Economic Survey: Pakistanis Consuming More Calories, Fruits and Vegetables
|Pakistan Per Capita Daily Calorie Consumption. Source: Economic Surveys of Pakistan|
The trend of higher per capita daily calorie consumption has continued since the 1950s. It has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2735 in 2021-22. The per capita per day protein intake in grams increased from 63 to 67 to about 75 during these years. Health experts recommend that women consume at least 1,200 calories a day, and men consume at least 1,500 calories a day, says Harvard Health Publishing. The global average has increased from 2360 kcal/person/day in the mid-1960s to 2900 kcal/person/day currently, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) estimates that most women need 1,600 to 2,400 calories, while the majority of men need 2,000 to 3,000 calories each day to maintain a healthy weight. Global Hunger Index defines food deprivation, or undernourishment, as consumption of fewer than 1,800 calories per day.
|Share of Overweight or Obese Adults. Source: Our World in Data|
The share of overweight or obese adults in Pakistan's population is estimated by the World Health Organization at 28.4%. It is 20% in Bangladesh, 19.7% in India, 32.3% in China, 61.6% in Iran and 68% in the United States.
|Major Food Items Consumed in Pakistan. Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22|
The latest edition of the Economic Survey of Pakistan estimates that per capita calories come from the annual per capita consumption of 164.7 Kg of cereals, 7.3 Kg of pulses (daal), 28.3 Kg of sugar, 168.8 liters of milk, 22.5 Kg of meat, 2.9 Kg of fish, 8.1 dozen eggs, 14.5 Kg of ghee (cooking oil) and 68.3 Kg of fruits and vegetables. Pakistan's economy grew 5.97% and agriculture outputs increased a record 4.4% in FY 2021-22, according to the Economic Survey. The 4.4% growth in agriculture has boosted consumption and supported Pakistan's rural economy.
|Pakistan Growth Indicators. Source: Economic Survey 2021-22|
The minimum recommended food basket in Pakistan is made up of basic food items (cereals, pulses, fruits, vegetables, meat, milk, edible oils and sugar) to provide 2150 kcal and 60gram protein/day per capita.
The state of Pakistan's social sector is not as dire as the headlines suggest. There are good reasons for optimism. Key indicators show that nutrition and health in Pakistan are improving but such improvements need to be accelerated.
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The majority of Indians cannot afford a healthy meal and millions die every year due to diseases that are directly linked to poor diet, a recent survey showed. Noting that the diet of an average Indian typically lacks essential nutritional food articles like fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc., the report said, “a healthy meal becomes unaffordable if it exceeds 63% of a person's income."
A recent report released by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Down to Earth magazine said, “Seventy-one percent of Indians cannot afford a healthy diet. The global average is 42 percent."
The diet of an average Indian typically lacks fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. The consumption of fish, dairy and red meat is within target, the report also said the Global Nutrition Report, 2021.
Referring to the diseases that are attributable to poor diet, the survey mentioned respiratory ailments, diabetes, cancer, strokes and coronary heart disease.
Why majority of Indians can't afford a healthy meal?
As per the Food and Agriculture Organisation, a healthy meal becomes unaffordable if it exceeds 63% of a person's income.
Adults above the aged 20 and above consume only 35.8g of fruit per day as against the recommended 200g and 168.7g of vegetables every day as against the minimum 300g that is advised.
Similarly, they consume just 24.9g per day (25% of target) of legumes and 3.2g (13% of target) of nuts per day.
"Despite some progress, diets are not getting healthier. Additionally, they are making increasing demands on the environment, even as unacceptable levels of malnutrition persist in the country," the report said.
“Follow the trend lines, not the headlines," said President Clinton.
Good news about what is going right in the world is hard sell today.
But look at the trend lines; more than a billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990. We have dramatically reduced people dying of tuberculosis and malaria on all continents. Infant mortality is going down.
The media once deemed flight, both in air and space, impossible or an act of egotism. Perhaps most infamously, the New York Times predicted that airplanes would take one to ten million years to develop. Merely nine weeks later, the Wright Brothers achieved manned flight. The pathologically cynical always will find a reason to complain.
According to the FAO, the average minimum daily energy requirement is about 1,800 kilocalories (7,500 kJ) per person.
Daily per capita calorie intake 2018
1 Ireland 3,885 2018
2 United States 3,782 2018
3 Belgium 3,769 2018
4 Turkey 3,711 2018
5 Austria 3,695 2018
6 Iceland 3,654 2018
7 Romania 3,581 2018
8 Canada 3,566 2018
9 Germany 3,554 2018
10 Poland 3,537 2018
119 Iraq 2,608 2018
120 Vanuatu 2,607 2018
121 Ecuador 2,606 2018
122 Niger 2,601 2018
123 Nicaragua 2,582 2018
124 Saint Kitts and Nevis 2,582 2018
125 Mongolia 2,579 2018
126 Sudan 2,578 2018
127 Nigeria 2,572 2018
128 Bangladesh 2,563 2018
129 Guatemala 2,551 2018
130 Senegal 2,545 2018
131 Cape Verde 2,541 2018
132 India 2,533 2018
133 Gambia 2,533 2018
134 Cambodia 2,492 2018
135 Pakistan 2,486 2018
136 Namibia 2,469 2018
137 São Tomé and Príncipe 2,446 2018
138 Antigua and Barbuda 2,445 2018
160 Haiti 2,121 2018
161 Venezuela 2,120 2018
162 Chad 2,115 2018
163 Tajikistan 2,109 2018
164 Mozambique 2,103 2018
165 Afghanistan 2,040 2018
166 North Korea 2,019 2018
167 Zambia 2,002 2018
168 Uganda 1,981 2018
169 Madagascar 1,938 2018
170 Zimbabwe 1,908 2018
171 Central African Republic 1,786 2018
Positive News | Good journalism about good things - Positive News
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As a magazine and a movement, we are changing the news for good.
But look at the trend lines; more than a billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990. We have dramatically reduced people dying of tuberculosis and malaria on all continents. Infant mortality is going down.
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.
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.
400 g per person per day
390 g per person per day
267 g per person per day
of healthy diet
3 billion people not able to afford a
3.9 million deaths attributable to
US$1.3 trillion diet-related yearly
health costs by 2030
Source: EPRS compilation from linked sources.
Table 3.8: Production of Automobiles
Category Installed Capacity No. of Units 2020-21(July-March) 2021-22(July-March) %Change
CAR 341,000 106,439 166,768 56.7
LCV/JEEPS/SUV/Pickup 52,000 22,512 32,341 43.7
BUS 5,000 445 459 3.1
TRUCK 28,500 2,509 4,445 77.2
TRACTOR 100,000 36,900 41,872 13.5
2/3 WHEELERS 2,500,000 1,439,535 1,388,669 -3.5
Source: Pakistan Automotive Manufacturer Association (PAMA)
Table-3.2: Production of selected industrial items of Large-Scale Manufacturing
S# Items Unit Weights July-March % Change % Point Contribution 2020-21 2021-22
1 Deepfreezers (Nos.) 0.167 68,947 84,205 22.13 0.04
2 Jeeps and Cars (Nos.) 2.715 114,617 177,757 55.09 1.41
3 Refrigerators (Nos.) 0.246 928,170 1,024,335 10.36 0.02
4 Upper leather (000 sq.m.) 0.398 13,324 10,966 -17.70 -0.06
5 Cement (000 tonnes) 4.650 37,619 36,543 -2.86 -0.21
6 Liquids/syrups (000 Litres) 1.617 86,212 144,638 67.77 1.30
7 Phos. fertilizers (N tonnes) 0.501 545,612 601,184 10.19 0.06
8 Tablets (000 Nos.) 2.725 20,380,940 14,695,108 -27.90 -0.85
9 Cooking oil (tonnes) 1.476 334,107 370,181 10.80 0.21
10 Nit. fertilizers (N tonnes) 3.429 2,450,066 2,505,757 2.27 0.09
11 Cotton cloth (000 sq.m.) 7.294 786,042 788,285 0.29 0.02
12 Vegetable ghee (tonnes) 1.375 1,087,827 1,060,111 -2.55 -0.05
13 Cotton yarn (tonnes) 8.882 2,577,675 2,594,690 0.66 0.07
14 Sugar (tonnes) 3.427 5,618,976 7,759,825 38.10 2.13
15 Tea blended (tonnes) 0.485 100,566 112,544 11.91 0.06
16 Petroleum Products* (000 Litres) 6.658 - - 2.10 0.01
17 Cigarettes (million No) 2.072 39,473 46,070
Pakistan's first ever end-to-end digital targeted subsidies program #Ehsaas Rashan Riayat (implementation of which was underway) has been closed down, which means 20 million eligible families will not have access to 30% monthly subsidy on 3 grocery items. https://bit.ly/3zawG1M
Each year, Pakistan spends billions of rupees in untargeted federal and provincial subsidies across sectors. Much of these government transfers are subject to elite capture, subsidizing producers, corporations, and middlemen instead of reaching the poorest households.
Earlier this year, Ehsaas sought to address this issue by launching the first-of-its-kind, end-to-end-digitized targeted commodity subsidy programme, called Ehsaas Rashan Riayat. The programme established infrastructure to deliver government subsidies directly to millions of deserving households.
Unfortunately, the current government has decided to end the programme as of July 1, 2022, and instead committed Rs16 billion in untargeted subsidy to be disbursed through Utility Stores. Utility Stores are meant to provide subsidized ‘rashan’ without any digital targeting or verification. This will open avenues for collusion and elite capture. Given fiscal constraints and double-digit inflation, which is placing a disproportionate burden on the poor, I would urge the federal government to reconsider its decision and use the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat mechanism, instead.
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat was launched after extensive stakeholder consultations and has several features, which can be a gamechanger to target support to poor households while minimizing likelihood of corruption or elite capture. To make sure that public money is targeted, the programme created objective criteria for beneficiary eligibility, based on socioeconomic conditions drawing on data infrastructure of the 2021 National Socioeconomic Registry.
The backbone of the programme is the nationwide network of kiryana, Utility, and CSD stores, which were leveraged for disbursing the subsidy, instead of creating new distribution channels. Through an extensive process of engagement with merchant unions, visits to multiple cities, social mobilization, and grassroots awareness campaigns, the programme achieved a retail outlet footprint in 84 per cent of districts across Pakistan, to develop a network of 15,000+ merchants. This helped us reach the poorest families by mobilizing distribution channels wherever they lived. The plan was to reach more than 50,000 merchants by the end of the 2022 calendar year.
A key feature of the programme was to digitize the entire network of participating stores. These stores were linked in real-time through a mobile app of the National Bank of Pakistan, which was used to conduct subsidy transactions, with the subsidy given as a digital voucher. This programme enabled small, often informal kiryana stores to become more technologically savvy. Additionally, by connecting these merchants in an online database and geotagging them, the programme started digitally documenting a previously undocumented part of the economy.
The programme improved financial inclusion for thousands of unbanked small merchants by facilitating the opening of bank accounts. These merchants were reimbursed for the subsidy disbursed, in near real-time, through an entirely digital payment mechanism. These small merchants were to get access to banking services, including saving, transacting, and using other financial instruments, which could help further scale their businesses.
Pakistan's first ever end-to-end digital targeted subsidies program #Ehsaas Rashan Riayat (implementation of which was underway) has been closed down, which means 20 million eligible families will not have access to 30% monthly subsidy on 3 grocery items. https://bit.ly/3zawG1M
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat was also meant to provide an ecosystem where cash recipients of Ehsaas benefits could potentially transition into digital payment practices, thus eliminating pilferage and interplay of extractive middlemen.
The underlying digital ecosystem that was set up as part of this programme was agile and had immense potential to be scaled even further. Initially, we used a demand-based model in which people had to SMS a request. The next model was based on pre-qualification of all the eligible beta families, developing pools of CNICs and corresponding registered SIMS for each eligible beta family, allowing any family member to visit their nearest merchant with their phone and CNIC to avail of the subsidy, without the need to register or wait weeks for verification. Just before I left office, I convened a steering committee meeting to approve detailed modalities of the new registration model.
If the programme is continued, its infrastructure could also be utilized to expand the range of subsidized commodities. Other household food essentials – beyond wheat, pulses, and cooking oil – could be added with minor backend changes in the program’s infrastructure. The monthly subsidy amount can be increased. The plan was to use the system beyond groceries, for subsidies on fuel and outpatient healthcare assistance, which is not covered by health insurance.
Our country faces economically challenging times, where drastic measures will be needed to address the far-reaching effects of the rising fiscal deficit. Ehsaas Rashan Riayat provides an opportunity for the government to take the lead in exercising fiscal prudence and to phase out untargeted subsidies, in favour of targeted support to households that need it most while at the same time address corruption.
The government must reconsider its decision and continue the operation and expansion of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat in the public interest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Imports of soybean, canola and palm oil are expected to hold steady at 3.4 million tonnes. No growth is expected in edible oil imports for 2022-23 and are forecast at 3.7 million tonnes(accounting for 70% of total cooking oil consumption in Pakistan). Soybean and rapeseed imports for 2022-23 are forecast to remain on par with the previous year at 2.6 million and 0.8 million tonnes, respectively. While facing significant price pressure and potential for disruption in supplies from key exporters, palm oil is forecast to remain the major imported oil, with imports forecast at 3.6 million tonnes.
Due to slight increases in area and sugarcane yields, sugar production in 2022/23 is forecast to reach 7.2 million metric tons (MMT), a marginal increase over the good 2021/22 crop. Sugar consumption for 2022/23 is forecast at 6.1 MMT, which would be a 3.3 percent increase, reflecting population growth and demand from the expanding food processing sector. The production estimate for 2021/22 is increased reflecting the excellent crop last year. As a result, ending stocks are higher, leading to a larger exportable surplus entering 2022/23. Due to the large stocks, and competitive prices, sugar exports are forecast to reach one million tons in 2022/23.
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.
Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz
Pakistan’s growing population is seeing an increased demand for wheat. However, the production of the commodity is not rising at a proportional rate. Pakistan’s 2020-21 marketing year wheat production is expected to decrease to 25.2 million tons due to the impact of untimely rain at harvesting. Despite having fertile lands and bumper wheat crops, Pakistan had to import four million tons of wheat last year. South Asian country has undergone a historic shift from being an exporter of wheat to a major importer of wheat. Agricultural experts of Pakistan have called upon the government to impose a ban on wheat exports of local grains amid serious repercussion of the Russia-Ukraine war, which will disrupt the supply of wheat in the international market. A farmer’s lobby group, has suggested the government to maintain wheat stocks through procurement during the on-going harvest and put a stop to wheat exports. It should be noted that Ukraine is the third largest exporter of wheat, holding at least 12% share in the global export market for the staple grain. The war in Ukraine will push the prices higher and opportunists might sell off the food security to fill their coffers. The escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine will have a serious economic fallout, effects of which have already started to show in Pakistan. Local prices of gasoline, food, commodities, and steel and semiconductor chips are witnessing a major increase. Pakistan is the seventh-largest market in the Middle East, African, and South Asian regions, as measured in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). It has the second-largest economy in South Asia, after India. The economy has been growing slowly over the past two decades. However, the containment measures adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a severe contraction in economic activity.
Pakistan has bought wheat regularly in the global market in recent months to boost domestic supply and cool prices. Pakistan’s MY 2020/21 wheat imports are estimated at 3.4 MMT.
Production of rice in 2021-22 is forecast at 7.8 million tonnes, up from 7.6 million the year before. Exports of rice in 2021-22 are put at 4.2 million tonnes, up from 4 million.
The IGC also forecasts Pakistan’s imports of rapeseed at 900,000 tonnes, unchanged from the previous year.
In an annual report on June 24, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) attaché puts Pakistan’s maize production in 2021-22 at a record 7.9 million tonnes, up from 7.8 million the previous year.
“Wheat is Pakistan’s largest crop, in terms of area sown and is grown under different agro-ecological zones,” the attaché explained. “In irrigated areas, wheat is planted after cotton, rice, and sugarcane, while in rainfed areas wheat is grown at the same time as maize and millet.
“Sowing of wheat takes place from October to December and harvests from the month of 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 or ‘Rabi’ season.”
The attaché added, “Wheat is Pakistan’s main dietary staple. Pakistan has a variety of traditional flat breads, often prepared in a traditional clay oven called a tandoor.”
Wheat flour contributes 72% of calorific intake, with per capita wheat consumption at around 124 kilograms per person each year, one of the highest levels in the world. About 95% of wheat used in Pakistan goes for human consumption.
“As incomes increase and a stronger middle class emerges, consumers are gradually shifting toward more dairy, meat, and other higher-value food products in their diet,” the report said. “Over the long term, this shift to a more balanced diet has the potential to limit the pace of growth in wheat consumption.”
Evidence from Pakistan
SANIA SHAHEEN, LAL K. ALMAS, MUHAMMAD USMAN
Since 1975, 27% increase in
total area and 52% increase in yield per hectare for
wheat are reported. While, 33% increase in wheat
availability per capita was deemed insufficient. In
this situation, imports of wheat were the most
apparent result due to higher growth of population.
To fulfill the dream of food self-sufficiency,
government facilitated farmers by providing high
yielding varieties, fertilizers at a subsidized rate,
irrigation water at a lower rate than tube well water
etc. Though, these facilities have not been able to
reach the desire level of output mainly due to (i)
poor economic conditions of the farmers, lack of
knowledge on the latest useful techniques and
advancement. (ii) low price of production at
harvesting time made the farmers insecure about
investments they have done for inputs. (iii)
inappropriate land levelling along with late sowing
resulted in lower production. (iv) Insufficiency,
inequity, and unreliability in water distribution are
mutually affect the farmers irrigation calendars for
the wheat crop. Water stress to wheat at sensitive
stages, hinders the entire effort of production .
Selected Countries in Asia and Africa:
Implications for Wheat Supply by 2030 and 2050
Khondoker Abdul Mottaleb, Kai Sonder, Santiago López Ridaura and Ayman Frija
Wheat is the principal staple crop of Pakistan. In
TE2018, the country’s yearly per capita total wheat
consumption was 110 kg, supplying a daily per capita
calorie intake of 920 kcal and constituting 37% of the
total daily calorie intake per person. Since the 1990s,
yearly per capita wheat consumption in Pakistan has
been on a slight decline (Figure 1). While the country’s
wheat yield falls below the world average (Table 1),
Pakistan has been highly successful in achieving
wheat self-sufficiency, thanks to several strategic
imports (Figure 2). In 2019, the country produced
more than 24 million t of wheat with a yield of 2.8 t/ha
from 8.7 million ha of land. The output was enough to
meet 99% of Pakistan’s total wheat demand for 2019
For China, Rozelle and Huang (1998) projected that
considering low- and high-income growth, yearly
per capita wheat consumption in China would fall
between 80-83 kg by 2020. In 2018 however, actual
yearly per capita wheat consumption was 64 kg
(FAOSTAT, 2021a). For Pakistan, applying the AIDS
model estimation procedure and using the Household
Integrated Economic Survey 2007-08 datasets, Nazil
et al., (2012) forecasted that by 2019-20, yearly per
capita wheat consumption for Pakistan would fall
between 115-118 kg and the total demand for wheat
will be 24.2 million t. In 2018 however, actual yearly
per capita wheat consumption in Pakistan was 110
kg and the total wheat consumption was 23.3 million
t (FAOSTAT, 2021a). This demonstrates that the
majority of wheat consumption forecasts fall short
in reality and highlights the need for consumption
forecasting that uses innovative methods and models.
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
Fish production (800,000 tons) in Pakistan increasing mainly contributed by rising number of inland farms (300,000)
-------The average minimum dietary energy requirement varies by country—from about 1,660 to more than 2,050 kilocalories (commonly, albeit incorrectly, referred to as calories) per person per day for all countries with available data in 2020 (FAO 2021). For previous GHI calculations, see von Grebmer et al.
First, for each country, values are determined for four indicators:
UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient);
CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition);
CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and
CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).
Second, each of the four component indicators is given a standardized score on a 100-point scale based on the highest observed level for the indicator on a global scale in recent decades.
Third, standardized scores are aggregated to calculate the GHI score for each country, with each of the three dimensions (inadequate food supply; child mortality; and child undernutrition, which is composed equally of child stunting and child wasting) given equal weight (the formula for calculating GHI scores is provided in Appendix B).
This three-step process results in GHI scores on a 100-point GHI Severity Scale, where 0 is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst. In practice, neither of these extremes is reached. A value of 0 would mean that a country had no undernourished people in the population, no children younger than five who were wasted or stunted, and no children who died before their fifth birthday. A value of 100 would signify that a country’s undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting, and child mortality levels were each at approximately the highest levels observed worldwide in recent decades. The GHI Severity Scale shows the severity of hunger—from low to extremely alarming—associated with the range of possible GHI scores.
WHAT IS MEANT BY “HUNGER”?
The problem of hunger is complex, and different terms are used to describe its various forms.
Hunger is usually understood to refer to the distress associated with a lack of sufficient calories. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines food deprivation, or undernourishment, as the consumption of too few calories to provide the minimum amount of dietary energy that each individual requires to live a healthy and productive life, given that person’s sex, age, stature, and physical activity level.
Undernutrition goes beyond calories and signifies deficiencies in any or all of the following: energy, protein, and/ or essential vitamins and minerals. Undernutrition is the result of inadequate intake of food in terms of either quantity or quality, poor utilization of nutrients due to infections or other illnesses, or a combination of these factors. These, in turn, are caused by a range of factors, including household food insecurity; inadequate maternal health or childcare practices; or inadequate access to health services, safe water, and sanitation.
Malnutrition refers more broadly to both undernutrition (problems caused by deficiencies) and overnutrition (problems caused by unbalanced diets, such as consuming too many calories in relation to requirements with or without low intake of micronutrient-rich foods).
In this report, “hunger” refers to the index based on four component indicators. Taken together, the component indicators reflect deficiencies in calories as well as in micronutrients.
Noted columnists in India have also commented on how a faulty metric, which is based on four measures or indicators (none of which actually measure hunger) is creating a flawed narrative against India9,10. Prominent researchers have commented that the GHI exaggerates the measure of hunger, lacks statistical vigour10, has a problem of multiple counts11,12, and gives higher representation to under-five children. The measurement of hunger is complex and should not be oversimplified, as in the GHI13. Therefore, the use of alternative approaches should be considered to evaluate hunger14,15. In view of these issues, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Health Research of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, constituted in 2019 an Expert Committee to review the indicators used in the GHI. The deliberations of this Committee are presented here, and it is argued that the four indicators used in the GHI, [undernourishment, stunting, wasting and child mortality (CM)] do not measure hunger per se, as these are not the manifestations of hunger alone.
About the GHI
The GHI is a weighted average derived from four indicators1. These are (i) the PUN, or proportion of the population that is undernourished, calculated as the proportion of the population that has an energy intake less than the FAO Minimum Dietary Energy Requirement (MDER) of 1800 calories/capita/day1; (ii) CWA, or the prevalence of wasting in children under five years old, estimated as the percentage of children aged 0-59 months, whose weight for height is below minus two standard deviations (-2SD) from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards1; (iii) CST, or the prevalence of stunting in children under five years old, estimated as the percentage of children, aged 0-59 months, whose height for age is below -2SD from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards; and (iv) CM, or the proportion of children dying before the age of five, estimated as the proportion of child deaths between birth and five years of age, generally expressed per 1000 live births. As per the justification mentioned in the GHI report1 for using these indicators, the PUN indicator captures the nutrition situation of the entire population while the other indicators are specific to under-five children (CWA, CST and CM) in which the adverse effects assume greater importance. The inclusion of both wasting and stunting (CWA and CST) is intended to allow the GHI to consider both acute and chronic undernutrition.
The Modi government has questioned the methodology of the Global Hunger Index. But undernutrition is one of the leading factors of child mortality in India.
The Global Hunger Index 2021 is basically about undernutrition. It provides us an opportunity to introspect on why India’s performance is not as good as what our economic growth should have ensured. Rather than doing that, the Narendra Modi government has chosen to question the methodology of one particular indicator used in the report to assess the level of undernourishment. It is true that at its core, the Hunger Index is primarily an indicator of child undernutrition and mortality. While it does estimate the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU), its weightage in the index is only one third. The other three components of the index relate to the percentage of children under five years who show wasting, stunting, and child mortality (percentage of children who die before reaching five years of age). Dipa Sinha has explained the methodology of index in this article in The Hindu.
India collects its own data on health and nutrition that is widely considered to be credible and extremely useful. The fifth round of the National Family Health Survey was conducted in 2019-20 and its findings were released in December 2020. However, data for Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh was not included in the first phase so the all-India performance is not yet known. The survey found that the progress is worse than expected, and stunting, reflective of chronic malnutrition, has increased in 11 out of the 17 states surveyed. Wasting, indicative of acute malnutrition, has also increased in 13 of these 17 states. Such malnourished children are more vulnerable to illness and disease. The percentage of underweight children has gone up in 11 of the 17 states. In Bihar and Gujarat, 40 per cent of children under the age of five, were underweight.
Undernutrition is one of the leading risk factors for child mortality in India, accounting for 68.2 per cent of total under-five deaths (10.4 lakh) in 2017. Children with severe undernutrition are at high risk of dying from diarrhoea, pneumonia, and malaria.
Rizwan Qaisar &
Epidemiology of stunting in < 5 years old is well characterized; however, its prevalence in adolescence is inconsistent in different geographical locations. We estimated the prevalence of stunting in schoolgirls of Punjab, Pakistan, to standardize local references according to international and national references. In this population-wide cross-sectional study, 10,050 schoolgirls aged 8–16 years from 12 different districts of northern, central, and southern Punjab were analyzed. The prevalence of stunting was calculated by applying Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) height-for-age references and the local reference for the study population. We used Cohen’s kappa statistics to analyze the agreement of our data with reference values, and chi-square test was used as the test of trend. Marked overestimation of the prevalence of stunting was observed (22.72% and 17.49% according to CDC and WHO, respectively) in comparison to local reference (4.94%). According to CDC and WHO references, there was an increasing trend of prevalence of stunting with higher age; however, data was comparable across all the age groups when local references were applied. We recommend that the prevalence of stunting in school-age girls should be determined by applying local height references rather than international ones to plan health strategies and treatments in the local population.
The mean age of 10,050 schoolgirls included in this study was 12.7 ± 2.29 years (Mean ± SD). The overall prevalence of stunting in the study population using two international references is described in Fig. 1A. Overall, the percentage of girls with normal height in different age groups under study was quite similar (77.28% and 82.51%, respectively). The prevalence of stunted girls in our study cohort was 22.72% and 17.49%, according to CDC and WHO, respectively. The prevalence of stunting was similar for younger girls (8, 9 years) according to CDC and WHO, higher among girls of 10–12 years according to WHO compared to CDC and highest among girls of 13–16 years of age according to CDC compared to WHO reference (Table 1, Fig. 1A). When we applied the local height-for-age cut-offs obtained from our study population, a significantly higher percentage of the girls had standard height (95.06%, p ˂ 0.05, Table 1). The overall prevalence of stunting was markedly lower (4.94%, p ˂ 0.05, Fig. 1A) in all age groups when using the local reference, compared to CDC and WHO references. However, among 8-year-old girls, the prevalence of stunting was comparable to all the three references applied. A notable finding was the increasing trend of prevalence of stunting with increasing age when CDC and WHO references were applied. However, no such trend was observed when the local cut-offs were applied (Fig. 1A). We compared the height values obtained from our cumulative study cohort with CDC and WHO references and used kappa correlation to assess the degrees of agreement between these references and local references. There was poor agreement between the local reference in comparison with CDC and WHO (κ = 0.163, 0.325 respectively) references.
On average, the Indian total calorie intake is approximately 2,200 kcals per person per day, 12 per cent lower than the EAT-Lancet reference diet's recommended level.
Compared to an influential diet for promoting human and planetary health, the diets of average Indians are considered unhealthy comprising excess consumption of cereals, but not enough consumption of proteins, fruits and vegetables, said a new study.Also Read - Autistic Pride Day 2020: Diet Rules For Kids With Autism
The findings by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and CGIAR research program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) broadly apply across all states and income levels, underlining the challenges many Indians face in obtaining healthy diets.
“The EAT-Lancet diet is not a silver bullet for the myriad nutrition and environmental challenges food systems currently present, but it does provide a useful guide for evaluating how healthy and sustainable Indian diets are,” said the lead author of the research article, A4NH Program Manager Manika Sharma. Also Read - Experiencing Hair Fall? Include These Super-foods in Your Daily Diet ASAP
“At least on the nutrition front we find Indian diets to be well below optimal.”
The EAT-Lancet reference diet, published by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, and Health, implies that transforming eating habits, improving food production and reducing food wastage is critical to feed a future population of 10 billion a healthy diet within planetary boundaries.
While the EAT-Lancet reference diet recommends eating large shares of plant-based foods and little to no processed meat and starchy vegetables, the research demonstrates that incomes and preferences in India are driving drastically different patterns of consumption.
BJP rule has seen undernourished population increase from 14.9% to 15.5% of population https://science.thewire.in/health/narendra-modi-malnutrition-bhajan/ via @TheWireScience
In the 92nd episode of ‘Mann ki Baat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said conducting bhajans can be part of the solutions to reducing malnutrition.
Cultural and traditional practices are not harmful. But it is in bad faith to make them part of habits that sideline tested and approved solutions to crucial welfare issues.
The statement also distracts from the fact that in Modi’s time as prime minister, India has come to account for a quarter of all undernourished people worldwide
There is much evidence in the public domain that says the availability, accessibility and affordability of good-quality food is crucial to improve the nutritional and health status of India’s people. There is nothing, however, about bhajans.
Many scholars and scientists have often criticised Prime Minister Modi for his irrational claims on many occasions. Reminiscent of his “taali, thali and Diwali” campaign as the COVID-19 pandemic was gaining strength, Modi’s comment on bhajans only distracts from the dire importance of effective public health measures – even as the rate of improvement of some important indicators have slid in his time at the helm.
Cultural and traditional practices are not harmful. But it is in bad faith to make them part of habits that sideline tested and approved solutions to crucial welfare issues.
In his monologue, Modi narrated a story of how people of a community in Madhya Pradesh each contribute a small quantity of grains, using which a meal is prepared for everyone one day a week. However, he shifted the focus at this point to devotional music in bhajan–kirtans – organised under the ‘Mera Bachha’ campaign – instead of dwelling on the role of Indigenous food cultures. This is counterproductive.
More malnourished children
India’s National Family Health Surveys (NFHS) and Comprehensive National Nutrition Surveys have documented the high prevalence of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency among India’s children, adolescents and women. The recently published NFHS-5 results reported a high prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweightedness among children younger than five years and that they have declined only marginally in the last five years.
A public-health approach to malnutrition requires us to pay attention to a large variety of socioeconomic conditions. In this regard, while many of Prime Minister Modi’s other comments in his monologue are well-taken, especially about public participation, neither the need for context-specific interventions nor for evidence-based policies are served by misplaced allusions to bhajans and kirtans.
More than two billion people globally suffer from ‘hidden hunger’, simply put, micronutrient deficiencies. Protein, calcium, iron, zinc and essential vitamins such as Vit D, Vit B12 that the body requires to function
For the longest time, hunger has been associated with the poor. Malnutrition is a term, we are all used to by now, especially in developing nations. However, the sound of ‘urban hunger’ may ring an unfamiliar bell in most ears. The urbanites or city dwellers are known for access and affordability yet there is a growing hunger for nutrition being cited in research today.
As per the comprehensive National Nutrition survey (CNNS 2016-2018) conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the percentage of the population with iron deficiency has been reported to be highest at 27 per cent in the richest sector for both 5-9 and 10-19 years of Indian children and adolescents. Same is the case with Folate, Vit D, Vit B12, and Zinc deficiency.
More than two billion people globally suffer from ‘hidden hunger’, simply put, micronutrient deficiencies. Protein, calcium, iron, zinc and essential vitamins such as Vit D, Vit B12 that the body requires to function. To put it in a closer-home perspective, it could be 7 out of 10 Indians. India has recorded a triple burden of malnutrition with 189 million suffering from undernutrition, 135 million impacted by over nutrition and a whopping 700 million lacking some form of micronutrient deficiency.
Despite being highlighted as one the most cost-effective investments for human development, progress on addressing micronutrient deficiencies or mind has not shown an upward trend in recent years.
Hidden hunger does not allow children to reach their growth potential. 22 per cent of children and adolescents remain affected by stunting or low height for age and 24 per cent by wasting or low weight for height. The key micronutrient gap is not only a problem of the poor but also a big problem for middle and rich households; the problem deteriorates as kids grow older. This is also one of the reasons for instances of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension is on the rise among adolescents.
India is a predominantly cereal-consuming nation and lacks a balanced diet. Keep in mind that Indian meals are big but not balanced, with big gaps in nutrient density. Fussy eating in younger children and unhealthy eating habits in older children are fueling gaps in nutrient intake, leading to poor nutritional status and early onset of NCDs.
Some more facts or key nutrition concerns cited by national data sets:
5 vital micronutrient deficiencies reported in both urban and rural children between 1-
One in 2 adolescents suffer from at least 2/5 micronutrient deficiencies – (Iron,
Folate, B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Zinc)
Protein intake, especially in terms of quality, is still a big concern. Diets are
predominantly carbohydrate centric and lack diversity from dairy, pulses etc.
Bioavailability especially of minerals like iron, zinc is poor from a plant-based diet
Consumption of animal-based foods- milk, meat, eggs still low in the country leading
to poor nutritional status in nutrients like protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12 etc.
Also, there is increased consumption of salt and sugar in the country along with junk foods or packaged foods, or outside food. Data shows increased consumption of 119 per cent more salt than the WHO recommendation and 180 per cent more sugar than the prescribed limit. The world of nutrition is still greek to Indian consumers which hinders their purchase choices.
The impact of this unsolved burden of malnutrition is huge. It leads to loss of productivity, illness, and increased healthcare costs, even may prove to be fatal with a loss of a minimum of 1 per cent of India’s GDP, approximately Rs.160K cr.
Meats, poultry, and seafood are richest in heme iron. Fortified grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and vegetables contain non-heme iron. In the U.S. many breads, cereals, and infant formulas are fortified with iron.
Iron is an important mineral that helps maintain healthy blood. A lack of iron is called iron-deficiency anemia, which affects about 4-5 million Americans yearly.  It is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, causing extreme fatigue and lightheadedness. It affects all ages, with children, women who are pregnant or menstruating, and people receiving kidney dialysis among those at highest risk for this condition.
Iron is a major component of hemoglobin, a type of protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to all parts of the body. Without enough iron, there aren’t enough red blood cells to transport oxygen, which leads to fatigue. Iron is also part of myoglobin, a protein that carries and stores oxygen specifically in muscle tissues. Iron is important for healthy brain development and growth in children, and for the normal production and function of various cells and hormones.
Iron from food comes in two forms: heme and non-heme. Heme is found only in animal flesh like meat, poultry, and seafood. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens. Non-heme iron is also found in animal flesh (as animals consume plant foods with non-heme iron) and fortified foods.
Iron is stored in the body as ferritin (in the liver, spleen, muscle tissue, and bone marrow) and is delivered throughout the body by transferrin (a protein in blood that binds to iron). A doctor may sometimes check blood levels of these two components if anemia is suspected.
Sources of heme iron:
Oysters, clams, mussels
Beef or chicken liver
Canned light tuna
Sources of non-heme iron:
Fortified breakfast cereals
Dark chocolate (at least 45%)
Potato with skin
Enriched rice or bread
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.
In the 2022 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 107th out of the 121 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2022 GHI scores. With a score of 29.1, India has a level of hunger that is serious.
India also ranks below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99). Afghanistan (109) is the only country in South Asia that performs worse than India on the index.
India ranks 107th among 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index, in which it fares worse than all countries in South Asia barring war-torn Afghanistan.
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels. GHI scores are based on the values of four component indicators — undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality. Countries are divided into five categories of hunger on the basis of their score, which are ‘low’, ‘moderate’, ‘serious’, ‘alarming’ and ‘extremely alarming’.
Based on the values of the four indicators, a GHI score is calculated on a 100-point scale reflecting the severity of hunger, where zero is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.
India’s score of 29.1 places it in the ‘serious’ category. India also ranks below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99). Afghanistan (109) is the only country in South Asia that performs worse than India on the index.
Seventeen countries, including China, are collectively ranked between 1 and 17 for having a score of less than five.
India’s child wasting rate (low weight for height), at 19.3%, is worse than the levels recorded in 2014 (15.1%) and even 2000 (17.15), and is the highest for any country in the world and drives up the region’s average owing to India’s large population.
Prevalence of undernourishment, which is a measure of the proportion of the population facing chronic deficiency of dietary energy intake, has also risen in the country from 14.6% in 2018-2020 to 16.3% in 2019-2021. This translates into 224.3 million people in India considered undernourished.
But India has shown improvement in child stunting, which has declined from 38.7% to 35.5% between 2014 and 2022, as well as child mortality which has also dropped from 4.6% to 3.3% in the same comparative period. On the whole, India has shown a slight worsening with its GHI score increasing from 28.2 in 2014 to 29.1 in 2022. Though the GHI is an annual report, the rankings are not comparable across different years. The GHI score for 2022 can only be compared with scores for 2000, 2007 and 2014..
Globally, progress against hunger has largely stagnated in recent years. The 2022 GHI score for the world is considered “moderate”, but at 18.2 in 2022 is only a slight improvement from 19.1 in 2014. This is due to overlapping crises such as conflict, climate change, the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Ukraine war, which has increased global food, fuel and fertiliser prices and is expected to "worsen hunger in 2023 and beyond."
The prevalence of undernourishment, one of the four indicators, shows that the share of people who lack regular access to sufficient calories is increasing and that 828 million people were undernourished globally in 2021.
There are 44 countries that currently have “serious” or “alarming” hunger levels and “without a major shift, neither the world as a whole nor approximately 46 countries are projected to achieve even low hunger as measured by the GHI by 2030,” notes the report.
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.
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
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.
• Headline inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased in October 2022 by 4.71% over September 2022 and increased by 26.56% over October 2021. CPI food inflation in October 2022 increased by 36.24% over October 2021.
• In October 2022, prices increased for staple cereals including wheat flour (+7.4%), wheat (+3.8%), rice Irri-6 (+7.0%) and rice Basmati (+1.6%) compared to September 2022.
• Among non-cereal food commodities, price increased for pulse Moong (+2.4%) from the previous month.
On the other hand, prices decreased for pulse Masoor (-12.0%), live chicken (-3.4%), cooking oil (-2.4%), pulse Mash (-2.1%), vegetable ghee (-1.7%) and pulse Gram (-1.1%) from September 2022.
• A comparison of pre-flood (June) and post-flood (October) prices of some food commodities indicated huge increase in prices; for instance, tomatoes increased by up to 199%, onions 79%, pulse moong 48%, potatoes 43% and wheat flour 38%.
• Average Terms of Trade (ToT) for October 2022, measuring the amount of wheat flour that can be purchased with one-day of casual unskilled labour wage, worsened by 6.5% from the previous month. It was recorded at 12.5 kg of wheat flour compared to 13.4 kg the previous month.
• The retail prices of automotive fuels in comparison to September 2022 decreased during October 2022 i.e.,
Super Petrol (-4.7%) and High-Speed Diesel (-4.9%).
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.
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.
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.
The year 2022 was not a walk in the park for both the producers and the consumers of palm oil. The year saw historic highs and record lows in the palm oil market causing volatility and at times losses as well.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan imported Palm and Soybean oil in excess of $3.3 billion this year. This is a 33% increase as opposed to the FY21. Despite import restrictions in place. Pakistan has already imported a considerably larger amount of palm and soybean oil between Jul-Nov in FY23, than it did in FY22.
Being such a major import, the prices of palm oil are almost as important as any other global commodity. Let us have a look at how the prices of Palm oil were affected throughout the last year, and how that can act as a lesson for the years to come.
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.”
MUMBAI, April 19 (Reuters) - Indian buyers have opted to cancel 75,000 tonnes of palm oil purchases for the first time in many years and switch to rival soft oils, such as sunflower oil and soyoil, five industry officials told Reuters.
Palm oil usually trades at a discount to soft oils, but import restrictions by top producer Indonesia have helped to push palm oil to a premium, making sun oil and soyoil more attractive to buyers.
This has prompted some Indian buyers to reduce purchases of palm oil for May shipments and increase soft oil imports. They can do this via mutual agreements with importers to cancel the sales - a process known locally as a "wash out".
This allows a buyer to sell back a product to the seller based on a pricing formula that includes the prevailing market price.
Lower palm oil imports by India, the world's biggest buyer of vegetable oils, could weigh on Malaysian palm oil prices , but support soyoil and sunflower oil prices.
A few buyers decided to opt for a wash out because of negative margins prevailing in the local market, said Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive of Sunvin Group, a vegetable oil brokerage and consultancy firm.
Crude palm oil (CPO) imports are currently being offered at about $1,050 a tonne, including cost, insurance and freight (CIF), in India for May delivery, while palm oil imported in the past few months is now priced between $1,000 to $1,010, dealers said.
Wash outs are relatively rare in the Indian vegetable oil industry and the quantity is usually small at around 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house.
"Big wash out is happening because of unusual price movement in palm oil. It has been rising even as other oils are falling in the past few months," said the Mumbai-based dealer.
Price-sensitive Asian buyers traditionally rely on palm oil because of low costs and quick shipping times. But palm oil has moved to a premium at the same time as soft oil prices have dropped, partly due to a record rapeseed crop.
Palm oil's discount to rival oils was much as $500 in the December quarter, but now it is holding a rare premium of more than $30 per tonne over sunoil for May shipments, dealers said.
Indian buyers are replacing palm oil with soyoil and sunflower oil for shipments in May, said Rajesh Patel, managing partner at GGN Research.
India's palm oil imports in May could fall to 700,000 tonnes, compared with an average monthly import of 879,000 tonnes so far in 2022/23 marketing year ending on Oct. 31, dealers said.
India buys palm oil mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It imports soybean and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Despite slight increases expected for wheat production and imports in Pakistan, consumption is forecast to outstrip supply in marketing year 2023-24 in the country with the world’s fifth largest population, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Although a slight reduction in planted area is anticipated, wheat production in Pakistan is projected to increase 2% to 27 million tonnes, with wheat yield expected to rise due to favorable weather conditions and better availability of irrigation water. However, wheat consumption is forecast to increase 3% in 2023-24, the USDA said, in one of the fastest growing countries in the world with a population of 233 million. The shortage of wheat, which accounts for 72% of Pakistan’s daily caloric intake, has caused a flour-availability and affordability crisis in Pakistan.
“High inflation has made it difficult for consumers to afford milk and meat, reversing the trend of more protein and less carbohydrates in the diet,” the USDA said. “As a result, consumption of wheat flour-based products is rebounding.”
But the supply is not rebounding at the same rate, in part due to the weather, the Russia-Ukraine war and other factors, causing many of the country’s citizens to wait in long lines in hopes of getting a bag of government-subsidized flour. Dozens of people have been trampled to death or injured in recent weeks when crowds have rushed forward to try to get the flour.
According to a recent World Food Programme report, the prices for staple cereals, pulses, and non-cereal food commodities continue to increase in Pakistan. It noted that the price of wheat flour has increased by 74% year-on-year.
“The price of wheat and wheat flour has continued to increase in the country due to various factors, including the tight supply of private wheat, hoarding and profiteering,” the WFP report said.
Abstract Background: A healthy diet in the adolescence period is essential for physical, mental, and immunological development. We aimed to assess macronutrient consumption in the diet of adolescent school children using 24 h recalls in four seasons of the year. Method: This was a longitudinal study conducted from February 2014 to June 2015. The study population included 155 school children aged 7–14 years from an urban school in Karachi. 24HR recall was conducted on 4 random days of the 4 main seasons. A food composition table was developed where the weight, calories, carbohydrate, fat, and protein content of the food items were listed. Macronutrients quantifcation was calculated by using proportional weight from the food composition table. Food groups were also assigned to each food item including vegetables, fruits, grains, protein foods, dairy products, and oils. Results: A total of 155 adolescent children aged between 7 and 14 years were approached. Out of the 155 preadolescents and adolescents, 150 (96.7%) agreed to participate. The mean (SD) age of the children was 11.31 (1.6) years, and 59% of all the children were males. Overall mean (SD) daily intake for all seasons was 195.31 (86.87) grams of carbohydrates, 94.77 (71.87) grams of proteins, and 55.87 (30.79) grams of fats. Carbohydrates formed 48.16%, protein 21.92%, and fat 29.93% of the total caloric intake. The mean (SD) daily caloric intake was 1517 (644) grams. Overall, the highest source of calories was from carbohydrate 781 (347) Kilocalories (Kcal), followed by fat 502 (277) Kcal and protein 379 (287). The Carbohydrate intake in 24 h was highest in the autumn; 212.81 (85.37), and there was a signifcant diference in carbohydrate intake in all seasons (p value 0.003). Consumption of discretionary food group was high (31.3%), and consumption of fruits and vegetables was low (29%). Conclusion: The study reports a suboptimal caloric intake of fewer than 2000 cal/day among the adolescents from school. The highest source of calories was from carbohydrates.The highest consumption of food was in autumn and the least in summer. Fruits and vegetable intake was low, and discretionary food intake was high.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At the lowest income levels, food is consumed in its most basic form as whole grain or in simple porridges. As incomes rise, that grain is increasingly consumed indirectly – it could be baked into bread or fed to animals for meat production. Each subsequent stage requires further processing, as well as additional ingredients such as oil and sugar to complete formulations.
exponential increases in higher-value food consumption take hold as incomes grow from US$1,000 and US$10,000 before plateauing above US$20,000. A large, young and rapidly growing population base with incomes rising from modest to median levels makes an ideal environment for agricultural commodity demand growth.
India recently overtook China as the world’s most populous country, according to UN projections. Around one in three people on the planet now lives within the borders of these two nations.
The media frenzy surrounding the revelation centred on the economic implications of India’s new status, much to the chagrin of the Chinese authorities. The question now arises as to what this means for the global agricultural market.
Since the dawn of the Malthusian spectre, population growth has been associated with a reduction in living standards. As the theory goes, populations grow faster than the resources required to feed them.
China has been able to defy that thesis in the past two decades, combining a growing population with consistent income growth. It has become the largest buyer of key agricultural commodities to ensure its inhabitants enjoy a diversified diet.
China is now a top importer of the most widely traded crops globally: soybeans, vegetable oil, corn and sugar. With that, Beijing wields enormous influence in this space. Chinese demand has caused explosive growth in South American soybean production, leading Brazil to pass the United States as the world’s leading producer of soybeans and prompting Argentina to become the top exporter of soybean meal.
Due to slight increases in area and sugarcane yields, sugar production in 2022/23 is forecast to reach 7.2 million metric tons (MMT), a marginal increase over the good 2021/22 crop. Sugar consumption for 2022/23 is forecast at 6.1 MMT (approx 26 Kg per person) , which would be a 3.3 percent increase, reflecting population growth and demand from the expanding food processing sector. The production estimate for 2021/22 is increased reflecting the excellent crop last year. As a result, ending stocks are higher, leading to a larger exportable surplus entering 2022/23. Due to the large stocks, and competitive prices, sugar exports are forecast to reach one million tons in 2022/23
Sugar production/consumption in India
Assuming normal rainfall and favorable weather conditions, India’s centrifugal sugar production in marketing year (MY) 2021/22 (October-September) is forecast to grow three percent to 34.7 million metric tons (MMT) (equivalent to 31.8 MMT of crystal white sugar) on a sugarcane production forecast of 389 MMT. Uttar Pradesh will continue to be the largest sugar producing state, followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka. India will retain its existing export policy that will enable subsidized exports at six MMT. Consumption is forecast to rise two percent to 28.5 MMT (approx 20 Kg per person), as the economy recovers from the pandemic. Closing stocks are estimated at 16.5 MMT and expected to further decline as India diverts more sugar toward ethanol production to meet its domestic blending mandate.
India’s oilseeds production in marketing year (MY) 2023/2024 (October-September) is forecast to remain flat at 41.5 million metric tons (MMT), mostly unchanged from MY 2022/2023. Unseasonably heavy spring precipitation and a predicted El Niño weather pattern in the wake of severe April-June heatwaves will expose summer oilseed crops to greater incidences of plant stresses and thus impact yields. Oil meal production will remain steady at 20 MMT while exports will fall to 1.9 MMT, following an exceptional increase in exports in the current MY as southeast Asian demand has favored competitively priced Indian oil meals against other origins. India will remain among the largest consumers of edible oils and is forecast to import 14.5 MMT (10 Kg per person) of various oil commodities in the outyear. Global decline in oilseed prices and relatively low import duties have stabilized domestic edible oil prices, leading to record ending stocks in the current year.
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.