Pakistan Among World's Largest Food Producing Countries

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

Top 10 Countries by Agriculture Output. Source: FAO

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

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

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

Pakistan's Rising Rice Exports. Source: Bloomberg

Share of Land For Various Crops in Pakistan

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


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

World's 5th Largest Population of Chicken in Pakistan 


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

Source: FAO via Kleffmann Group

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

Date Palms in Sindh, Pakistan. Photo: Emmanuel Guddu

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

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Comment by Riaz Haq on February 5, 2021 at 10:37am

Point Counterpoint: Sonali Ranade rebuts Sadanand Dhume’s piece on farmers in Wall Street Journal
His acceptance of propaganda on farm reforms and superficial analysis of farmers’ movement are problematic, writes Sonali Ranade in a rejoinder to Sadanand Dhume’s opinion in Wall Street Journal

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

https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/point-counterpoint-sonali...



https://twitter.com/sonaliranade/status/1357545430960099330?s=20

The truth is superficial reportage on the farmers' real grievances is rife and Dhume's piece only misrepresents the farmers' case to US readers.

For the sake of perspective, let me at the outset clarify that the reforms Dhume is talking about have already been carried out in Bihar. The net result of these reforms was that the price of cereals in the State fell by 20 to 30%, and continue to be well below the national average.

Which farmers, in which part of the world, would not be concerned by 20 to 30% fall in their income?


Sadanand Dhume:

The protests simmered for months before exploding into violence on Jan. 26, Republic Day. Tens of thousands of farmers stormed the national capital, battling cops and marring a national celebration. Protesters hoisted a Sikh religious flag on a flagpole at the Red Fort, a symbolic seat of power. One farmer died when his speeding tractor overturned at a barrier, according to police.

A standoff continues between the government and protesters at three sites on Delhi's borders. Farmers face thousands of police in riot gear behind concrete barriers, coils of barbed wire and iron spikes.

There's nothing wrong with celebrities taking an interest in events half a world away. But when it comes to the farmer protests, celebrity Twitter activism is based on a reductive caricature of complex issues as a faceoff between colorfully turbaned sons of the soil and a thuggish government backed by evil corporations.

Sonali Ranade

There is so much spin packed into these words, that it is hard to know where to begin.

Fact is farmers didn't storm Delhi. They were barricaded at the borders, with concrete barriers, deep trenches dug on national highways, armed police, parked buses, and now spiked roads. They were denied their right to enter the capital, were branded as traitors, insulted & humiliated.

The farmers entered the Capital after receiving Govt. permission. True some, very few, given their large numbers, deviated from agreed route, and landed in the Red Fort, where they raised a Sikh religious flag on one of the masts. [Not the main mast.]

It is not at all clear if this wasn't a false flag operation, instigated by some people who are known to be ruling party supporters.

Yet, the entire propaganda machinery of the Govt. including some sections of the media, swung into action to discredit and delegitimate the 2 month old protest, on the basis of that one stray incident, that the ruling party itself may have orchestrated for the purpose.

Shouldn't Dhume at least mention this side of the story to his readers?

Dhume is no newbie to the Indian scene? Has he represented the reform bills in their true perspective? As I shall show, he has glossed over the key aspects of why these reforms, by wrong sequencing, result in an unintended transfer of wealth from farmers to traders.

But here Dhume criticises the celebrities for something he himself is guilty of.

Fact is, these celebrities were simply asking for the issue to be examined and discussed because on the face of it, hundreds of thousands of peasants don't sit in protest for over 2 months, for nothing. But that obvious fact is of no salience for the jaded sensitivities of a Dhume.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 13, 2021 at 6:18am

Plan bee: #Pakistan's Rs 1 billion #honey exports create #jobs buzz. The government has pledged to increase the plantation of specific trees and flora to improve the quality and production of honey and grant interest-free loans to traders. #PTI https://www.arabnews.com/node/1807296#.YCfeQNVjPyY.twitter

When Ameer Ahmed set up his bee farm as a part-time business with 30 beehives last year, the 22-year-old university student did not expect to turn the trade into a full-time job after making hefty profits.

Today, he has 100 beehives on his farmland in the Chakwal area of Pakistan’s populous Punjab province, and earns between $13,000 and $16,000 annually, mainly by exporting honey to countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is an easy and profitable business as one can start it without getting any formal skills and education,” Ahmed told Arab News.

He is among a growing legion of unskilled laborers, students and growers in remote areas of the country who are turning to beekeeping as a profitable source of income since it requires minimal capital and skill.

“I am encouraging my friends to get into this business, too,” Ahmed said, adding that he had to hire two workers to look after his growing apiary.

Commercial beekeeping is fast becoming a thriving business in Pakistan’s rural areas, providing new job opportunities for thousands of men and women, and helping the country earn foreign exchange through exports, mainly to Middle Eastern countries, according to researchers and honey traders.

The business is growing in the Chakwal, Jhelum, Attock and Sargodha districts of Punjab province, some parts of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which have areas suitable for the exotic bees.

The South Asian nation currently produces around 7,500 metric tons of honey annually, with more than 8,000 beekeepers rearing exotic species in 1 million beehives, according to the government’s Honeybee Research Institute in Islamabad.

Around $6 million in foreign exchange is earned annually through honey exports to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.

Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the “Billion Tree Honey Initiative” in December last year to increase honey production to 70,000 metric tons in a year.

The government estimates the project will help generate around 43 billion rupees ($268 million) for the national economy and provide about 87,000 green jobs.

Under the program, the government has pledged to increase the plantation of specific trees and flora to improve the quality and production of honey and grant interest-free loans to traders.

Raza Khan, president of the All Pakistan Beekeepers Trade and Exporters Association, said Pakistan was producing “100 percent organic” honey through modern bee farming, and demand was increasing, particularly in Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait.

In the 2018-2019 financial year, Pakistan exported honey worth 966 million rupees ($5.8 million), about 260 million rupees more than the year before, according to the Honeybee Research Institute.

Industry insiders predict the numbers will keep going up as the country’s beekeepers benefit from Pakistan’s push to reforest the land under its “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” project, launched in 2018.

“Our honey is unique in the world for its natural taste, color and texture,” Khan said. “Its demand abroad is growing fast,” he added, urging the government to provide more incentives to boost the business and grant industry status to commercial beekeeping.

“The government should strengthen certification and quality standards of the honey so that we can also export it to the European market,” Khan said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 20, 2021 at 10:31am

Farmers in Pakistan are increasingly moving towards tunnel farming to produce summer vegetables and fruits in winters for a market continuously looking for better, and fresher produce. But is it economically feasible?

https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/06/17/does-growing-off-sea...


Cultivation in tunnel farms usually begins in autumn. A normal tunnel farm ranges from 10 to 20 acres with most farms needing a covered area of at least 3 acres to be economically feasible. Steel pipes, aluminium pipes or bamboos are used to create D shaped rows of support structures around the plantation that are usually 3 to 12 feet in height and about 5 feet wide. The structures are covered with polythene sheets to create either low tunnels, walk-in tunnels or high tunnels depending on the farmer’s needs.

The polythene sheets traps heat inside and keep rain and frost outside, simulating summer and enabling the plants to be able to bear produce that would not be able to grow if exposed to the natural climate.

In Pakistan, especially in the fertile plains of Punjab, farmers are fast switching away from conventional farming and adopting tunnel farming techniques, which reportedly give a higher per acre yield and higher profits compared to conventional farming.

---------------

Pakistan growers receive technical greenhouse training

https://www.hortidaily.com/article/9291322/pakistan-growers-receive...

The Food and Agriculture Organization has introduced high tunnel-farming with drip-irrigation systems in newly merged tribal districts to promote off-season crop production through agro-technology in the wide-range climate of the region.

One hundred high tunnels have been installed in districts of Khyber, Orakzai, North and South Waziristan, twenty each. These tunnels will be supplemented with a drip irrigation system, a method of controlled irrigation with which water is slowly delivered to plants, resulting in efficient use of water and fertilizer.

As part of promoting off-season vegetable production, FAO arranges extensive off and on-job training and exposure visits for the farmers who are less or no familiar with tunnel farming methods for commercial agriculture.

"It is crucial to provide technical training to the farmers in these areas as there is very little technical assistance and extension work available on tunnel-farming for growing vegetable crops in targeted areas," says Rustam Khan, an expert agriculturist from FAO.

Quality seeds
The farmers are also provided with the certified quality seeds and trained on low-tech procedures of growing high-quality food to reap more profits.

FAO continues familiarizing farmers with agro-technology in tribal areas to boost the production aiming food security and agro-based livelihood opportunities. Walk-in tunnels help increase productivity reducing the gap between current and potential production of agro-food targeting promotion of traditional economy and restoration of livelihood in insurgency-affected areas.

With the tunnel farming techniques, farmers in the Merged Districts of KP are evolving from subsistence to commercial agriculture. The growing practice is promoting farmers learning in agriculture development, climate security, creating socioeconomic resilience and improving market services on a sustainable basis.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 12, 2021 at 10:05am

PIA cuts freight charges to 24 cents, about Rs40 per kg (US$0.04 per kg) for vegetable/fruit to boost #exports to the #MiddleEast. PIA has installed a large scanning machine at #Islamabad Airport where 100 boxes at once. Will do same in #Karachi, #Lahore. http://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit/article/184618/pakistan-internati...

Pakistan International Airline (PIA) has slashed its freight charges for the export of fruits and vegetables to the Middle East, in a move it hopes will facilitate substantial growth in horticulture exports.

According to Pakistan Today, the airline made the decision after a detailed meeting between PIA chief executive air marshal, Arshad Malik, chief executive of the Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) Waheed Ahmed, and officials of Ministry of Commerce (MoC).

Pakistan Today reports PIA has revised air freight charges downward to 24 cents, equivalent to Rs40 per kg (US$0.04 per kg) for vegetable and fruit exports to the Middle East, including Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Dubai.

The airline also assured PFVA of low freight charges in the future, along with the provision of state-of-the-art ground handling facilities.

Malik informed officials the airline has already installed a large scanning machine at Islamabad Airport where 100 boxes can be scanned at the same time. The same scanners will be installed at Karachi and Lahore airports, he added.

He also said he was keen to meet with Pakistani mango exporters before the start of the season so that close coordination could be maintained with all stakeholders.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 13, 2021 at 12:50pm

#Pakistan gearing up to G.I. trademark #Himalayan pink #salt for #exports. #Pakistani Pink salt is valued around the world for its #health benefits. Pakistan possesses one of the world's largest salt deposits stretching over 209 km in #Punjab salt range. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/asiapacific/2021-03/04/c_139783791...

Muhammad Irfan, 38, was keenly supervising the crafting of decoration items made of the famous Himalayan pink salt at his factory located in Khushab, a district in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province.

Thousands of people in Khushab are linked with the salt industry as the district is rich in minerals including huge deposits of salt, he said.

"We are associated with this business since 1990. Initially, we have been manufacturing edible salt, but over the past few years we have started making other products made of Himalayan rock salt considering their high demand, both locally and abroad," Irfan, the owner of M&S Salt Factory, told Xinhua.

The Himalayan pink salt has been a preferred choice for use in daily diet by people around the globe due to its health benefits, he said, adding that products like lamps, candle holders and tiles made from the pink salt are also greatly adored as they have seen a substantial boost in exports to the United States, Europe and the Gulf states.

Talking about the difference between the ordinary salt and the pink salt, Irfan said that the most special aspect about the pink salt is its color which makes it unique and popular in Pakistan and many other countries, adding "the pink variety of salt is only found in Pakistan."

Pakistan possesses one of the world's largest salt deposits stretching over 209 km lying in areas between the eastern district of Jhelum and northwestern Kohat district. The country is also home to the second-largest salt mine in the world, the Khewra Salt Mine in Jhelum.

According to officials from the Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation, Pakistan's annual export of salt totals around 400,000 tons.

In an effort to curb the unauthorized use of Pakistan's indigenous products by other countries, Pakistan has recently announced to register its pink salt as the Geographical Indications (GI).

The registration will serve as a potential economic tool to promote and enhance national and international trade of Pakistan and earn revenue, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said recently, adding that this will encourage and motivate Pakistani producers to expand their business at a global level.

Pakistan has enacted the Geographical Indications Act, 2020 last year to protect its indigenous products, combating counterfeiting and ensuring premium prices in foreign markets.

In a conversation with Xinhua, Ismail Sattar, a prominent salt exporter and chief executive officer of the salt manufacturing company HubSalt Pakistan, said that his business has been profitable and is expected to see further growth after recent steps taken by the government to standardize the pink salt industry of Pakistan.

"The special focus being given by the incumbent government to regularize salt trade and develop a branding mechanism to sell the commodity in the international market at competitive prices will definitely give a new impetus to the industry," he said.

In the past, many illegal local traders exported the indigenous crude pink salt to other countries, which would then brand it as their produce and earn huge profit, but the huge profit otherwise could have been earned by Pakistan, Sattar said.

Pakistan remains at the 20th place in the list of salt exporting countries despite the fact that Pakistan is among the biggest salt producers, the salt exporter said, blaming the situation on illegal regional trade and absence of the GI.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 7, 2021 at 12:32pm

Aarthi’s role in Pakistan agriculture 

Pakistan’s agriculture sector forms the backbone of the economy, generating not only 21 percent of the GDP directly but also feeds large-scale industries such as textiles and agro-based SMEs. It accounted for 16.5 percent of country’s exports in 2012 and employs 45 percent of the country’s labor force. Yet, productivity indicators suggest that yields have stagnated over the past decade in most crops and the productivity gap with high performing countries is wide. There is also a clear mismatch between the level of real economic activity taking place in agriculture and flow of formal credit to the sector: in 2010- 11, lending to agriculture sector made up only eight percent of the banking sector’s total advances and 7.6 percent of private sector credit. Planning Commission estimates for 2011-12 show that demand for agriculture credit stands at PKR 750 billion whereas the flow to the sector stood at PKR 294 billion only (34 percent of total demand). This demand has been growing at a rate of 14.6 percent per annum over the past five years whereas actual disbursement has increased by only 8.6 percent, creating a widening supply-demand gap that is being met through informal sources.
In Punjab, the arthi remains the largest source of informal credit for agriculture. He successfully lends to the segment considered risky and not credit worthy by banks. Not only does he make money but also manages his risk well. In order to generate some outside-the-box thinking on the issue of linking banks to the small farmer, this scoping study take a close look at the arthi system in Punjab to understand the arthi’s role in the agriculture supply chain by mapping his network and linkages, understanding his operations, finances (such as sources of funds, interest rates, costs and profits) and risk management techniques. Lessons from the arthi model are used to propose ideas for pilots and research that can break this apparent deadlock with regards to channeling institutional credit to agriculture in a profitable and sustainable manner.
Based on field interviews with arthis, wholesalers, input dealers and farmers, we find that arthis are not a uniform set but consist of different types offering a range of services depending upon the market they serve. However, commonly they operate out of the province’s 325 commodity markets, which act as the central place where all players in the agriculture marketing chain interact. The arthi provides two major services to the farmer: firstly, he provides inputs on credit at the time of sowing of a particular crop and secondly, acts as the sale agent for the farmer and facilitates the sale of the harvested crop in the market. By taking advance from the arthi, the farmer is bound to sell his produce through the same arthi giving the arthi control over the farmer’s cash flows. The rates charged by the arthi and his portfolio’s risk profile demonstrate that there is money to be made in agriculture lending to small and medium farmers. With operational costs at less than 2.5 percent of total volume of lending, nominal write-offs and interest rates ranging between 62 percent and 80 percent, profit margins for the arthi are quite significant. In addition to earning from credit, the arthi also earns commission from the sale of the produce of his borrower, calculated as a percentage of the sale price of the produce ranging from 2 percent to 4 percent depending upon the crop and his terms with the client.
Comment by Riaz Haq on April 28, 2021 at 6:41pm

#Pakistan #wheat production this year may surpass previous records with a big margin, crossing 28.75 million tons, two million tons more than the previous record of 26.67 million tons set in 2016/17 #food #agriculture #economy #COVID19 #pandemic https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/819211-pakistan-poised-for-mammoth...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 29, 2021 at 7:56am

Pakistan to benefit from China's high-yield seed development technology: PM

http://www.china.org.cn/world/Off_the_Wire/2021-04/27/content_77444...

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that his country will follow China's footsteps in the field of agriculture and get benefit from China's high-yield seed development technology.

Addressing a ceremony to give away "farmer card" to farmers in the country's east Punjab province on Monday, the prime minister said that his government had taken an important step to make the agricultural sector a vital part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to uplift the sector and lives of the farmers.

He said that Pakistan's own research institutions on seed development will also be revamped to produce good quality seeds at home.

He said that unlike China, Pakistani farmers are still using old techniques of agriculture, which needs a major transformation, and with the government's efforts, the farmers will gradually shift to modern agricultural modes.

Khan said that under the "farmer card," the local farmers will get subsidized fertilizers, seeds and pesticides besides low-interest loans and compensation for damaged crops in case of any natural calamity. Enditem

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 30, 2021 at 12:46pm

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


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

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

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

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 30, 2021 at 1:48pm

PM #ImranKhan: Kisan Card will 'transform' farming in #Pakistan. #Technology will eliminate bribes and let #farmers get #agriculture loans and have direct access to agriculture #subsidies for #seeds, #pesticides & #fertilizer.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1620494


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

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

---"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among other measures he mentioned were doubling of loans for farmers, local production of fertilisers, doubling cereal production as well as improving local production of medicinal plants, corn and developing the fishery sector such as prawns.

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