Agriculture & Livestock Development News
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Posted 22 January 2011 - 12:20 PM
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has asked Maaza International Group of Companies to set up a canning and food processing industry in Pakistan and assured the group of the government’s full cooperation.
Gilani, while talking to a delegation of the of the United Arab Emirates’ group at his chamber in the Parliament House on Friday, said that Pakistan’s thriving agriculture sector offers attractive investment opportunities. He pointed out that the agro and dairy industry is making two to three hundred per cent profits.
He said that Pakistan produces high-quality mango, apple, citrus, date, guava, apricot and other fruits in abundance.
Maaza Chairman Muhammad Abdullah Omran Al Omran told the prime minister that his group is interested in importing mango pulp from Pakistan. He said that the company is also studying the possibility of establishing a dairy farm in Sindh. Gilani said that the government has already liberalised the economy and the private sector has assumed the role of a frontline player in the economic field.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2010.
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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:29 PM
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Achieving production target of 18m cotton bales
Govt will bring new areas under cotton cultivation
By Ijaz Kakakhel
ISLAMABAD: In order to achieve production target of 18 million cotton bales by 2015, the government plans to bring more areas under cotton cultivation particularly in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and control Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV) attack in Punjab, sources told Daily Times on Saturday.
Having considered various options for production enhancement, it is realised that a production level of 18 million bales could be achieved by 2015 with a modest increase in sowing areas in potential cotton growing areas of Balochistan and NWFP coupled with an average 5% growth in per hectare yield.
Sources in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said that cotton crop could be increased in three factors. First, 30 to 50 percent increase in cotton crop will be possible due to better crop management/practicing. Secondly, 40 to 60 percent crop of the commodity is to be increased due to application of new cotton varieties particularly Bt Cotton. Lastly, 3 to 10 percent cotton crop will be increased due to increase in bringing more areas under cotton cultivation.
The plan titled “Cotton Vision 2015 Targets” has been initiated after taking into account the future prospects for a sustained growth in cotton sector and the possible improvement in the quality of raw cotton. The plan has been designed to achieve higher production of
clean cotton to obtain advantages of assured supply of cleaner, uniform, graded and contamination free cotton to the domestic textile industry.
It will be helpful to get higher recovery rate, hence more yarn, improved reputation of Pakistan’s cotton and its products in the world market and substantial additional foreign exchange would be earned through better unit values.
The sources further said that cotton alone contributes nearly 65 percent of the foreign exchange earnings of Pakistan and the Bt cotton varieties (IR 3701 and IR 1524) developed by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s (PAEC) Biotech Centre, NIBGE hopefully would help in achieving Cotton Vision 2015 of government — to boost production to 18 million bales by 2015.
Officials in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture said that if the government succeeded to bring cotton yields in Punjab as par with Sindh, target of Cotton Vision 2015 would be achieved easily.
Currently, yield in Sindh was recorded as 1320 kg/ha while in Punjab it was 590 kg/ha. Punjab cultivated cotton crop over an areas of 2.13 million hectors while Sindh over 0.45 million hectors. During the year 2010-11, Punjab produced 7.38 million bales while Sindh produced 3.50 million bales.
In Punjab the cotton crop mainly affected by the disease CLCV.
Usually, the CLCV attacks occurred in different ranges — started from around 15 percent to 70 percent in cotton belt in Punjab’s major cotton growing areas, which always badly affected the crop.
Last year, the incidence of CLCV was 15% while last year it affected about 70 percent crop, which resulted in lower production of crop. According to the official data, the incidence of the CLCV has been grouped into low, medium and high level. The 90-100 CLCV affected areas were Vehari, T.T. Shujabad, Shorkot, Pakpatten, Muzafargarh, Multan, Mailsi, Kot Addu, Kamalia, Jatoi, Jalalpur Pirwala, Gojra, Burewala, Bahawalnagar, Arifwala and Alipur.
The 70-90 affected areas of Punjab are Chishtian, Jhang, Dunyapur, Karor Lal Easan, Khanewal, Jhanaia, Bahalpur, Lodhran, Layyah, Ahmadpur East etc. While 50-70 CLCV affected areas in Punjab are Karor Pacca, Depapur, Minchanabad, Kabirwala, Khanpur, Chichawatni, Fortabas, DG Khan, Okara etc.
According to the government policy about 35 percent of certified seed of non-Bt varieties were available while Bt seed provided by private sector. Punjab seed council has approved 8 Bt and one hybrid for cultivation of cottonseeds and the government tried its level best to ensure input availability and vigilance on adulteration. The government eagerly trying its best to bring new areas in KPK and Balochistan under cotton crops, the sources maintained.
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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:33 PM
KARACHI: The Halal Development Council of Pakistan (HDC) has made a major headway in associating the country products, industry and business with the global Halal economy currently being emphasized by the Muslim Ummah for lawful as well as good quality products, said Asad Sajjad, Secretary General, HDC.
Asad said that HDC has recently signed 12 memorandum of understanding (MoU) with acclaimed international Halal certification authorities, research centres, and scientific laboratories of Far East, South Africa, America and Europe for developing and promoting Pakistan as a major exporter of Halal goods and services to the global markets. The international organisations will offer support to HDC in maintaining integrity of Halal products to support in mainstreaming of Halal products for competing in the global market and promote Halal certified products & services in Pakistan and OIC countries, Asad said. The MoUs signed by the HDC are with International Halal Integrity Alliance of Malaysia; Crescentrating Pte of Singapore; Department of Science and Technology of Philippines; Faroogh Sciences Research Lab of Iran; Halal Council of Mauritius; Muslim Judicial Halal Trust of South Africa; N.Z. Islamic Meat Management Co of New Zealand; Halal Polaska of Poland; The Halal Catering Co of Argentina and others.
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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:39 PM
By Tanveer Sher
KARACHI: The improved domestic yield during the current year is likely to help ease financial burden on consumers of some pulses, traders said Saturday.
Rates of white chickpea (kabli channa) currently stand at very high level in the global market at $ 1,100 to $ 1,150 per metric tonnes mainly on account of its short production in Canada and Burma regarded as major growing areas of the commodity.
As a consequence of extremely high rates of the kabli channa in the international marekt, its domestic retail prices have skyrocketed to Rs 120 to Rs 125 per kg level pushing its rates beyond the buying powers of large segment of the population.
However, the Sindh crop of the commodity, which is expected to arrive market in the next couple of months, has signaled a very encouraging sign in terms of good crop. “Compared to previous years when the crop of the commodity remained in the range of 5,000 to 7,000 tonnes annual yield, current years yield is expected to be between 15,000 tonnes to 20,000 tonnes” Anees Majeed chairman Karachi Wholesaler and Grocer Group said.
He said the total domestic annual consumption of white chickpea stands in the range of 60 to 65 thousand tonnes forcing to government to import its large quantity in order to bridge the shortfall in local production and fulfill the demand of consumers.
One of the positive aspect of improved yield of the commodity is less reliance on costly import which may also help save invaluable foreign exchange in the process he added.
He attributed the improved yield of the commodity on account of previous years widespread rain and subsequent flooding in Sindh like elsewhere across the country, which largely helped enhanced its yield.
Similarly moong pulse, mash (black matpe) dal and masur dal (lentils) production was also anticipated to be on improved side during the current year which may also attributed to growing fertility of cultivated land in Sindh and Punjab including Jhang, Harnoli and Thal. Majeed said one of the major reasons of decline in pulses yield over the years is prevalence of frustration among growers and farmers for not receiving proper reward of their yield owing to halt in the export process.
If the export process set in motion during the current year on account of improved yield of pulses, they may divert their energies to enhance yield of pulses further resulting in self-sufficiency of the country in all kinds of lentils.
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Posted 22 January 2011 - 10:47 PM
“We are soon going to import machinery for the plant and will prepare concentrates from fruits,” Abbas said while talking to the media here on Friday.
He said that there was a high demand for apple concentrate all over the world, and China and Brazil were exporting it at low prices. He disclosed that talks have been completed with a European firm, Rubicon, for the sale of mango pulp, besides Nestle, National Foods and Gulf companies.
The plant had been built at a cost of Rs320 million over four acres of land in the Industrial Estate Area Multan and has so far produced pulp only from mango on commercial basis, Abbas said.
However, recent attempts to produce pulp from apple, tomato and guava also yielded successful results. The plant produced 560 tons of mango pulp, 80 tons of apple pulp, 50 tons of tomato pulp and 90 tons of guava pulp this year, he said.
Abbas said that sheds were also being built at the plant at a cost of Rs5 million for mango storage. “We have also asked the Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) to provide more land adjacent to the plant to enhance its storage capacity to 100 truckloads of mango per day,” he added. The management has also sought approval from the Punjab government to utilise Rs40 million for further development of the plant. Abbas said that, at present, the plant has drums to store pulp and the management has sought approval to arrange small tin packs that will help in efficient marketing of the pulp.
A rest house to provide lodging facility to foreign and domestic buyers at the plant was also in the process of completion, he said.
He claimed that it would become the country’s biggest and most modern pulp and concentrate plant once the upgrading is completed.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2011.
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Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:36 AM
Pakistan’s spending on farm research lowest in Asia
From the Newspaper | Our Staff Reporter | 13 hours ago
LAHORE, April 21: Spending on agriculture research in Pakistan is lowest even by regional (Asian) standards, let alone the world ones, says Punjab Agriculture Research Board (PARB) Chief Executive Dr Mubarik Ali.
Speaking at a consultative meeting with members of the Agricultural Journalists Association (AJA) here on Saturday, he said this lack of funding deprived farmers of higher productivity benefits.
“Instead of investing on research and innovation, Pakistan’s agriculture sector is focused on increased use of inputs, including fertilisers, pesticides and water, which led to stagnation in productivity,” he said.
Agriculture production is not picking up and Pakistan has to import billions of rupees worth of pulses, fruits and vegetables every year.
Citing the example of other regional states, he underlined that Pakistan had the lowest spending on agriculture research among almost all world key nations and it was too in decline.
He pointed out that the country was investing between 0.25 to 0.29 per cent of agriculture GDP on research, whereas India was investing 0.4 per cent, Bangladesh 0.35 per cent, China 0.6 per cent and Japan 2.5 per cent. On the other hand, developed world was investing 2 to 3 per cent on R&D, he added.
The PARB chief claimed that inappropriate use of funds, obsolete research infrastructure and little or no incentives for innovation were impeding agriculture growth in the country. The root cause of problems include little investment on research, inappropriate investment, lack of coordinated planning, lack of monitoring and evaluation, focus on routine rather than problem-solving research, little incentive to be innovative and last but not the least little commercialisation of research,” he elaborated.
He said Pakistan was on the lowest side when it came to investing on R&D and a major chunk of investment, around 85 per cent, went to administrative expenditure, like salaries, transport and maintenance of research facilities.
He appreciated the role of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Punjab government for revamping the education and research facilities in the country. However, he said, after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment, the HEC role had been marginalised, which resulted in neglect of educational and research institutes. Grants now had been reduced, ultimately affecting research work, he maintained.
Highlighting the significance of R&D, he said: “These are scientists and research institutes’ efforts that the country is producing nearly five times more grain when it is compared with the levels of pre-partition. It is the fruit of research that per capita consumption of food products has increased 15 to 20 per cent, while spending on food has dropped from 85 per cent to 65 per cent during last several decades.”
Speaking about the initiatives taken by the PARB, he pointed out that though the board had been revamped in 2007, but it had to spend initial two years in making rules and regulations. However, now it had been working effectively and efficiently and had received 372 research proposals, out of which 65 had been approved by the technical working group after rigorous deliberations.
To overcome research related problems, he said, the PARB was now poised to plan, coordinate, fund, monitor and commercialise specific agriculture research outputs in Punjab, the biggest agrarian economy of the country. He said breakthrough had been made in developing CLCV resistant cotton varieties at experiment level and its field trials were being initiated. He added that various approaches had been employed to overcome problem of CLCV, which had emerged as one of the potent threats to this cash crop. Issues such as control of Bacterial Leaf Blight-BLB for paddy, major progress in bran oil extraction, citrus waxing through indigenous resources, first ever propagation of date palm by tissue culture, successful olive propagation and value addition technique and productivity enhancement of buffalo through efficient management were highlighted on the occasion.
Prof Talat Naseer Pasha, vice-chancellor of University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), said research work in education institutions was now being better coordinated and expedited after setting up PARB. He added that special attention now had been given to livestock and dairy sector. He expressed the hope that such efforts would help address one of the key issues of the agriculture sector in most efficient way.
Dr Tariq Bucha, president of Farmers Associates Pakistan (FAP), stressed the need for increasing interaction between scientists and farmers.
He added that farmers, being ultimate beneficiary of research, should be fully involved in identifying research projects besides creating linkages at grassroots.
Safraz Khan, vice-president of Kissan Board Pakistan (KBP) said small farmers, being biggest share holder in farming and dairy sector should be given priority in research work. He said various aspects of agriculture research should be properly discussed with representatives of farmer organisations.
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