Olive Revolution: Pakistan Joins International Olive Council

Pakistan's Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project launched in 2014 by the PTI government has sparked a silent olive revolution in the country.  Pakistan, now the 19th member of the International Olive Council, is producing about 1,500 tons of olive oil per year and 830 tons of table olives,  according to Juan Vilar Strategic Consultants. It is also helping tackle some of the effects of climate change such as soil erosion and desertification and bringing new opportunities to farmers. Olive cultivation was started as a pilot project in Potohar region by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif's government in 2014. The PTI government promoted it nationwide as a part of Prime Minister Imran Khan's Ten Billion Tree Tsunami initiative to bring about the olive revolution in the country. 

Olive Valley, Pakistan

Pakistan is the world's third largest importer of cooking oil. In 2020, Pakistan imported $2.1 billion worth of palm oil, behind only India's $5.1 billion and China's $4.1 billion in palm oil imports. Increasing olive oil production will help the country reduce its dependence on palm oil imports. Substituting imported palm oil with domestic olive oil may also help improve the heath of Pakistani consumers. 

The International Olive Council (IOC) has 18 members, mostly European and Middle Eastern nations located in the Mediterranean region. Pakistan has joined as its 19th member. The IOC members account for more than 98% of global olive production. The IOC has been headquartered in the Spanish capital Madrid since it was founded in 1959.  The organization specifies acceptable quality control testing methods and assures consumer transparency information, for example: hygiene standards along the supply chain, suitable packing materials and filling tolerances product labelling standards, identification of any food additives or allowable contaminants, recommendations for environmental protection in the use and disposal of olive products.  


Olive Plantation in Peshawar, Pakistan. Source: Olive  Oil Times

Welcoming Pakistan into the organization, Mr. 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 .....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".  

Olive trees thrive in dry arid regions with rocky soils that are more challenging for traditional crops. Pakistan 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 (KPK) and some parts of Sindh province,” Muhammad Tariq, national project director at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, told Olive Oil Times. 

It is expected that traditional farming and modern techniques would make large tracts of barren land productive, creating new jobs and growing the economy. Drip irrigation systems are being deployed over 16,000 hectares and 3.6 million olive trees. The Pakistani public and private sectors currently maintain 26 olive oil extraction plants of different capacities, from 80 kilograms per hour to 600, according to Olive Times.

Pakistan has the potential to be a world leader in olive production. In the last decade,  PTI's Ten Billion Tree Tsunami initiative has spurred rapid olive cultivation in Pakistan with the import of 100,000 olive seedlings from top olive producing countries like Spain, Italy and Turkey. Pakistan’s climate is conducive for olive production, as the olive trees grow fast in regions with moderate winters following long hot summers.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project, Pakistan is growing thousands of olive trees in its northwestern region – once considered a hotbed for terrorism activity.

https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/business/in-pakistan-efforts-to-grow-olives-in-underdeveloped-areas-begin-to-bear-fruit/105533

..after the federal government launched the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project in 2018, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province administration decided to plant thousands of olives as a symbol of peace in the region.

The provincial government’s forestry department has planted around 8,000 olive trees in Amangarh, a vast area of the country with little agricultural activity located around 40 kilometers northeast of the historic city of Peshawar.

Pakistan’s federal Ministry of Climate Change also launched the Olive Trees Tsunami Project in 2021, intending to plant four million hectares of olive trees.

After declaring the country’s land and climate suitable for olive tree cultivation, the ministry decided to plant trees in the southern region of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, tribal areas and northern parts of the province Punjab.

The Peshawar Divisional Forest Officer Tariq Khadim, looking after the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project in the province, told Olive Oil Times that 8,000 olive trees had been planted on 27 hectares of land.

All of the trees were sourced from the local nursery of the forest department, Khadim said.

He added that 2,000 hectares of barren land were allocated for a different plantation under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project. The forest department separated 27 hectares for olives as the land was suitable for planting them.

Khadim said though the terrain was suitable for olive growing, less rainfall and low underground water level emerged as a challenge to water the olive saplings.

He said the forest department in this area installed 10 solar panels, established tube wells and set drip irrigation system to water the olive saplings.

“A 16,000-foot (4,900-meter) water pipe has been used for drip irrigation and smooth supply of water for olive saplings,” he said.

The forest officer added that more than 95 percent of olive trees had grown successfully in the last two years.

Khadim added that these trees would bear an average of 110 kilograms of fruit each after four to five years, resulting in the average production of 12 liters of olive oil.

“About 112,000 liters of olive oil will be produced annually from this area after the plants started fruit production,” Khadim said.

Tahir Malik, a professor at the National University of Modern Languages, viewed planting olives in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a positive step after the Global War on Terrorism.

“People in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province suffered most in the country during the 20-year war in Afghanistan as they were on the frontlines when suicide bombings incidents were taking place from 2008 to 2013,” he said.

According to Malik, the conflict had severely negative psychological effects on people living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tarnished the region’s reputation worldwide.

He said that growing olives in the region would create a more favorable political narrative for the people and the region.

“It will reflect that people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa want peace, not bombs,” he said.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an international body with the mandate of monitoring different projects of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project, has approved the plan to plant olive trees in the region.

Hammad Saeed, the organization’s project manager in Pakistan, said the plantations under the project had brought positive impacts for Pakistan.

“It has increased the forest cover area and generated the economic activity as well,” he said.

Saeed added that it was especially good to see a country already severely impacted by the effects of climate change taking serious steps in its mitigation.

Saleem said…
PTI loves to take the credits of others. This is a 2016 video, so the plantation started a few years earlier. There are many others too

https://youtu.be/DVfXvqPxaiY
Unknown said…
It's good news for the country.
In 2014 PTI was not in govt.onlyin KPK.
The main area if cultivation of olive tree is upper Punjab Attock and its surrounding.
Riaz Haq said…
Saleem: "PTI loves to take the credits of others. This is a 2016 video, so the plantation started a few years earlier. There are many others too"

A few olive seedlings planted by PMLN CM in 2016 in one region (Potohar) of one province (Punjab) did not amount to a national revolution. PTI’s nationwide campaign of planting olive seedlings in KP and Balochistan is what made the olive revolution in Pakistan
Tabish Rafiq said…
If olive plant takes 5-12 years to grow into a tree. How came ten million tree projected, started back in 2019 can be the reason for this?


Riaz Haq said…
Tabish: "If olive plant takes 5-12 years to grow into a tree. How came ten million tree projected, started back in 2019 can be the reason for this?"

In Pakistan, olive trees started as seedlings, not seeds. It takes 3-12 years depending on cultivar; most around years 5-6. PTI’s Tree planting campaign in KP began in 2014.

https://gardenerspath.com/plants/fruit-trees/grow-olive-trees/
Khalil said…
for cooking only use the 'Pomace' grade olive oil.
Extra Virgin is not to be heated to retain the healthy benefits of it. Use it to sprinkle on your prepared foods, dips, and salad dressing for maximum benefits and nutritional value.

Once the oil is heated up, it's not the same thing,
This oil is a juice more than oil.
Always consume it raw as it is.

Riaz Haq said…
Khalil: "Once the oil is heated up, it's not the same thing, This oil is a juice more than oil. Always consume it raw as it is"

Some sources put the smoke point of olive oil somewhere around 374–405°F (190–207°C) (17). This makes it a safe choice for most cooking methods, including most pan frying. Extra virgin olive oil's smoke point is somewhere around 374–405°F (190–207°C). This makes it a good choice for most cooking methods.



Normal cooking use is unlikely to oxidize or significantly damage olive oil.



However, it may degrade some of the antioxidants and vitamin E, which are sensitive to heat.



In one study, heating olive oil at 356°F (180°C) for 36 hours lead to a decrease in antioxidants and vitamin E, but most of the trace compounds were intact (18).



One of the main active compounds in extra virgin olive oil is oleocanthal. This substance is responsible for olive oil’s anti-inflammatory effects (19Trusted Source).



Heating olive oil at 464°F (240°C) for 90 minutes reduced the amount of oleocanthal by 19% according to a chemical test and 31% according to a taste test (20Trusted Source).



In another study, simulated frying for 24 hours reduced some beneficial compounds, but 10 minutes in a microwave or boiling in water had only minor effects (21Trusted Source).



The trace compounds in olive oil are also responsible for some of its flavor. Therefore, overheating olive oil can remove some of its taste.



Keep in mind that these studies use rather extreme conditions.



https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-olive-oil-good-for-cooking#nutrient-loss
Riaz Haq said…
Breakthrough project in Sindh turns Pakistan into palm oil producing country

https://www.arabnews.pk/node/1769666/pakistan


Oil content of palm fruit from Sindh's plantation in Thatta is 2 percent higher than the world average

Pakistan consumes 4.5 million tons of edible oil a year, of which some 90 percent is imported, mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia


Pakistan’s southeastern Sindh province has successfully completed a pilot oil palm cultivation and extraction project, putting the country on the list of palm oil producers.
An oil extraction facility at the site of the pilot oil palm plantation in the province’s southern Thatta district produced its first oil last week. The development is seen as a breakthrough for the South Asian nation which is heavily dependent on palm oil imports.

“The palm oil extraction is being done as a test run at the moment and the results are wonderful and very encouraging,” Muhammad Aslam Ghouri, secretary of Sindh’s Environment, Climate Change and Coastal Development which is running the project, told Arab News on Friday.


The Rs25 million ($157,000) pilot project started in 2016 on 50 acres of coastal land.

“In 2016, Malaysian experts came here and they studied everything including soil and environment and they certified that the fruit is very good,” Ghouri said. “The oil content of the palm fruit is 2 percent higher than the world average.”


The yield from the fertile soil is also encouraging as even 60 palm trees can be grown on each acre.


Pakistan consumes around 4.5 million tons of edible oil a year, of which some 90 percent is imported, mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia — the world’s biggest producers of the commodity.

While the Thatta oil extraction facility can produce only up to two tons of oil a day, Ghouri believes the reliance on imports can be greatly reduced if the Sindh project is expanded.

Seeing the project as a “game changer” for the province and country, the Sindh government has already allocated an additional 1,600 acres for palm cultivation, which it further plans to expand to 3,000 acres.

Ghouri said that ECC&CD has already invited farmers and private firms to show the “success story” and encourage them to invest and join the industry.
“Seeing the success of this pilot project we can safely say that in future when there is investment in this sector, private parties come in to start palm plantation and invest in oil extraction mills as we have shown that it can be done. Then this (less reliance on imports) can happen.”

Oil traders, however, say that there is a long way ahead before Pakistan will be able to offset the imports of the staple commodity.
“It is a step in the right direction that has a potential to substitute palm oil imports and save foreign exchange, but it would take time to make any meaningful contribution as the country imports on an average 100,000 tons of palm oil per month,” Ismail Wali, an oil trader at Jodia Bazaar in Karachi, told Arab News.
Farmers are less enthusiastic as they remember a similar initiative being undertaken in 1996 to develop the country’s vast coastal belt into an oil palm cultivation hub. For two decades the project was neglected, causing huge losses.
“We had imported expensive samplings of palm and planted over an area of 400 acres in Mirpur Sakro, Thatta district,” Mumrez Khan, a former oil palm farmer, told Arab News.

“We had to abandon the plantation in 2009 due to lack of support and required guidance from the government.”
Asad Aziz said…
Indeed, credit should be given to all in the process like nuclear success which started from Bhutto n culminated in NS govt.
continuity of good policy is imp which most of govt in past failed to do.
For example 1122 could have been turned into national service but it was not.
Unknown said…
A very informative article. Indeed both projects if pursued and patronized by federal and provincial governments aggressively can prove to be a game changer for Pakistan. The oil plantation has effectively taken off and progressing satisfactorily but the Palm Oil plantation project in Sindh province needs to be expanded massively with considerable investment by government. If left to the private investors it will not make any significant impact even in the next 10 years. It has tremendous potential and will certainly be a game changer for Pakistan.
Replying to an Unknown comment about the PTI government in the province of Khyber Pukhtoon Khawa (KPK).
PTI formed its coalition government in 2013 so it was governing KPK in 2014.
PTI obtained a two third majority in 2018 elections as a result of its performance in the preceding five years.
Great step for economy of Pakistan. I have been done my m.phil on North regions of kpk. Soil analysis result reveled that area is suitable for olive plantation. Great sir
Shahzada azizullah khan said…
Olive every species can ban grown easily in kpk.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Punjab Govt releases schedule for spring sunflower cultivation - Pakistan Observer

By News desk -December 16, 2021

https://pakobserver.net/punjab-govt-releases-schedule-for-spring-sunflower-cultivation/

Cultivation of sunflower in Dera Ghazi Khan & Rajanpur will start from 15th December to January 31st , while the second phase includes Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah, Lodhran, Rajanpur, Bhakkar, Vehari and Bahawalnagar from 1st till 31st January.

In the third phase of sunflower cultivation Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushbab, Jhang, Sahiwal, Orkara, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Lahore, Mandi Bahauddin, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib, Narwal, Attock, Rawalpindi, Gujarat, Chakwal.

Sunflower planting season is scheduled for January 15th to February 15th. Use 2 kg of hybrid seeds per acre for sunflower cultivation. Suitable types of sunflower include High Sun-33, T-40318, Agora 4, NKR Money, US 666, US 444, PAR Sun 3, Axon-5264, Axin-5270, S-278, HS. F-360A, Sun-7, Ori-648, Ori-516. It is very important to cultivate sunflower at the right time to get better yield because late planting not only reduces the yield per acre of sunflower but also reduces the quantity of oil. Pakistan imports Rs 300 billion worth of edible oil every year, which is a burden on the country’s economy.
Anonymous said…
Hello Riaz Haq:
I have read your article you referred that Pakistan has joined international olive council.
I counter check international olive council website, PAKISTAN name is NOT there.
Can you please provide the correct source that endorses your claim.
Riaz Haq said…
Anon: "Can you please provide the correct source that endorses your claim"

PAKISTAN TO JOIN THE IOC

MADRID / 09.02.2022


https://www.internationaloliveoil.org/pakistan-to-join-the-ioc/


It is becoming increasingly likely that Pakistan will become the 19th member of the IOC. A delegation of senior officials and directors from the Pakistani Government visited IOC headquarters in Madrid today. They were welcomed by the Executive Director Abdellatif Ghedira, who was accompanied by his two Deputy Executive Directors, Jaime Lillo and Mustafa Sepetçi, and the heads of the different Operational Units: Standardisation and Research; Economics, Statistics and Promotion; Technical, Training and Environment; External Relations; Observatory and Information Systems; and the Director’s Secretariat.

Today’s meeting was an opportunity to revisit the stages of this collaboration which began last year, with a first visit in March 2021 followed by a webinar between the two parties on 27 May. The rapprochement continued in November with a visit to the country, at the invitation of the Pakistani authorities and private sector. The Executive Director and the Head of the External Relations Department, Mounir Fourati, were welcomed by H.E. the Federal Minister of Agriculture at his residence.

Today’s meeting provided an opportunity to brief stakeholders in the Pakistani administration on how to join the IOC and the benefits and advantages of IOC membership in terms of access to expertise and technical assistance, standardisation, subsidies and promotional programmes to support its olive sector.

Everything seems to be leaning towards a new and important accession to the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives 2015, which could be formalised this year in accordance with the procedures of the Agreement, whose depositary is the United Nations office.


Riaz Haq said…
A crucial bridge in northern Pakistan collapsed on 7 May after a glacial lake outburst.

https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/05/10/pakistan-bridge-is-swept-away-in-severe-flash-flooding

This was caused by a recent heatwave, which released huge amounts of water into the stream and surrounding areas, local media reported.

Experts are saying the water volume at the Shisper glacier lake had increased by 40 per cent over the past 20 days due to unusually high and abrupt temperature rises in the north of the country.


Pakistan recorded its hottest April in decades with Jacobabad touching 49C.

They also added that rapidly melting glaciers have created more than 3,000 glacial lakes in the northern areas and 33 could burst soon. This would send torrents of water coursing through streams, which is very dangerous.

In Hassanabad, local officials helped those affected and ensured that people were not stranded due to the flooding.

“A compact bridge would be temporarily installed to restore traffic,” while construction of a permanent bridge would take about seven to eight months, National Highway Authority chair Muhammad Khurram Agha said, according to Gulf News.

Traffic was diverted to an alternate route and heavy transport vehicles were barred.

There has been no loss of life, officials said.
Riaz Haq said…
Our total consumption of wheat and atta is about 125kg per capita per year. Our per person per day calorie intake has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2,580 in 2020-21

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


https://www.dawn.com/news/1659441/consumption-habits-inflation

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

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

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

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

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

Riaz Haq said…
Edible oil: How double whammy of price hike is frying consumers


https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/957838-edible-oil-how-double-whammy-of-price-hike-is-frying-consumers

During 2019, Pakistan imported 2.69 million tonnes of soybean and canola oilseed, valued at $1.10 billion. In addition to this, 2.55 million tonnes of palm oil and other byproducts were also imported during the same year, costing another $1.53 billion in the same year.

The import of oilseed swelled to 3.33 million tonnes in the 2021 calendar year with a price tag of $1.98 billion. Similarly, palm oil and other derivatives' imports during the same year ballooned to 2.98 million tonnes, costing $3.74 billion.

The ordeal of consumers because of the backbreaking inflation seems dying hard as prices are yet to peak, said market insiders. In the last couple of months of political instability alone, rupee has devalued to Rs193.70 or by 8.82 percent against dollar, which may further inflate the edible oil price by about Rs25/litre in the retail market in a fortnight or so.

The impact of recent three upward revisions in edible oil’s retail price is stated to be in addition to such cost escalation, according to market insiders.

Ban imposed by Indonesia on palm oil and other byproducts’ export, Ukraine-Russia war, and prolonged heatwave may also negatively contribute to the cost of edible oil, further straining the livelihoods of people in this part of the word.

In order to tame cooking oil prices, Pakistan needs to convert this crisis into an opportunity by incentivising cultivation of edible oil. Neighbouring India is doing the same and has succeeded in increasing domestic production.

It is a sheer lack of good governance that no specialised department exists in the public sector both at federal as well as provincial levels for the systematic promotion of oilseed crops in the country.

With Pakistan Oilseed Development Board’s (PODB) scope remaining drastically limited at national level and non-establishment of similar institutions at provincial levels following passage of 18th Amendment, all development work on edible oil sector came to a standstill.
Riaz Haq said…
What is happening to Pakistan’s green stimulus?
New climate change minister Sherry Rehman has given her assurance that Pakistan will remain serious about conservation.

https://www.eco-business.com/news/what-is-happening-to-pakistans-green-stimulus/

Wajahat Shah, 32, is a labourer at a government-run tree plantation, spread over 3,000 hectares of army land in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. “Ten days after the government announced the lockdown due to coronavirus, I had to close my grocery shop,” Shah told The Third Pole.

The plantation is part of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, the flagship initiative of the recently ousted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. The project has been a lifesaver for up to 85,000 residents like Shah, Mohammad Usman Khan, a forest officer, said.

Before Covid-19, Shah earned as much as 25,000 Pakistani rupees (USD 129) a month from his shop. Now, his work at the plantation gives him PKR 15,000 (USD 77), and he also receives a small monthly rent from his shop, which is being run by someone else.

“I know this is much less, but our family of three has fewer needs [now]; I also prefer working outdoors,” he said, adding that this way he gets time to study for his bachelor’s degree.

However, forest officer Khan admitted that turning 3,000 hectares of barren army land into an oasis, growing olive, ziziphus lotus, rosewood, acacia trees and more, is too big a task for the 50 labourers the plantation employs. The government’s hands, he explained, were tied due to lack of funds.

The area – 32 kilometres from Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – has plenty of water, with groundwater drawn from solar-powered tubewells, but not enough manpower. “We should have at least eight labourers for every 40 hectares,” said Khan, adding that it may not be possible to green the area without more staff.

A ‘booster dose’ for conservation
Pakistan’s Green Stimulus, a USD 120 million loan from the World Bank, was conceived as a “booster dose” for this and similar nature-based projects, said former minister for climate change, Malik Amin Aslam, using a Covid-19 analogy.

The money, originally earmarked for a project by the Pakistan Meteorological Department, was redirected to nature restoration in response to hardship created by Covid-19, Aslam said.

Speaking to The Third Pole on 29 April following Imran Khan’s removal as prime minister, he said he feared the package may face delays.

These “nature-positive funds” Aslam said, referring to the Green Stimulus package, were “literally within arm’s reach”, with the first tranche to be released by 15 April. “The first phase was ready for rollout – when we ourselves got prematurely rolled out!” he rued.

Pakistan’s Green Stimulus fits within the scope of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, a framework focused on reversing ecosystem loss to fight the climate crisis. It “was meant to protect nature and give green jobs to thousands of people including youth and women”, Aslam explained.

Now with Pakistan in political turmoil, Aslam feared that “all efforts to protect nature and give green jobs may well go down the drain”.

New minister wants to continue Pakistan’s green stimulus
Aslam’s concerns may be unfounded. Sherry Rehman, the new climate change minister, told The Third Pole that the grant will remain available to Pakistan. The World Bank, she explained, is supporting the country, not a particular administration under a certain party, so the agreement still stands.

The Third Pole contacted the World Bank about the status of the loan; a reply had not been received at the time of publication.
Riaz Haq said…
What is happening to Pakistan’s green stimulus?
New climate change minister Sherry Rehman has given her assurance that Pakistan will remain serious about conservation.

https://www.eco-business.com/news/what-is-happening-to-pakistans-green-stimulus/

According to the agreement, a body called the National Disaster & Risk Management Fund will receive the funds and distribute them to various departments. Eleven projects have already been vetted and approved by the bank.

“The MoCC [Ministry of Climate Change] would like to continue with [the Green Stimulus] initiative and adopt any course correction in future if necessary,” Rehman said.

Upon taking office, however, she was expecting the ministry to be more than “a single project implementation department” dedicated solely to planting trees.

“[The MoCC] is essentially a policy ministry, not a project implementation department,” she pointed out, detailing her vision of the climate change ministry, which includes policy design, monitoring provinces and engaging internationally with the global community to press Pakistan’s case as a low net polluter.

But above all, Rehman said, “[the ministry] needs Pakistan to engage in a public conversation on conservation and climate goals through state and community action”.

She noted the absence of a climate communication cell at the ministry, as well as the fact that the federal secretary’s post remains vacant. And when it comes to gender, she added, “institutional frameworks in Pakistan are inadvertently designed to preserve inequity”.

The Climate Council, a forum where representatives for the provinces meet to discuss and cooperate on frameworks for climate action, has been dormant with not a single meeting held in the past four years, she added. “All this needs to change,” she said.

Acknowledging that Rehman would have a “good idea” of the country’s needs and priorities on the climate front, Aslam cautioned that “implementation and focus” require political ownership and the understanding and backing needed at the highest level “may be missing in this administration”.

Domestic reform is the new priority
Aslam said adopting the “two-pronged approach of using clean energy transition and nature-based solutions” is essential. Reversing targets set by the previous government, he warned, will not only have ecological but economic and social consequences that Pakistan can ill afford.

He said he hoped the present government “can comprehend this and take the logical way forward towards climate compatible development”.

However, Rehman commented that she worried that Pakistan has been put in a “commitment trap” where, at the international level, “it has promised far more than it can even measure, let alone deliver”.

“While commitments to lower emissions were made abroad, no infrastructure or institutional reform was attempted at home for a genuine energy transition,” she pointed out.

And despite the “existential” nature of the crisis, no awareness was built either at a policymaking or a community level. “No work or public messaging on water deficits were made,” said Rehman, even though Pakistan will be water-scarce by 2025, according to the UN. “It seems that climate solutions have been reduced to tree plantation only.”



Riaz Haq said…
Indonesia to provide 2.5m metric tons of #palm #oil to #Pakistan on urgent basis. First ship carrying 30,000 metric tons of oil from Indonesia left for Pakistan on Tuesday. #edibleoil #cookingoil #palmoil


ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) - Ten ships of edible oil will arrive in Pakistan in the next two weeks from Indonesia and Malaysia.

After successful negotiations of Pakistani delegation that visited Indonesia, it was agreed between the two countries that Indonesia will provide 2.5 million metric tons of edible oil to Pakistan on urgent basis.

According to a statement released today by Prime Minister’s Office, the delegation visited Indonesia on the directions of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Earlier, the Prime Minister talked to the Indonesian President Joko Widodo in this regard.

The first ship carrying 30,000 metric tons of edible oil from Indonesia will leave for Pakistan on Tuesday.



https://dunyanews.tv/en/Business/655987-Indonesia-provide-2-5m-metric-tons-of-palm-oil-to-Pakistan-on-urgent-bas
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.

https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/07/15/world-bank-supports-pakistan-to-increase-agricultural-resilience-and-protect-small-farmers-from-climate-change-impacts-i

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…
#Pakistanis plant #trees to provide relief from scorching sun. There are neem saplings and vegetables sprouting up from scrubland in the #Clifton district of #Pakistan's largest city #Karachi. #ClimateCrisis #heatwave #floods #fires via @reuterspictures https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/pakistanis-plant-trees-to-provide-relief-from-scorching-sun?utm_campaign=web-share&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter

Mulazim Hussain is proud of the trees he has planted.

Surrounded by neem saplings and vegetables sprouting up from scrubland in the Clifton district of Pakistan's largest city Karachi, the 61-year-old recalls a time a few years ago when the area was a giant, informal rubbish tip.

"Now there is greenery and happiness, children come in the evening to play, people come to walk," he said, speaking near a patch of trees amid a barren expanse bordered by the sea on one side and tower blocks and offices in the distance on the other.

"I have raised these plants like my children over the last four years," he added, taking a break from his labours amid a fierce summer heatwave.

Wearing a white and brown scarf around his head and a loose, cream-coloured shirt, Hussain collected dry grass from the ground and watered his cherished trees during a recent visit by Reuters reporters to the urban forest plantation project.

At the end of the day, he turned the hose on himself to cool off and clean up before heading home on his motorcycle.

The father of two is employed by an urban afforestation project in a government-owned park in Karachi's upmarket Clifton area that is run by Shahzad Qureshi, who has worked on similar projects in other Pakistani cities and overseas.

It is one of dozens of state-owned and private planting initiatives in Pakistan, where forest cover lags far behind average levels across South Asia. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, emissions of which contribute to warming global temperatures.

The aim in Clifton is to counterbalance rapid urbanisation in Karachi, a sprawling port city of some 17 million people where breakneck expansion of roads and buildings means there is less and less space for trees and parkland.

Qureshi wanted to provide shade for residents seeking escape from rising temperatures - a heatwave in 2015 killed more than 400 people in the city in three days, and temperatures in the surrounding Sindh region reached record highs this year.

The trees can also attract local wildlife, mitigate urban flooding and provide new sources of food.


"The bigger the tree cover of the city the more the cooling, with a difference of up to 10 (degrees) Celsius when you are surrounded by trees," he told Reuters, adding that the project only used native species.

"As you plant ... it attracts insects, and varieties of birds start coming. Presently mongoose are roaming around in the park, and four or five varieties of chameleon.

"You give them a home, you give them food and let it happen. Nature is so beautiful."

DOES PLANTING HELP?

Overall forest cover in Pakistan, home to more than 220 million people, is around 5.4%, according to Syed Kamran Hussain, manager for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province at the World Wide Fund for Nature's national branch.


That compares with 24% in neighbouring India and 14.5% in Bangladesh, and the previous government announced a mass forestation programme that envisaged planting 10 billion trees between 2019 and 2023.

"Pakistan is among the top 10 most vulnerable countries affected by global warming," Hussain said. "After oceans, trees are the second largest sink of carbon."

Some climate change experts question the impact of afforestation projects - the planting of trees where there were none before - in urban settings.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistanis plant #trees to provide relief from scorching sun. There are neem saplings and vegetables sprouting up from scrubland in the #Clifton district of #Pakistan's largest city #Karachi. #ClimateCrisis #heatwave #floods #fires via @reuterspictures https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/pakistanis-plant-trees-to-provide-relief-from-scorching-sun?utm_campaign=web-share&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter


Some climate change experts question the impact of afforestation projects - the planting of trees where there were none before - in urban settings.

The choice of species is important, because it affects the amount saplings may need to be watered - a major factor in Pakistan where water is generally scarce.

And whether to plant trees at all is not a simple question: the benefits are not always clear and significant investment is needed to nurture saplings into fully grown trees.

"What is missing from urban forestry is a holistic approach to the environment," said Usman Ashraf, a doctoral researcher in development studies at the University of Helsinki. He was not commenting specifically on the Karachi project.

"It's about visual success, the numbers, small patches here and there," he said. "It won't even make a dent on any of the environmental harm in these cities."

Masood Lohar, who founded the Clifton Urban Forest that has planted trees on the beach front not far from Qureshi's project, said afforestation could help make Karachi more resilient against natural disasters and encourage wildlife to settle.

Experts say it can also provide relief from heatwaves, with the sea breeze getting hotter as it passes through concrete structures while roadways and rooftops absorb heat. Where to plant is a key question, with wealthier urban areas often better off in terms of tree cover.

In the absence of more trees, "we are turning the city into hell", Lohar said.

In the Sakhi Hassan Graveyard in the centre of the city, small saplings grow among uneven tombstones crammed close together, while larger trees offer shade from the midday sun.

Mohammad Jahangir, 35, is a caretaker there who waters the plants for a small cash donation from relatives who seeded them. Viewed from above, the graveyard is a sea of green that stands out against a low-rise neighbourhood.

"We don't feel the heat here in the graveyard, while the city sizzles," said Jahangir. "These trees are a blessing."

(Photo Editing Gabrielle Fonseca Johnson and Kezia Levitas; Additional Reporting Gloria Dickie in London; Writing Mike Collett-White; Text Editing Alison Williams; Layout Eve Watling)
Riaz Haq said…
Tree Plantation: 8.8 Mln Saplings Would Be Planted

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/pakistan/tree-plantation-88-mln-saplings-would-be-pl-1542432.html


A total of 8.8 million saplings would be planted in four districts of the division during current tree plantation campaign.

This was stated by Divisional Commissioner Dr Irshad Ahmad while inaugurating tree plantation campaign by planting a sapling in the lawn of his office here on Sunday. Additional Commissioner Coordination Fareed Ahmad, Conservator of Forests Niaz Muhammad, Divisional Officer of Forests Nisar Khan and ACR Ghazala Kanwal and others were also present.

The Commissioner said that the forest department would plant 5.4 saplings, while private organizations would plant 2 million saplings, Pakistan Army would plant 1.2 million and other departments would also plant 0.

2 million saplings in the division.

Divisional Officer, Forest ,Nisar Khan briefed the Commissioner that on the Independence Day (August 14) 30,000 saplings would be planted in four districts in which 10,000 saplings would be planted in Sargodha and 5,000 in other three districts each, while the forest department would also distribute 1500 saplings to citizens free of cost, he added.

The Commissioner Dr Irshad Ahmad highlighted that trees were imperative to counter environmental pollution, in addition to combating climate changes. "Therefore, the nation should take part actively in the tree plantation campaign to plant maximum trees in greater national interest", he added.
Riaz Haq said…
Indian state bets big on oil palm to cut $19 billion vegoil imports

https://www.reuters.com/world/india/indian-state-bets-big-oil-palm-cut-19-billion-vegoil-imports-2022-08-03/

Pullarao Daravathu and thousands of fellow farmers from Telangana in India's south are busy planting oil palms as their home state aims to add more area under the controversial crop within four years than the entire country has in decades.

Telangana is targeting 2 million additional acres under oil palm cultivation in the next four years, and is going to great lengths to achieve this goal - from building large dams and irrigation canals to importing millions of germinated sprouts.

Generous government subsidies and bumper profit potential compared to other crops are also encouraging farmers like Daravathu to shift to oil palms.

"Oil palm is giving more than 200,000 Indian rupees ($2,536) per acre return to farmers who planted the crop some years back. In rice, I am struggling to earn 40,000 rupees even after putting in lots of effort," said Daravathu, who was planting oil palm on his 5-acre farm at Sathupally, nearly 300 km (186 miles) east of Hyderabad, the state capital.

The recent rally in palm oil prices has more than doubled prices of fresh fruit bunches, which farmers sell to oil mills.

For years, price volatility, water scarcity and a gestation period of nearly four years limited oil palm plantation in India to less than 1 million acres, mostly in coastal Andhra Pradesh, the state that Telangana was carved out of in 2014.

But Telangana, which occupies an inland region on the Deccan Plateau, is now keen to emerge as India's main palm oil hub, with an area target that would place the state as the fifth largest oil palm grower globally – from a negligible base currently.

The drive could reduce India's mammoth vegetable oil imports, which cost the country a record $18.9 billion a year ago and widened the national trade deficit.

India fulfils two-thirds of its vegetable oil demand through imports of around 14 million tonnes annually, including around 8.5 million tonnes of palm oil.

The federal government is keen to increase palm oil output to slash those expensive imports, which lifted inflation this year to multi-year highs after top supplier Indonesia abruptly halted exports.

"In the next four years, most of the palm planting would be done, and after 7-8 years Telangana could be producing 4 million tonnes of palm oil," L Venkatram Reddy, director of Horticulture at the state government told Reuters

------


Companies operating in Telangana imported 12.5 million sprouts last year and made seedlings for around 200,000 acres this year, said an official with the state-run TS Oilfed, the country's biggest importer of germinated sprouts

The state is aiming to import 15 million sprouts this year - mainly sourced from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Costa Rica - and 50 million next year to achieve the target, he said.

But only handful of companies are supplying germinated sprouts.

"There is sudden surge in demand following a rally in palm oil prices. Companies are not able to supply as much we need this year," said Sougata Niyogi, a top official at Godrej Agrovet. "The supply situation would become more comfortable next year."
Riaz Haq said…
Palm Oil For Pakistan – A Burden Or Breather In-Depth Analysis Of Pakistan’s Edible Oil Industry



https://tdap.gov.pk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Palm-Oil-For-Pakistan-%E2%80%93-A-Burden-Or-Breather.pdf



For the last five years, Pakistan's agro sector is under trade deficit with USD 2.2 billion being the highest low in 2020. The widened trade gap in 2020 was due to the imports of wheat and pulses and the sudden increase in palm oil prices globally. Palm oil is Pakistan's largest food import item with a 30 percent share in agro imports and the country’s second-biggest import after petroleum. The bulk imports are a consequence of Pakistan’s increasing per capita consumption of edible oil, and the inability to produce adequate quantities of edible oil domestically. The total local consumption of edible oil is 5 MMT, 30 percent of which is domestically-produced and 70 percent of edible oil demand is met through the import of refined palm oil. This demand-supply gap indicates a deeply rooted dependence of Pakistan on imported oilseeds and refined palm oil, which is susceptible to deepen due to yearly decline in local oilseed production. Although the government has launched oilseed production enhancement programs for rapeseeds, sunflowers, and olive oil, the harvest cycle will approximately take the next 7 years to complete. Amid rising demands of edible oil and stunted local production, palm oil is a natural and economic choice for Pakistan due to its affordability, accessibility, and availability. Pakistan imports 75 percent of palm oil products from Indonesia under the Preferential Trade Agreement, whereas it imports 25 percent of palm oil products from Malaysia under the Free Trade Agreement. Despite these agreements, Pakistan faces high export duties on crude palm oil and increasing prices of refined palm oil. Because of these concerns the import value of palm oil is increasing at 2 percent faster rate than the quantity imported annually. If this scenario prevails, Pakistan will import 4 million tons of palm oil by 2025 costing over USD3.5 billion. To control the predicted hike, it is mandatory to control the price and consumption of palm oil for Pakistan. Pakistan is capable of consuming 1.5 million tons of crude oil but only a thousand tons were imported in 2020. The crude will not only produce refined palm oil but will also produce palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD) and palm stearin which are major imports of Pakistan. The study examines the possibility of importing crude oil instead of refined palm oil and finds out how imports of crude palm oil can reduce burden from the economy of Pakistan and make it an opportunity to move towards self-sufficiency
Riaz Haq said…
There has been a soaring demand of Edible oil in the global market, which is anticipated to record a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 5.1% to touch a level of around US$ 130.3b by end of 2024. The main contributors to the Edible oils industry are soybean oil and palm oil, which are mainly produced and exported by Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia. One of the leading markets of edible oil in the world is China followed by India, UAE and Pakistan.

https://ir.iba.edu.pk/research-projects-mba/201/

In Pakistan, edible oil is considered as one of the most essential commodities of daily usage. During 1947 to 1960 Pakistan was self-sufficient in edible oils. In 1960, started the import of edible oils and since then its import has been on an increasing trend due to lack of research and development, government polices to support farmers and resistance of import lobbies. Pakistan has been persistently and chronically deficient in its production as around 70% of the national requirement of Edible oil are fulfilled by imports. At the moment, Pakistan is one of the largest edible oil importers in the world with the import figures amounting to more than USD 3bn annually, which is imposing huge pressure on foreign exchange reserves being the 2nd highest import bill after energy import. And alone Palm oil contributes 91 percent of the total edible oil imports

---
The objectives of the project include detailed study on Oil-Palm plantation i.e. Oil producing breeds, yield of fruit, environment, labour, land, farming and irrigation techniques; designing the Supply chain for a Palm Oil Extraction plant; developing technical and financial feasibility of a Palm Oil Extraction plant – Land, Labour, Machinery, Utilities etc.; and providing recommendations for future actions based on the outcome of feasibility study.

The project is expected to have manifold benefits in the realm of (1) import substitution, by locally producing different types of Palm oil having a current local demand of around 2.8million tonnes; (2) environment protection by utilizing 95,000 Hectare unused fertile land of Interior Sindh in the farming of oil-palm trees, (3) poverty alleviation by providing small loans to women and poor people in the rural areas to grow oil palm saplings from seeds and sell the saplings to farmers, (4) employment generation for skilled and unskilled workforce when vast area of land will be cultivated with oil palm trees and CPO mills will be installed alongside the plantation (5), promote the halted industrialization in the country by establishing CPO mills,(6) transfer of technology, as when the new plants are set up, our country will eventually be able to replicate and adopt the technology involved in the manufacturing of imported machinery, not only fulfilling the future demands of local industry but also exporting the same to other countries.

The project report is based on financial data and non-financial information obtained from primary and secondary research to create an operational model for Palm oil plantation and extraction in Pakistan. Our research methodology included the literature review, Interviews with experts, field visits, factory visits, Quotations and Comparative Analysis, and review of financial statements of current market players.

Based on our research, visits and interviews it was determined that in Pakistan there are ample opportunities and favorable conditions for growing oil-palm trees. Report findings suggest that Coastal belt of Sindh has proven capability of growing oil-palm trees with a per acre yield comparable to that in major oil palm growing countries due to plenty of fertile land, irrigation water courses, supply of fertilizers, and skilled farmers available in this part of land.
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.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1698469

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…
Beekeepers reap a dividend from the government's programme to expand forests, as honey production rises


https://news.trust.org/item/20200707041422-vekhw

TREES FOR BEES

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…
Malik Amin Aslam
@aminattock
@HamidMirPAK
reporting from the #FloodsInPakistan and explains how
@ImranKhanPTI
#10BillionTreesTsunami averted a major human disaster - #Trees acted as a #NaturalDefense and sacrificed while saving human lives

https://twitter.com/aminattock/status/1563803992525783041?s=20&t=N0vTudMeoI6MeuIHsDP2FA

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