Category Archives: Agriculture and Livestock

Turkey’s PNAC award to stir Pak recognition in global Halal Food sector

ISLAMABAD: In the backdrop of government’s recent decision to launch Halal food accreditation scheme, country is all set to enjoy International recognition in the sphere of Halal food as Turkey has decided to award membership to Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC).

While talking to media here on Tuesday Director General Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC) Anjum Bashir has said that Standard & Metrology Institute for Islamic countries (SMIIC) of Turkey acknowledging the initiative of launching Halal accreditation scheme and decided to extend membership to PNAC.

“This will now give higher recognition to PNAC internationally and in domestic market in the Halal accreditation sphere and will also provide better opportunity to monitor developments in the finalisation of OIC Halal guidelines” he said adding that PNAC being member of accreditation committee of SMIIC will have worldwide recognition to certification issued by PNAC accredited certification bodies and will protect against unfair uses.

Anjum Basher said that PNAC current membership of accreditation committee of SMIIC has added value to its services offered.

He told that Board of Directors in its recent meeting decided to set accreditation committee at its general secretariat at Turkey for establishment of accreditation scheme in the OIC member states. The accreditation committee would be responsible for establishing a sound accreditation system OIC-wide and raise awareness on accreditation concept with the OIC member states. The committee would also be responsible for implementation OIC/SMIIC accreditation standards, performing peer assessment activities and issuing related certificates.

“PNAC has already achieved mutual recognition arrangement (MRA) from International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) for accreditation of laboratories and is in the process of acquiring MRA for inspection bodies and Multilateral Arrangement (MLA) for certification bodies in the shortest possible time”, the Director General added.

Agricultural credit disbursement surges by 19% to Rs 172.563bn in FY12 first eight months

KARACHI: Agricultural credit disbursement by banks surged by 19% on year-on-year basis to Rs 172.563 billion in first eight months (July- February) of current fiscal year 2011-12. In absolute terms, disbursement of credit to agriculture sector increased by over Rs 27.124 billion in July- February, 2012 when compared with total disbursement of Rs 145.439 billion in same period of last fiscal year, State Bank of Pakistan SBP said on Wednesday.

Overall credit disbursement by five major commercial banks including Allied Bank Limited, Habib Bank Limited, MCB Bank Limited, National Bank of Pakistan & United Bank Limited stood at Rs 94.595 billion in July- February, 2012 compared with Rs 80.415 billion disbursement in July- February, 2011 depicting increase of Rs 14.180 billion or 17.63%.

Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, largest specialized bank, disbursed total of Rs 31.652 billion in July- February, 2012, up by 1.18% when compared with Rs 31.282 billion disbursement in same period of last fiscal. Punjab Provincial Cooperative Bank Limited disbursed Rs 5.549 billion in July- February, 2012 up by 33.13% when compared with Rs 4.168 billion disbursement in same period of last fiscal.

Fourteen domestic private banks also loaned combined amount of Rs 32.910 billion in July- February, 2012 up by 11.28% compared with Rs 29.574 billion disbursement in same period of last fiscal year. Five Microfinance banks including Khushhali Bank Ltd., NRSP Microfinance Bank Ltd., The First Microfinance Bank Ltd., Pak Oman Microfinance Bank Ltd. & Tameer Microfinance Bank Ltd. disbursed total of Rs 7.856 billion in July- February, 2012.

SBP for first time gave indicative target of Rs 12.20 billion to Microfinance banks for credit disbursement to agriculture sector during current fiscal year. SBP set indicative agricultural credit disbursement target of Rs 285 billion for current fiscal year.

Food Security Ministry unveils huge annual wheat donation to WFP

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Wednesday welcomed a commitment by the newly created Pakistan Ministry of Food Security and Research (MFSR) to donate annually up to 500,000 metric tons of wheat to WFP to combat malnutrition and improve food security among vulnerable groups across the country.

“This in-kind donation is the largest in recent years by any country where WFP has operations,” said WFP Pakistan Country Director Jean-Luc Siblot. “It shows a strong commitment by the Government of Pakistan to address the issues of food security and malnutrition and will encourage the international donor community to step up its support.”

The donation, valued at US$144 million, was announced in a Letter of Intent signed today by the ministry and WFP at the end of a six-day food security workshop attended by government representatives, donors, WFP, the Food and Agricultural Organization and NGOs including Oxfam and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

Speaking today in Islamabad at the closing session of the workshop, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the next federal budget would make provisions for school feeding in the most food insecure districts of the country and nutrition programmes for children under five years old and for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

“My priority will be ensuring food security for women and children,” the Prime Minister said.

Under the agreement, some 500,000 mt of wheat will be converted to nutritious food commodities to be used to combat hunger and undernutrition among the most vulnerable sections of society. Prioritizing the most food insecure districts, specialized nutritious food will be distributed to some six million malnourished children, pregnant women and primary school children.

These specialized commodities will include mineral and vitamin fortified wheat flour, high energy biscuits and fortified pastes for the treatment and prevention of malnutrition among infants and young children, all of which will be produced in Pakistan.

WFP’s partnership with the Government of Pakistan falls under the National Zero Hunger Programme, within which the Government will work with UN agencies and donors and draw on the experiences of other countries to eradicate hunger and malnutrition.

“Pakistan has the means and capacity to solve the hunger problem” said Siblot, “and this contribution to WFP is a clear signal of their determination and leadership.”

Scarce rainfall: NDMA advises immediate water management steps to avoid negative impact on agriculture sector

ISLAMABAD: Keeping in view, below normal rainfall across the country in the months of January, February and March hitherto, as indicated by the latest Drought Alert issued by the National Drought Monitoring Centre, Pakistan Meteorological Department, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has advised all relevant stakeholders for adopting an immediate water management strategy in the coming weeks to avoid the negative impact on agriculture sector as a result of scarce rainfall.

According to the drought alert, deficient rainfall has resulted in drought-like conditions emerging in barani areas of lower Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Punjab and Northwest Balochistan.

Moreover, no appreciable rainfall has been recorded over agricultural plains of the country that demand availability of more supplementary irrigation water for Rabi crops (which are at grain formation stage and therefore require more water).

The drought advisory further indicates low water availability in major reservoirs, but due to slightly above normal snowfall in the catchment areas, water situation in the dams is anticipated to improve with the rise in temperature towards the end of March. It, however, further says that the regional and global meteorological conditions also depict negative precipitation anomaly during March, 2012.

As the wheat crop is in reproductive stage and requires water mainly in the month of March (the period of high demand), the NDMA has advised all relevant stakeholders, including: Ministry of Food Security, Ministry of Water and Power, Indus River System Authority (IRSA), the Agriculture and Livestock Departments of Balochistan, KP, Punjab and Sindh for ensuring immediate water management steps to minimize negative impacts of apparent deficient rainfall on the agriculture sector.

Export of rice under barter system like wheat to Iran suggested

KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) appreciated the permission to export wheat to Iran under barter system and urged the ministry of commerce (MOC) to allow barter trade for the export of rice and other commodities as well and also urged the MOC to expedite the procedure for barter for wheat to enable commencement of business,

UNISAME has drawn the attention of federal commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim to the increase in smuggling between Iran and Pakistan due to absence of currency swap agreement (CSA) or barter for export of rice and other commodities and in return import of plastic granules of different grades and petroleum chemicals.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said despite the several request of the rice exporters to the MOC to arrange currency swap agreement with Iran the MOC has failed to conclude the CSA resulting in increase of smuggling of plastic granules from Iran which have flooded the markets.

The government is losing on sales tax, import duties and valuable foreign exchange which could have been saved by virtue of the CSA.

He urged the MOC to immediately first allow barter trade agreements between trade houses of Pakistan and Iran to enable the exporters and importers in both the countries enter into mini barters with the blessing of both the governments to promote and encourage healthy trade.

Secondly the MOC should pursue the CSA with Iran as due to sanctions the commercial banks are not issuing Form E for shipments to Iran although there is no sanction on food and medicines.

Cotton arrivals substantial increase, exports rise significant

KARACHI: There has been a substantial increase of more than 25 percent in arrival of cotton in markets of the country this season compared to last season. There has also been significant rise of 77 percent year-on-year in cotton exports this season.

Citing figures from Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association PCGA, Muhammad Azam, Secretary General & COO of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association APTMA said compared to total arrivals of 11,502,408 cotton bales of 170 kg each during 2010-11 season up to March 1, 2011, a total of 14,378,962 bales have arrived in market this season up to March 1, 2012. Thus, there has been an increase of 2,876,534 bales or 25.01 percent over the previous season.

On number of cotton bales pressed by various ginneries across the country, he said up to March 1, 2012 this season, 14,301,516 bales were pressed at various ginneries. In comparison, 11,467,821 bales were pressed during same period in 2010-11. Thus, 2,833,695 bales or 24.71 percent more bales have been pressed this season, he added.

On cotton exports, he said exports have boomed 77.89 percent this season. Pakistan exported 920,706 bales up to March 1 this season, against exports of 517,567 bales registered during same period last season. Thus, 403,139 more bales have been exported this season.

Textile mills have consumed only 17.68 percent or 1,871,840 more bales this season compared to previous season. Up to March 1, 2012, mills purchased 12,462,112 cotton bales, against their purchase of 10,590,272 bales during same period in 2010-11season, he said.