,” Qadir said. “This has led to a successive increase in Pakistani seafood exports every year since 2020.”

The China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement has been a boon to Pakistani seafood exporters, Qadir said, with more seafood species being added to the list of zero-tariff items over the past year.

“Now many Pakistani seafood exporters enjoy zero-traffic duty on seafood items while they are getting more awareness about China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement,” he told Pakistan Today in December 2022.

More Pakistani seafood exporters are interested in exporting to China and are seeking collaborations with Chinese companies that will help them boost production, including sharing of aquaculture technology expertise and best practices, Qadir said. An expansion of the Gwadar fishing port has also helped Pakistan expand its exports to China.

Pakistan exports seafood to around 45 countries …
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan sets up center to boost agricultural growth with $500 million Saudi assistance

The center will work in collaboration with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and China on various projects

It aims to enhance modern agro-farming in Pakistan by utilizing over 9 million hectares of uncultivated state land

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has established a Land Information and Management System, Center of Excellence ((LIMS-CoE) to enhance modern agro-farming by utilizing over 9 million hectares of uncultivated state land, a senior official said on Thursday, adding that Saudi Arabia provided an initial $500 million investment to set up the facility.
Pakistan, an agriculture-based economy contributing 23 percent to the GDP and employing 37.4 percent of the labor force, faces recurrent economic hardships. Currently, the productivity remains below par, with a decreasing cultivation area, a population-production gap, and agricultural imports amounting to $10 billion.
According to the World Food Program, around 36.9 percent of Pakistanis are food insecure, with 18.3 percent experiencing severe food crises. The country faces a shortfall of 4 million metric tons in wheat production against a total demand of 30.8 million metric tons, while cotton production has fallen by 40 percent to around 5 million bales in the last decade.
“As far as the high efficiency irrigation system is concerned, Saudi Arabia has already given us [Pakistan] $500 million,” Maj. Gen. Shahid Nazeer, who heads the LIMS-CoE, told reporters at a briefing on Thursday.
“Aimed at enhancing modern agro-farming utilizing over 9 million hectares of uncultivated waste state land, LISM-CoE has been established under the Director General Strategic Projects of Pakistan Army.”
The state-of-the-art system will revolutionize means to steer agricultural development through real-time information about land, crops, weather, water resource and pest-handling under one roof, according to the official.
The center will work in collaboration with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and China on various agri projects to enhance Pakistan’s exports.
“In the next 3-4 days, a very high-powered Saudi delegation is coming to Pakistan to explore this kind of investment in four major sectors including agriculture, mines and minerals, information technology (IT) and defense production,” he said, adding this would be done under the umbrella of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) that was recently established to revive the Pakistani economy.
Nazeer said the LIMS-CoE was aimed at ensuring food security and optimizing agricultural production in Pakistan through innovative technologies and precise, sustainable agricultural practices based on agro-ecological potential of the land, while ensuring the well-being of rural communities and environment preservation.
“The main objectives of the center included consolidation and reclamation of uncultivated waste land, optimal decision; what and where to grow, development of a master plan for modern farming, implementation of state-of-the-art agriculture management practices, practicing agro-intelligence for digital and precision agriculture, better utilization of technology to enhance yield and effective decision support system,” he explained.
The LIMS-CoE recently initiated modern agri-farming projects in Punjab, according to the official. Efforts were being made to use certified hybrid seeds with concurrent development involving joint ventures with multi-national companies, which could pay rich dividends. In agriculture and gardening, a hybrid seed is produced by deliberately cross-pollinating plants that are genetically diverse.
“Hybrid seed gives 30-50 percent more yield, world is using 80 percent hybrid seed, while Pakistan currently uses only 8 percent of hybrid seed,” he added.
Riaz Haq said…
The rise in global cotton production is led by the US, Pakistan, and India, with a drop in China's output due to cooler weather conditions.

Global cotton production in FY24 is forecast to reach a four-year high of 116.7 million bales, up slightly from the previous year, as per USDA.
The rise is led by the US, Pakistan, and India, with a drop in China's output due to cooler weather conditions.
Australia's FY24 cotton production is projected at 5.8 million bales, 300,000 bales above FY23.

World cotton production is projected to reach a four-year high of 116.7 million bales in 2023-24 (FY24), according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The expected growth in production represents a slight increase of 400,000 bales from the previous year.
The increase is predominantly driven by the major cotton-producing countries, with the US and Pakistan leading the charge. Both countries are projected to see a significant rise in production, each adding 2 million bales to the global yield. India is also expected to contribute to the surge, albeit on a lesser scale, with an additional half a million bales.

However, these gains will be partially offset by a reduction in output from China, the world's leading cotton producer. The Chinese crop is anticipated to shrink by 3.7 million bales in the 2023-24 season due to cooler than normal temperatures early in the growing season in China's Xinjiang region, which could limit yield potential. This decrease means China's contribution to global cotton production is expected to shrink from 26 per cent in 2022-23 to 23 per cent in 2023-24, as per USDA’s Cotton and Wool Outlook: June 2023 report.

Meanwhile, India is set to buck this trend with a projected 2-per cent increase in cotton production from the 2022-23 crop. This rise comes despite an expected reduction in harvested area, with alternative crops predicted to reduce cotton acreage to 12.4 million hectares. A rebound in yield is set to offset this, with the national yield forecast at 448 kg per hectare, the highest in three years. India's share in global cotton production is set to remain steady at approximately 22 per cent.

Outside of the US, other countries including Brazil, Pakistan, and Australia are also projected to see an increase in cotton production. Brazil's output is expected to hit 13.25 million bales, slightly above the 2022-23 figure and second only to 2019-20's record of nearly 13.8 million bales.

Pakistan's cotton production is set to rebound from the nearly four-decade low of 3.9 million bales recorded in 2022-23 due to flood damage. The forecast production of 5.9 million bales for 2023-24 will account for 5 per cent of global production.

Lastly, Australia's 2023-24 cotton production is projected at 5.8 million bales, 300,000 bales above 2022-23 and close to 2021-22’s record of 5.85 million bales, supported by above-average reservoir levels.

Riaz Haq said…
Rice exports earn Pakistan $2.1bn in tumultuous FY23

Despite significant production losses and other major challenges, Pakistan exported a total of 3.717 million tonnes of rice to earn $2.149 billion in FY23.

The rice sector showed strong resilience and immense resistance despite head and tail winds like devastating floods that wiped out one-third of Sindh’s crop, wavering rupee movement, tough competition from India, high freight charges as well as unavailability of vessels during the first six months of 2022-23.

The export of basmati varieties of rice stood at 595,120 tonnes fetching $650,423 at an average per tonne (APT) rate of $1,092. Coarse or non-basmati varieties’ export touched 3.122 million tonnes, fetching $1.498bn at an APT rate of $480.

In the preceding year, the country fetched $2.5bn by making export shipments of 4.8m tonnes.

Exports have been mainly hit by a drop in production, as against 9.1 million tonnes output during 2021-22, the country could harvest around 6 million tonnes of rice in FY23, a fall of over 34pc.

Floods and torrential rains had damaged paddy crops, particularly in Sindh and south Punjab districts and the overall crop losses had been estimated at around 20pc.

At least 35pc of the standing rice crop had been damaged in Sindh and 29pc in south Punjab while other rice-growing areas were partially hit by excessive heatwaves which affected the yields and the losses were reflected in the exports.

Hamid Malik, an expert on the rice trade, told Dawn that India had manipulated prices to facilitate its exporters by offering subsidies to farmers.

“This subsidy was in fact for the exporters and not the farming community as Indian rice export rates remained $60 to $70 lower than that of Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam in the international markets throughout the year.”

Higher basmati rates in the local market also affected its exports as stockists entered the local market and made their hey through speculative trade.

Samiullah Naeem, a former chairman of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP), says that basmati rice was available in the market at Rs8,500 per 40kg at the beginning of the crop season but within a couple of months the rate crossed even Rs12,000 per 40kg making it difficult for the exporters to fulfil their export commitments.

He says that speculative traders were the major beneficiaries of the price hike though rice growers and millers also benefited from it to some extent.

The export prospects for the current fiscal year seem to be promising as quotations for 25pc broken rice are being reported at $535 per tonne to their highest level since August 2008. The main push behind the rate hike is stated to be a ban by India on the export of its coarse rice varieties.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan aims to export 5 million tonnes of rice amid India ban

The REAP chief was optimistic about Pakistan achieving its goal of 5 million tonnes of rice worth $3 billion in the current fiscal year, which began in July.


"Pakistan expected a bumper rice crop this year," REAP chief says.
Country exported 3.7m tonnes rice valued at $2.14b last fiscal year.
This year, Kewlani says, Pakistan can export 5m tonnes of rice.

KARACHI: Pakistan's rice exports are projected to rise in the current fiscal year due to the Indian ban on rice exports and the exploration of new markets in Russia and Mexico, the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) said, according to The News.

REAP Chairman Chela Ram Kewlani said Pakistan exported 3.7 million tonnes of rice valued at $2.14 billion in the previous fiscal year, despite facing various challenges.

"Despite devastating floods, crop shortage and many other challenges, we exported 3.7 million tonnes amounting to $2.14 billion," he said.

The REAP chief was optimistic about Pakistan achieving its goal of 5 million tonnes of rice worth $3 billion in the current fiscal year, which began in July.

"India's ban on rice exports will have significant impacts on global rice trade dynamics. This will give a good opportunity for Pakistan to fill the supply gap and expand its market share in major rice-buying countries."

India, the world's biggest rice exporter, banned exports of non-basmati rice last month to ensure domestic supplies amid rising food inflation. Kewlani said Pakistan could benefit from higher export volumes and increased revenues as a result of the ban.

"Overall, the ban may create a favorable trade environment for Pakistan's rice exports." Industry officials said Pakistan's basmati rice prices soared to $500 per tonnes in the international market, up almost $100 from a month ago, as demand surged after the export ban by India.

Pakistani rice is enjoying a premium for its superior quality and could rise further to $600 per tonnes in the coming months, one trader said. "Pakistan has a golden opportunity to boost its rice exports and earn valuable foreign exchange as India has banned its rice exports due to drought." he said.

Pakistan is the world's fourth-largest rice exporter after India, Thailand, and Vietnam. Kewlani said Pakistani non-basmati rice, which was selling at $450 per tonnes before the ban, had also jumped to $500 per tonnes as buyers shifted to alternative sources.

He also said that Russia had registered 15 more Pakistani companies to export rice to the country and 12 more were in the process of registration. "This opportunity will also be beneficial for generation of extra foreign exchange for our country, as Russia is a big and potential market for Pakistani rice."

Kewlani added that a recent visit by Mexican technical experts had gone well and they were satisfied with the compliance of standard operating procedures by Pakistani rice exporters. He hoped that Mexico would soon lift a ban on Pakistani rice and resume imports.

He said Pakistan expected a bumper rice crop this year, with an annual output of around 9 million tonnes. "We hope that we can easily achieve our target of 5 million tonnes worth $3 billion this year."
Riaz Haq said…
In Pakistan, flood damage meant 2022/23 cane sugar production reduced to 7.2 mln tonnes compared to 8.6 mln tonnes in 21/22. The area under cane remains consistent with last season, but reduced fertilisers prices could push 23/24 sugar production to 7.8 mln tonnes.,production%20to%207.8%20mln%20tonnes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prospects for the 2023-24 rice crop remain good, and the production forecast is unchanged. Weather during seeding and transplanting in May through June was optimum in the rice-growing areas. Rainfall was good, which reduced the need for irrigation water. The 9-million-tonne forecast, if realized, will be the second-largest crop ever, slightly less than the record 9.3-million-tonne crop in 2021-22.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s potato production soared to 7.9m tonnes in Fiscal Year 2022 from 5.8m tonnes in FY 2021, up by 35% as floods did not hit Punjab which is a hub of potato production, Pakistan Today! cited data reveals.

There is a gradual increase in potato production in this country. During 2020, potato production was estimated to be 4.55m tons utilizing the cultivated area of 234,400 hectares. However, in the 2021- 2022 season, according to the Ministry of National Food Security and Research Statistics (MNFS&R), potato production jumped to 7.74m tons, which is an increase of almost 50% as compared to the last year.

Pakistan potato is exported mainly to CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries like Russia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, UAE, Oman, the entire gulf, and Singapore, Malaysia in the Far East.

In Pakistan, potato is the fourth most important crop after wheat, rice, and corn. It is one of the four major staples that significantly contribute to national domestic consumption and food needs.

Fresh potato production for the 2022-2023 Marketing Year (September to August) is forecast at 93m metric tons (MMT), a slight decrease from the estimated 95 MMT produced in MY 2021-2022 owing to reduced acreage. According to industry sources, the potato planting area decreased in the northern single crop zone, especially in northeast China, due to government incentives and price supports intended to boost soybean production.

Low prices at the start of the harvest season in the Southwestern, Central, and Winter crop zones, which account for half of China’s fresh potato production, also contributed to the reduction in planted area for MY 2022/23. According to China’s 2022 Agricultural Outlook Report on Potatoes, the average wholesale price of fresh potatoes in 2021 was USD0.15/lb., a 12.7% decline from 2020, and the lowest level in six years.

Riaz Haq said…
#Arab Gulf Nations (#SaudiArabia, #Qatar, #UAE) Poised to Invest Billions in #Pakistan.
#Islamabad’s powerful #military has sought to ease the path for oil-rich monarchies to acquire stakes in #mining (#copper, #gold) & #energy (#refinery) via @WSJ

The Saudis are in talks to buy into a copper mine being developed at a cost of $7 billion by Canada’s Barrick Gold in western Pakistan, according to people familiar with the project. Separately, negotiations are at an advanced stage to set up a Saudi oil refinery in Pakistan, which could cost up to $14 billion, according to Islamabad and Gulf officials.

For the Gulf states, the deals represent a shift from when they provided loans or grants to poorer countries in the region, such as Pakistan or Egypt, to a new focus on acquiring assets for their sovereign-wealth funds.

Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 240 million, has been racked by an economic crisis and political instability. It reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund in June on another bailout.

Its powerful military, which has clamped down on political freedoms in recent months, is seeking to ease the path for investment by streamlining the deal-making process for Gulf investors, who had complained about red tape and political indecision in the past.

Mining, energy infrastructure, farmland and privatizations of Pakistani government businesses could all be part of the planned selloff to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which are increasingly competing for assets in struggling political allies.

This summer, Islamabad established the Special Investment Facilitation Council, which includes the army chief, to smooth the bureaucratic path for Gulf investment.

“Pakistan is strategically located, at the junction of the engines of growth in Asia, between south Asia, central Asia, China and the Middle East,” said Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan’s departing planning minister, who also heads the executive committee of the Special Investment Facilitation Council. “There is a very big opportunity for investors to come here, as long as we can give them assurance that there will be continuity of policy for their investment.”

The Saudi deputy mining and foreign ministers visited Islamabad this month for talks about the investment initiative.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Wednesday that Parliament would dissolve, ahead of elections that are likely to be delayed into next year. The installment of a nonpolitical caretaker government in Islamabad in the next few days, to oversee the period up to the next election, is expected to kick-start the deals. New powers have been given to the caretaker administration, which will likely be under even greater influence of the military, to enable it to make major economic decisions.

The army is Pakistan’s dominant institution, a permanent power in a country where no prime minister has completed a term in office. The Gulf has long dealt directly with Pakistan’s army, the sixth largest in the world, which has provided a contingent of troops to Saudi Arabia for decades. The first overseas trip for Pakistan’s current army chief, Gen. Asim Munir, was to Saudi Arabia, where he met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in January.

A splurge in Pakistan is expected to come from government-owned entities in the Gulf, which in recent years have invested in Egypt, a country also in the midst of an asset sale, as well as Sudan, Ethiopia and elsewhere in the Horn of Africa.

“For the Gulf, Pakistan and Egypt are a regional security priority,” said Karen E. Young, a researcher at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. “They absolutely cannot afford to see a failed state in Egypt or Pakistan.”
Riaz Haq said…
#Arab Gulf Nations (#SaudiArabia, #Qatar, #UAE) Poised to Invest Billions in #Pakistan.
#Islamabad’s powerful #military has sought to ease the path for oil-rich monarchies to acquire stakes in #mining (#copper, #gold) & #energy (#refinery) via @WSJ

Egypt and Pakistan offer big populations, large tracts of arable land and huge armies, all attributes lacking in the Gulf, said Faisal Aftab, founder of Pakistan-based Zayn Venture Capital.

“This is a last chance for Pakistan,” said Aftab. “It needs to leverage in investment.”

Iqbal, the planning minister, said Pakistan was hoping for deals worth around $25 billion, including in solar energy and information technology. Pakistan’s defense industries are also open for investment, and the country is prepared to offer uncultivated government land on long leases for agriculture.

The Gulf nations haven’t put figures in recent weeks on how much they might spend. In January this year, the Saudis said they were willing to invest $10 billion, after Pakistan’s army chief visited.

Economic crises in Egypt and Pakistan, which have been buffeted by higher fuel and food prices from the Russia-Ukraine war and seen their currencies plummet, mean that assets are potentially available on the cheap. But Riyadh has still balked at prices in Egypt, meaning fewer deals than anticipated have materialized so far. Pakistan will also have to manage competition between Gulf nations for assets, already being felt, especially between Saudi Arabia and U.A.E., which have strained relations.

Among the first contracts likely to attract interest, from both U.A.E. and Qatar, is a tender announced this week, by open bidding, to run terminal services at Islamabad airport. The two Gulf countries fiercely competed for the contract to run Kabul airport in Pakistan’s neighbor Afghanistan, a contest won last year by the U.A.E. Islamabad is also looking for investors to take on its national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines.

Musadik Malik, Pakistan’s departing petroleum minister, said that a deal for a Saudi refinery was “very close.” Saudi Aramco, the company named by Pakistani officials as its partner for the project, declined to comment. The refinery would likely be located at Gwadar, the port developed by China on the Arabian Sea, and the centerpiece of Beijing’s investment program in ally Pakistan. Riyadh is moving closer to Beijing, at the expense of its relationship with Washington.

Officials from both sides are aiming for a final deal on the refinery—which would be the country’s biggest—by the end of this year, with construction to begin early in 2024.

Malik said that he anticipated a series of mining deals that would be much bigger in value than the refinery contract.

“We have enormous untapped resources just sitting there,” he said.

The obvious prize is copper, a metal needed in the transition to cleaner energy. One of the world’s biggest new copper mines is expected to begin production in 2028. The Reko Diq mine is a joint venture between Barrick Gold and the government of Pakistan, in a remote part of the country hit by two violent insurgencies.

Talks are under way for the Saudis to buy into the Reko Diq mine. The Saudi sovereign-wealth fund, Public Investment Fund, would team up with Saudi mining company Ma’aden, to acquire part of the 50% stake in the mine owned by Pakistan, according to people involved. In addition, the Saudis could be given exploration rights in other parts of the copper-rich area.
Riaz Haq said…
#Arab Gulf Nations (#SaudiArabia, #Qatar, #UAE) Poised to Invest Billions in #Pakistan.
#Islamabad’s powerful #military has sought to ease the path for oil-rich monarchies to acquire stakes in #mining (#copper, #gold) & #energy (#refinery) via @WSJ

Riyadh has ambitions to turn Ma’aden into a global company, but it is wary of the security risks at the Pakistani mine. In July, Saudi Arabia said it would buy a $2.5 billion stake in Brazilian mining company Vale, also through the same fund and Ma’aden.

For Islamabad, there are strategic advantages to tying Saudi Arabia in, while Barrick has joined with Saudi Arabia elsewhere too. Barrick and Ma’aden didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Public Investment Fund declined to comment.

The Saudis are the most interested in the mining opportunities, say officials and experts, while the U.A.E. is looking most keenly at agriculture, clean energy and logistics.

Just ahead of the launch of the Gulf initiative, the U.A.E. swooped in early, acquiring a 50-year lease in June to operate part of the container terminal at Karachi port. The financial terms weren’t disclosed for the deal, which was awarded without an open bidding process. Many coming transactions are also not expected to involve competitive bidding, Pakistani officials say. That approach could open the divestments up to domestic controversy.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan expects Middle Eastern investment following inaugural food and agriculture exhibition

A top Pakistani official expressed confidence on Thursday the country would get increased investment from the Middle East after inaugurating the first International Food and Agriculture Exhibition in Karachi to display the export potential of Pakistan’s agriculture sector.

Organized by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), the three-day exhibition was launched by the governor of Sindh province, Kamran Tessori, at the Karachi Expo Center. The event has brought together over 200 exhibitors who have put a wide range of agriproducts and technologies on show for foreign delegates from 55 countries.

Addressing the media after the inauguration ceremony, Tessori mentioned a recent agreement signed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to develop the Karachi port.

“You will see in the coming days that all the gulf states will come to Pakistan and sign agreements like the UAE,” Tessori said, adding: “In the future, these agreements will be signed by governments themselves.”

UAE’s Abu Dhabi Ports signed a 50-year concession agreement with the Karachi Port Trust earlier this year to develop a bulk and general cargo terminal in the southern port city.

According to details, Pakistan is likely to see an estimated investment of $220 million over a period of 10 years under the project.

The governor said the country’s leadership had become serious about economic development for the first time in its history.

“For the first time in 75 years, the development of Pakistan’s economy has been taken seriously and there will not be any obstruction in the way,” he said.

He maintained that he was confident the country’s exports would increase at least three times by the coming year.

Tessori said over 600 foreign delegates were attending the exhibition which reflected that investor confidence had been restored in Pakistan.

Speaking to Arab News, Sayed Mohey, a commercial manager at Jeddah-based Jahaf Group that deals with fruits and vegetables, said he was impressed by Pakistan’s export potential.

“This is my first visit to the county,” he said. “As far as the business is concerned, there is lot of potential for food stuff like fruits, vegetables, and fisheries.”

He maintained that Pakistan was ideally placed to serve the markets in gulf countries and Saudi Arabia. Mohey specifically mentioned Pakistani mangoes and citrus fruits, calling them the best in the world and saying they were suitable for consumers in the Middle East.

A Nigerian delegation also said they were visiting Pakistan while looking for the good quality food products.

“Most of the Nigerian delegates who are here today actually saw what they want and they are buying it and taking it home,” Unegbu Alexander Nwachukwu, trade and development officer at the High Commission of Pakistan in Nigeria, told Arab News.

A large number of Chinese were also present at the exhibition and looking for products either to import or export from Pakistan.

Alan Xi, an agriculture project manager at the China Machinery Engineering Corporation, said Pakistan’s agriculture sector had great potential and his company was ready to invest in the country.

“Pakistan is an agricultural country and has a big potential in the supply chain and even value-added parts,” he told Arab News. “So, as a company, we are also ready for investing in the supply chain and value addition.”

“In the future, we will not only want to supply some advanced technology to Pakistan but also like to have our own manufacturers [here],” he continued. “The manufacturer unit is from China, but made in Pakistan.”

Pakistani exporter also expressed optimism the event would help boost the country’s agriculture product exports from the country.

Riaz Haq said…
Chinese red chilli contract farming opens vistas for development in Pakistan’s agri sector | Pakistan Today

“We turn them three to four times a day so that they get dry after being soaked in the summer sun, they get fully ripe and dry in five weeks, and when we hear the sound of dried seeds rattling inside the pod, we pack them in bags and put them in storage, Bibi told Xinhuain the remote village of Jamber.

This year, farmers and labourers are happy to get a bumper harvest of Chinese red chillies and expect to get good profits as the yield is double that of other varieties of pepper available in Pakistan.

The project is a part of a large-scale agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and China in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is currently underway after the success of the first phase focusing on infrastructure and power projects.

Launched in 2013, CPEC is a corridor linking Gwadar Port with Kashgar in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and is touted as a game changer for Pakistan by local experts.

Advancing cooperation in the agricultural sector, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) and Sichuan Litong Food Group have established a company and carried out a red chilli contract farming project in 2021, with model farms across Punjab.

In talks with Xinhua, Xi Jianlong, the Chinese manager from CMEC at Pakistan-China red chilli contract farming, said that the Chinese variety is compatible with local soil and the overall hot climate of Punjab province conduces to the growth and nourishing of the Chinese chilli variety.

He added that the cooperation benefits numerous individuals, including landowners, farmers, and labourers.

“Last year, we had created more than 2,000 jobs in Pakistan and generated an output value of approximately $770,000,” he said, adding that when the crop is harvested and dried, they directly buy it from the farmer, without involving any middlemen.

He further said that this year, they planted chilli on about 750 acres of land from where about 1,500 tons of chilli were harvested, and during the process of cultivation to harvest, the Chinese company not only transferred knowledge and technology to locals but also utilized the rural labour force.

Talking to Xinhua, Muhammad Ammar Asghar, an agronomist working with the CMEC, said that most of the farmers hired by the landowners are uneducated. In order to help the landowner get a high yield, the Chinese company provided complete assistance and guidance to the farmers through agronomists and agriculture technicians.

Riaz Haq said…
Annual milk production during 2021/2022 was estimated approximately 65.7 million tonnes, giving Pakistan a place in the list of world's top 5 milk producing countries. Dairy farming in Pakistan is fragmented and practiced on various scales both in rural and peri-urban areas mainly by private sector.

Dairy sector in Pakistan plays a pivotal role in the national economy and its value is more than the
combined value of major cash-crops i.e. wheat and cotton. Annual milk production during 2021/2022 was
estimated approximately 65.7 million tonnes, giving Pakistan a place in the list of world’s top 5 milk
producing countries. Dairy farming in Pakistan is fragmented and practiced on various scales both in rural
and peri-urban areas mainly by private sector. However, this industry is facing challenges (nutrition,
healthcare, breeding, government support and public health) that threaten its sustainability and
livelihoods of millions of people involved in the sector
Riaz Haq said…
Google Gen AI on Agtech in Pakistan:

Pakistan is one of the world's largest producers and suppliers of food and crops. The country's agriculture sector consists of four subsectors:
Food and fiber crops
Horticulture and orchards
Livestock and dairy
Fisheries and forestry
Pakistan's major crops include wheat, cotton, rice, sugarcane, and maize. These crops contribute around 4.9% to the country's total GDP.
Some of the top agriculture startups in Pakistan include: Pak Agri Market, ZD&K Farms, Radical Growth, Mohalla, Khalis Fertilizers.
Some of the top agritech startups in Pakistan include:
Tazah Technologies
Agriculture Republic Pakistan
Crop2X Private Limited
Fowrry Technologies Private Limited
Startups in Pakistan are developing IoT solutions for smart irrigation, such as solar-powered tube wells, or for animal data, such as Cowlar, a solar-powered fitbit for cows.
Riaz Haq said…
Why aren’t farmers using new tech?
Kai Ryssdal and Sofia Terenzio
Aug 30, 2023

Agtech, short for agriculture technology, is a growing industry that’s using data tools and software to help farmers improve yields and use fewer resources.

With population growth increasing the global demand for food and climate change hurting crop yields, a swift adoption of agtech may be needed now more than ever. Yet, farmers are hesitant about embracing these new technologies.

What’s in the way of farmers quickly adopting agtech, and how can the industry get more farmers on board?

“Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal talked to reporter Belle Lin from the Wall Street Journal about her recent article on why so few farmers are using agtech. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kai Ryssdal: Could we have a quick primer, please? What is agtech?

Belle Lin: Absolutely. Agriculture technology, agtech is really the set of tools — both hardware and software — that enables farmers growers to really get the most out of their farming resources and inputs and up boosting their yields. So that’s really the goal of this kind of current wave of farm technology. But it’s really the kind of larger ecosystem software, hardware, robotics, tractors autonomous maybe that allow farmers to kind of do their work with greater efficiency.

Ryssdal: So two things that you said there one yield and current wave, we’ll get to the yield in a minute. But I want to talk about current wave, because as you pointed out, in this piece, it’s been a decade-ish, that that sort of the bigger picture, agtech thing has been a thing.

Lin: That’s right. So it’s about a decade since data analytics and what’s sometimes known as Big Data came around. So, these massive amounts of data that oftentimes companies collect, can also be collected on Americans farms, where some of the environments where the richest data is to be collected. You can collect it on almost every single specific piece of land on the soil itself on the seeds that are planted, where they’re planted down to the type of pesticide that is applied to a single weed where that weed is located. So you can understand, you know, how specific these things can get. And that’s related to this idea of precision agriculture, where all these like very specific inputs tailored to a specific farm, help a farmer to end up doing their work in a way that’s more informed by that data, and boosts their yields with fewer resources.

Ryssdal: Right, so to that yield thing, that’s the name of this whole game — it’s getting more stuff out of the ground per acre farmed than they did before. And there’s an amazing statistic in here it says, according to the Department of Agriculture in 2017, farmers using digital soil maps, which are part of this technology produced about 49% higher winter wheat yields than farmers who didn’t. Again, that’s USDA data. And yet, the thrust of this piece is that farmers almost have too much data and kind of know what to do with it.

Lin: Yeah, absolutely. So not only is there this kind of challenge of getting farmers to use these tools, but once they’ve used them, they face this kind of data paralysis, which is how a farmer described this to me, he’s farming corn and soybean. He feels like he’s collecting so much data on all these different parts of his farm, that he doesn’t know what to do with it. And so that’s a huge problem as well across sectors where, you know, big data, data analytics has promised to kind of deliver all these efficiencies and productivity gains. But oftentimes, what consumers and these farmers feel is that they don’t have that background to say, “OK, now that I know the moisture levels of all my soil, this is what I should do,” right.
Riaz Haq said…
Why aren’t farmers using new tech?
Kai Ryssdal and Sofia Terenzio
Aug 30, 2023

Lin: Yeah, absolutely. So not only is there this kind of challenge of getting farmers to use these tools, but once they’ve used them, they face this kind of data paralysis, which is how a farmer described this to me, he’s farming corn and soybean. He feels like he’s collecting so much data on all these different parts of his farm, that he doesn’t know what to do with it. And so that’s a huge problem as well across sectors where, you know, big data, data analytics has promised to kind of deliver all these efficiencies and productivity gains. But oftentimes, what consumers and these farmers feel is that they don’t have that background to say, “OK, now that I know the moisture levels of all my soil, this is what I should do,” right.

Ryssdal: I do not want to sound by any means ageist here, and apologies to the young farmers out there. But the average age of a farmer in this economy right now, as you point out is like 58.

Lin: Yeah, and that’s a big problem. Those folks are not as accustomed to utilizing technology to help inform their decisions.

Ryssdal: This is perhaps a little bit of field. But there’s an infrastructure part of this as well, right, in that a lot of almost all of this probably counts on connectivity and broadband. And I imagine if you’re out in in wherever you are on the Great Plains connectivity might be bad, you might not have service.

Lin: Yeah, that’s a great point. All of what we’re talking about in terms of agtech relies on having that internet connection, reliable way of streaming the data that you collect. And so connectivity is a major problem on farms that are far flung or not as connected to the internet speeds that people in cities are used to. And so one of the problems that farmers run into is that when they’re driving their equipment over a hill, for instance, you might have connectivity and one side of the hill, but you don’t on the other.

Ryssdal: Not to put a depressing punctuation mark on this conversation, but there are — I honestly can’t remember if it’s 8 or 9 billion people on this planet now — but there are going to be more in the future. And we have to feed them all. And this is part of the way we’re going to do it and adjust to climate change too, by the way.

Lin: Yeah, theoretically, farmers could boost their yields, and that would generate more food to feed the world’s growing and hungry population, and also in a way that they’re using fewer resources. So that’s the promise of it all, but right now it’s falling a bit short.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Onion Industry Outlook 2022 - 2026,with%202.11%20million%20metric%20tons.

In 2021, Pakistan's onion consumption and production were estimated at almost 2 million metric tons. This marks an increase of 1% from 2017. Bangladesh was the leading consumer of onions in 2021, accounting for 1.87 million metric tons. India, the United States and Egypt ranked second, third and fourth, respectively.

On the production side, Pakistan was the sixth-largest onion producer in 2021, with an estimated 2.25 million metric tons. Iran was the leading producer, with 2.11 million metric tons. India, the United States and Egypt ranked second, third and fourth, respectively.
Riaz Haq said…

Tomato is an important crop in Pakistan – every year, the country produces 4.2 million tonnes of tomatoes. Growing them can be labour intensive. But research shows that tomato production has the potential to generate good incomes for rural smallholders. This includes incomes for women farmers. In Pakistan, women account for over 60% of active agricultural labour force. They mainly support crop cultivation, which involves activities such as seed preparation, sowing and weeding.
Riaz Haq said…
Drought and floods wipe out farms in Asia’s chilli capital | Climate Crisis News | Al Jazeera

Pakistan is ranked fourth in the world for chilli production, with 150,000 acres (60,700 hectares) of farms producing 143,000 tonnes annually. Agriculture forms the backbone of Pakistan’s economy, leaving it vulnerable to climate change.



The total cropped area of the country reported for the year 2019, was 22.1 million ha. Out of this 65.8% was under food crops, 24.2% under cash crops, 6.7% under pulses and 3.3% under edible oilseeds. Vegetables constitute an integral component of the cropping pattern but the increasing pressure on food and cash crops has limited the area under vegetables to about 0.62 million ha, which is 3.1% of the total cropped area. Vegetables fit well in most farming systems due to shorter maturity period.

Vegetable crops are very important due to their higher yield potential, higher return and high nutritional value and suitability for small land holding farmers. Vegetables provide proteins, minerals and vitamins required for human nutrition. In Pakistan, the daily per capita intake is low, being about 100 grams compared to the recommended consumption of about 285 grams. In view of population increase, land degradation and water scarcity, there is a need to substantially increase vegetable production in the years to come and to attain self-sufficiency as well as to increase the exportable surplus. However, in the past, development efforts in agriculture sector were primarily focused on production and development of cereal crops; in spite of the fact the vegetables provide maximum output per unit area.
Riaz Haq said…
From Google Gen AI:

Pakistan produced 83,335 tons of spinach in 2021. This is a very low amount compared to the largest spinach producing countries, which include China, Turkey, United States, Japan, and Indonesia.
In Pakistan, spinach is ready for the first cutting 30 days after sowing. The average yield is 125 qtl/acre. The two varieties of spinach in Pakistan are Local Sindhi and prickly heat.
In 2021, Pakistan's vegetable production was 7.07 million tonnes. This is an increase from 1.43 million tonnes in 1972.
Riaz Haq said…
From Google Gen AI:

Pakistan's fruit production increased from 9.48 million metric tons to 11.13 million metric tons between 2018 and 2021.
In 2021, Pakistan produced 2.33 million tonnes of citrus fruits, which is an average annual growth rate of 3.95%.
Pakistan also produced 1.6 million tons of oranges, 593 thousand tons of tangerines, 1,601 thousand tons of tomatoes, and 545 thousand tons of apples.
Pakistan is a major producer of fruits and vegetables, and produces about 29 types of fruits and 33 types of vegetables. However, most of the production is consumed in domestic markets.
Pakistan earned $730 million by exporting 1.165 million tons of fruits and vegetables in a year.
The global production of major tropical fruits was estimated to be 92.2 million tons in 2017. Mango production ranked highest at 46 million tons.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan aims to boost oilseed cultivation

The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) has been instrumental in developing new rapeseed varieties, which have been adopted in some northern regions of China. The success of these efforts has enabled China to rotate rapeseed(Canola) crops with staple crops like rice and wheat, maximising land utilisation.

Pakistan is now tapping into this experience by collaborating with Chinese company Wuhan Qingfa-Hesheng and Pakistani firm Evyol Group. Together, they are providing high-quality hybrid rapeseeds (Canola) to Pakistani farmers. Ghazanfar Ali, head of marketing at Evyol Group, emphasised the suitability of their variety for local climate conditions. “It took us 10 years to produce a variety that is compatible with the local climate, produces a good yield and is good for human health,” he said, noting that farmers can achieve 1.5 tonnes of yield from 2 acres of land, surpassing current varieties available in Pakistan by over 10%.

Zhou Xusheng, director of the international business department at Wuhan Qingfa-Hesheng Seed company, outlined their ambitions. “This year we sold 11 tonnes of seeds across Pakistan, which will be cultivated on 20,000 acres, and our target for next year is 100 tonnes.” He also highlighted their intention to purchase the canola harvest from certain farmers and supply it to edible oil factories, thereby promoting the benefits of locally-produced oil.

Riaz Haq said…
From Google Generative AI:

Wheat is Pakistan's most important crop, accounting for 70% of production and 37.1% of the crop area. It's a staple food crop that's critical to millions of households.
Pakistan has released 31 wheat varieties since 2021 to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat production. One leading Pakistani seed company developed a hybrid wheat seed that's 40% higher per acre than conventional varieties.
Other high-yield crops in Pakistan include:
Tarnab Rehbar and Tarnab Gandum-1
These zinc-enriched varieties contain 40% more zinc than other varieties grown in Pakistan. They also have farmer-preferred traits like high yield and resistance to rust diseases.

This new Bt. cotton variety has high yield potential and is best suited for wheat-cotton cropping patterns. It yielded significantly compared with standard varieties.
Other major crops in Pakistan include: Cotton, Rice, Sugarcane, Maize.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s potato production soared to 7.937 million tonnes in FY22 from 5.873 million tonnes in FY21, up 35 percent as the devastating floods left Punjab, the potato hub, mostly unscathed.

Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) President Moazzam Ghurki during a think tank session held at PCJCCI Secretariat on Wednesday said Pakistan could be among the largest exporters of potato and though the country was self-sufficient in the food item, it imported 20,000 tonnes of potato seeds every year.

He suggested focusing on increasing the supply of local seeds, which could help save the precious foreign exchange reserves, which was spent on purchasing seeds from the international market, while at the same time increase the income of farmers.

If Pakistan succeeds in large-scale production of local high-quality potatoes, it could also export these edible stems to other countries, particularly in the Gulf region.

PCJCCI president added that most of the potato seeds in Pakistan had high dependence on imports, which raised the initial cost of potato production.

“About 35-40 percent of the cost goes to seeds, and there is a dire need to make it cost-effective for the low-income farmers,” Ghurki said. He urged to promote a tissue-culture laboratory for the production of affordable high-quality seeds within the country on a large scale to reduce dependence on foreign seeds.

PCJCCI Senior Vice President Fang Yulong said that Pakistani and Chinese enterprises have been working tirelessly to find opportunities for cooperation in this sector. In addition to seed production, related potato by-products are also welcomed by Chinese investors. Besides this, mechanised harvesting, pest control are also full of opportunities for investment.

“To build Pakistan’s largest potato tissue culture lab, various Chinese agricultural enterprises are involved for its practical implementation,” he added. “The most common potato diseases in Pakistan include early blight, stem rot and so on.

In contrast, Chinese varieties are more resistant to pests and diseases with higher yields, which is exactly what Pakistan needs to learn to improve our own potato germplasm,” Yulong said.

PCJCCI Vice President Hamza Khalid said, “We must ensure localised production of high-quality seeds, and at the same time improve planting technology and mechanisation level. Then we might be able to export potatoes to other countries. We have a huge potential for countries that have smaller land areas or don’t produce much of their own potatoes.”
Riaz Haq said…
Cotton crop expected to grow by more than twice - Profit by Pakistan Today

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s agricultural sector is gearing up for a transformative year with an anticipated 126.6% surge in cotton production. The revelation came to light during the High-Powered Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA)’s meeting convened to assess the agricultural landscape for the upcoming Rabi Season (2023-24).

As per details, the meeting held on October 11, at Pak Secretariat, Islamabad, was presided over by Prof. Dr. Kauser Abdullah Malik, the Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research.

The projections presented in the meeting indicate that the cotton production for the 2023-24 season is expected to reach a staggering 11.5 million bales, harvested from an extensive area covering 2.4 million hectares. This marks an increase of 126.6% over the previous season and showcases Pakistan’s ability to achieve substantial growth in its agricultural output, specifically in the cotton sector.

During the meeting, the FCA meticulously reviewed the performance of the Kharif Crops (2023-24) and laid out a detailed Production Plan for the upcoming Rabi Crops (2023-24). The discussions also delved into the critical issue of input availability for Rabi Crops, ensuring a holistic approach to agricultural planning and management.

Apart from the remarkable cotton forecasts, the committee revealed the provisional estimates for various other crops. Rice production for the 2023-24 season is expected to reach 8.64 million tons, cultivated across 3.35 million hectares, marking an increase of 12.7% in area and a remarkable 18% rise in production compared to the previous year.

Mung bean production is estimated at 143.6 thousand tons across 198 thousand hectares, showing a slight decrease in area but a commendable 6.4% increase in production. Mash production is anticipated to be 5.28 thousand tons across 7.36 thousand hectares, representing an increase of 12.95% in area and an impressive 24.65% growth in production. Furthermore, chili’s production is estimated at 1.36 thousand tons from 122.1 thousand hectares, indicating moderate increases in both area and production.

The committee, recognizing the importance of strategic targets, established production goals for various crops. Wheat, a staple crop, was set at a substantial target of 32.12 million tons, spanning 8.9 million hectares. Additionally, production targets for Gram, Potato, Onion, and Tomato were fixed at 410, 6330, 2494, and 666 thousand tons, respectively.

Addressing concerns regarding seed availability for Rabi Crops, the meeting participants were assured by DG, FSC&RD that certified seed availability for the Rabi season 2023-24 would remain satisfactory, underpinning the foundation for the anticipated bumper harvests.

However, challenges such as water scarcity were not overlooked. The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Advisory Committee highlighted an anticipated 15% shortage of water for Punjab and Sindh during the Rabi season. Despite this, the prevailing weather conditions were deemed supportive, and effective management strategies were in place to handle the manageable shortage.
Riaz Haq said…
Agro, food exports jump 37pc

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has seen a significant increase of 37.4 per cent in the export of agro and food products in the first quarter of the current fiscal year from a year ago amid soaring domestic food inflation.

The surge in food products exports can be primarily attributed to the unprecedented rupee depreciation and the persistent disruptions in the supply chain and higher prices in the international market, which have led to a soaring demand for food products.

On Wednesday, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), a subsidiary organisation of the Ministry of Commerce, released the latest data on the surge in food product exports.

TDAP CEO Zubair Motiwalla expressed his optimism regarding the future of Pakistan’s agro and food product exports. He stated that if the current trends continue, the country’s exports in this sector are projected to surpass $7bn by the end of 2023-24.

According to the TDAP data, major increases were in the export of sesame seed (427pc), maize/corn (109pc), ethyl alcohol (559pc), meat (16pc), rice (14pc), fruits and vegetables (11.8pc), fish and fish products (3pc).

Pakistan exported sesame seed worth $182.2m during July-September 2023-24 as compared to $34m in the corresponding period last year, a growth of 435pc thanks to increased production.

Similarly, the exports of maize were $130m during 1QFY24 as compared to $60.62m in 1QFY23, a growth of 109.32pc. Pakistan’s maize exports have increased manifolds in value, as global prices of food commodities have increased due to the outbreak of Russian-Ukraine war. The major markets for maize are Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea and Oman.

Pakistan exported ethyl alcohol worth $126.81m in 1QFY24 as compared to $19.23m in 1QFY23, indicating a growth of 559.1pc.

Pakistan exported $112.36m worth of meat in 1QFY24 as compared to $96.4m in 1QFY23, showing a growth of 16.54pc. The reason for the increase in meat exports is the introduction of new markets — Jordan, Egypt, and Uzbekistan.

At the same time, several new enterprises are registering to export meat to the UAE, KSA, and the GGC region.

Malaysia also cleared three more slaughterhouses for export/processing. Furthermore, one meat exporting company was granted market access for heat-treated meat shipments to China.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan may limit onion exports – what impact could it have on the markets of Europe and Central Asia? • EastFruit

According to EastFruit analysts, persistent rumors that Pakistan plans to limit onion exports have not yet been officially confirmed. However, the likelihood of such restrictions, formal or not, remains quite high. And this could have a significant impact on the market because Pakistan is among the top 5-7 global onion exporters in the world, according to EastFruit.

With this, Pakistan could join the long list of countries that have imposed bans or restrictions on onion exports in the past 12 months. Among these countries: Egypt, Turkey, Uzbekistan, India, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and others.

The main reason for possible restrictions on fresh onion exports from Pakistan is the rise in domestic prices for this vegetable, which remains one of the main products in the consumer basket. However, it must be taken into account that, firstly, onion prices are still lower than last year’s, and secondly, the local currency continues to devalue against the US dollar, which affects prices much more than the situation with supply and demand.

Read also: Catastrophic price situation for German onions

The main onion markets for Pakistan are Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and the UAE. In general, Pakistan is one of the main exporters of onions to the Gulf countries. Annually, fresh onion exports from Pakistan range from 300 to 450 thousand tons. In 2022, due to floods, a significant part of Pakistan’s onion crop was lost, so the country became a net importer, buying almost 500 thousand tons of onions, mainly from Afghanistan, Iran, and Egypt.

Although mutual onion trade between Pakistan and Europe and ex-USSR Central Asia is relatively small, the impact of this ban on the market could be quite significant. A possible restriction on onion exports could lead to a further increase in onion prices in the Middle East. Already, Pakistani onions are sold in bulk in the UAE at prices of more than $1 per kg. A further increase in onion prices in this region will lead to an increase in onion imports from the EU countries and will make onion exports profitable even from Uzbekistan to the UAE. Accordingly, if the decision is made, it may become decisive in supporting the rise in onion prices in Europe and Central Asia.
Riaz Haq said…

Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Market Analysis

The Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Market size is estimated at USD 9.13 billion in 2024, and is expected to reach USD 12.98 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 7.30% during the forecast period (2024-2029).

According to the FAO, fruit production amounted to 9.82 million metric ton in 2020. Mangoes accounted for the highest production of 2.3 million metric ton, followed by oranges with a production of 1.6 million metric ton. Similarly, in 2020, vegetable production accounted for 5.5 million ton, where about 40% of the production was only attributed to onions with over 2 million metric ton, followed by tomatoes, carrots, and turnips. Following cereals exports, fruit exports hold the largest share of the agriculture export revenue of the country. The value of the country's fruit exports grew by over 17% reaching USD 492 million in 2021.
Different climates in the country result in the availability of many vegetable varieties in markets around the year. Around 35 kinds of vegetables are grown across numerous ecosystems in Pakistan, ranging from the dry zone to the wet zone, low elevation to high elevation, rain-fed to irrigated, and low input to high input systems, such as plastic houses. Horticulture in Pakistan emerged as an important sector contributing over 18% to the national agriculture GDP. A large number of horticultural products are produced to fulfill the domestic demand for fruit and vegetables for the rapidly expanding population as well as to cater to the demand arising in potential export markets. Out of the total annual agriculture production of the country, the major contributors are Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and NWFP. Mango, kino, apple, dates, pine nuts, oranges, and guava are a few of the majorly exported fruits, and potato, onion, mushroom, garlic, chili, etc., are among the vegetables exported globally. Pakistan is heavily relying on one market for specific items. For example, Dubai is the biggest market for Pakistani mango, followed by England and Saudi Arabia. Sri Lanka is the only biggest market for Pakistani fresh apples. Hence, all these aforementioned factors are anticipated to positively impact the fruits and vegetable market of Pakistan during the forecast period.

Riaz Haq said…
India’s pain is Pakistan’s gain in global maize market as exports drop to a trickle - The Hindu BusinessLine

Pakistan has gained at India’s cost in the world corn (maize) market, particularly South-East Asia, as domestic prices are ruling higher than the global prices, exporters and traders said. This is in view of demand from the poultry and starch sectors besides for ethanol production amidst drop in the coarse cereal’s production this crop year to June.

“India’s loss is Pakistan’s gain in the Asian market. It is selling maize at $240-50 a tonne. In contrast, our prices are over $300,” said M Madan Prakash, President, Agri Commodities Exporters Association.

In the domestic market, the weighted average price of maize is currently ₹2,132 a quintal compared with ₹2,039 a year ago.


July-December 2023-24: Exports of agro and food products increase by 64pc - Business & Finance - Business Recorder

KARACHI: During the first six months of the financial year of 2023-2024, exports of agro and food products from Pakistan has been increased by 64 percent as compared to the same period during 2022-2023. In the month of December only, there is growth of 118 percent, as $882 million of food product export was exported in comparison of $404 million in same month in 2022-23.

In the current fiscal year 2034-24 major increases were in export of Sesame seed (278pc), Maize/corn (208pc), Ethyl alcohol (497pc), Meat (23pc), Rice (96pc), Fruits and Vegetables (15pc), Spices (10pc) and Tobacco(34pc).

Pakistan exported sesame seed worth $364 million during July-December 2023-24 as compared to $98 million during July-December, 2022-23 showing a positive growth of 278 percent. The reasons for increase of sesame seed is the increased production in 2023 (2022 crop was destroyed by flood) and higher demand/rate from China, Korea, Japan etc.

Similarly the exports of Maize were $262 million during July-December, 2023-24 as compared to $85 million in July-December, 2022-23 showing a positive growth of 208 percent. Pakistan’s maize exports have increased manifolds in value, as global prices of food commodities have increased due to the outbreak of Russian- Ukraine war. The major markets for are Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea and Oman.

Pakistan exported ethyl alcohol worth $259 million during July-December, 2023-24 as compared to $43 million during July-December, 2022-23 showing a positive growth of 4 percent. The reason for increase is the high global demand.

In meat sector, Pakistan exported worth $239 million during July-December, 2023-24 as compared to $195 in July-December, 2022-23 showing a positive growth of 23%. The reasons for positive growth of meat sector is due to opening of new markets (Jordan, Egypt, Uzbekistan), and participation of many new companies for exporting meat to UAE, KSA & GGC Region.

Additionally three more slaughter houses were approved for exporting/processing by Malaysia. Moreover, two meat exporting companies also got market access for exports of heat treated meat to China who have recently shipped heat treated meat to China.

The exports of rice from were $1645 million during July-December 2023-24 as compared to $841 million in July-December. 2022-23 showing a positive growth of 96 percent. The reason for increase is due to India’s rice export ban and increased production of rice in Pakistan. Pakistan exported fruits and vegetables worth $285 million during July-December, 2023-24 as compared to $248 million in July-December, 2022-23 showing a positive growth of 15 percent. Similarly, exports of spices shows growth of 10 percent.

Riaz Haq said…
Banana production reaches 154,935 tons on 34,830 hectares - Pakistan Observer

The cultivated area of banana in Pakistan has exceeded 34,830 hectares and the production has exceeded 154,935 tons, with Sindh producing 127,426 tons and Punjab producing 9,573 tons.

According to media reports, Agriculture and Fruit Economist Ari Faisalabad Ishaq Javed, high varieties of banana can be cultivated very successfully in hot humid areas where there is no haze and the plants are protected from hot weather.

Rainfall up to 2,500 millimeters, temperatures between 16 to 18 degrees Celsius in winter and 21 to 24 degrees Celsius in summer can produce excellent banana production.

Javed said that since the roots of the banana plant go to a shallow depth, it needs enough water and fertile soil that has the ability to absorb water well. He said that the growth of banana can be done from rhizome pieces and rootstocks. He said that gardeners should keep the distance between plants from 1.5 to 2.5 meters and the number of plants per acre should be kept from 676 to 764. He said that gardeners should consult agronomists for further guidance.

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