Archive for March, 2010

Concern over water conveyed to India

Post Source: Dawn – Staff Reporter

LAHORE, March 28: At the three-day annual talks on the Indus Waters Treaty which started here on Sunday, Pakistan raised its objections to construction of two new power projects on the Indus river by India. An Indian delegation led by G. Aranga Nathan handed over construction plans and maps of the Nimoo Bazgo power plant being built on the Indus to the Pakistani delegation led by Syed Jamaat Ali Shah.

It also gave a briefing on technical aspects of the project.

The Pakistani team expressed reservations on the Nimoo Bazgo and Chutak power plants and said it feared the Indian projects might obstruct smooth supply of water to Pakistan.

Both sides, however, agreed to keep the height of free board in Nimoo Bazgo project up to one metre.

The issue would be further discussed on Monday because the Indian team agreed to consider installation of telemetric system at the projects to allay Pakistan’s fears about alleged theft of water, but said a final decision would be taken after consultations with experts.

Mr Nathan said the objections raised by his Pakistani counterpart would also be discussed and another meeting could be convened soon if the two sides failed to resolve the dispute.

PPI adds: “We don’t believe in controversial steps and will try to remove all reservations of the Pakistani government,” Mr Nathan told reporters.

He said he was confident about the success of the dialogue and adding that his team was ready to address all concerns raised by the Pakistani Water Commission.

Mr Shah said the Indian commission had come to get Pakistan’s point of view and hoped that a positive development would follow.

“We will try to convince the Indian guests that all requirements of the treaty would be fulfilled,” he said.

Farmers to protest on border

 
LAHORE, March 28: Farmers will lodge a peaceful protest against violations of Indus Water Treaty on the 1,700km Indo-Pakistan border on Sept 19.

Pakistan Muttahida Kissan Mahaz president Ayub Khan Meo and Human Rights Movement president Nasir Iqbal Khan made the announcement while talking to newsmen at the Indus Water Treaty office here on Sunday.

They visited the office to present a memorandum to the visiting Indian Indus Water Treaty Commissioner Aranga Nathan.

They said India was required to inform Pakistan about its water projects on Chenab, Jhelum and Indus rivers under the Indus Water Treaty but it kept its plans secret so that Islamabad could not go for an arbitration. India was also building tunnels on the Indus near Kargil, at Kishan-Ganga on Neelam-Jhelum and near Bandipura on the Chenab to divert the flow. — Reporter

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Vicious anti-India propaganda in Pakistan on Water issues

Post Source: Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (IDSA) New Delhi

By Arvind GuptaMarch 29, 2010

Pakistani politicians, officials and media are in the grip of a vicious anti-India propaganda on water issues. General Ashfaq Kayani has stated that India will remain the focus of Pakistani military doctrine so long as Pakistan has unresolved issues with India. He included water and Kashmir among the unresolved issues. In its recent strategic dialogue with the United States, Pakistan also sought to involve the US in the resolution of India-Pakistan water issue.

The debate in Pakistan on India-Pakistan water issues has heated up. Water is being projected as an existential issue. India is being blamed for the water crisis in Pakistan. The key points of the debate are that India is violating the Indus Water Treaty, and that it is stealing Pakistan’s waters and turning Pakistan into a desert. An interesting nuance in the debate is that the water issue is even more important than the Kashmir issue. The talk of “water war” with India that could expand into a nuclear war is quite common. The following is a sampling of some recent comments made in the Pakistani media:

       Dawn quoted the former Foreign Minister Sardar Asif Ali as saying that “if India continues to deny Pakistan its due share, it can lead to a war between the two countries.” (18 January 2010)

       In a similar vein, PML(Q) Chief Chaudhary Sujat Hussain said that the water crisis between Pakistan and India could become more serious than terrorism and can result in a war (Dawn, 18 January 2010).

       Majid Nizami, Chief Editor of Nawi Waqt group of newspapers, said that “Pakistan can become a desert within the next 10 to 15 years. We should show upright posture or otherwise prepare for a nuclear war.” (Dawn, 18 January 2010).

       Politicians are ratcheting up the rhetoric. Members of the Punjab Assembly passed a resolution to deny India trade transit facility until the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and issues related to water distribution (Dawn, 27 January 2010).

       Member of the Punjab Assembly Warris Khalo said that India would “remain an enemy” until the Kashmir dispute and water issues are resolved. (Dawn 27 January 2010).

       Palwasha Khan, Member of National Assembly, accused India of perpetrating “water terrorism” against Pakistan and said that “experts foresee war over the water issue in the future and any war in this region would be no less than a nuclear war.” (Daily Times 17 February 2010).

       In a recent debate in Pakistan’s National Assembly, several members urged the government to impress on New Delhi “not to use” Pakistan’s share of water (Daily Times, 25 February 2010).

       Dr. Manzur Ejaz, a commentator, writing in Daily Times (3 March 2010) warned that “unless Pakistan was assured on the supply of water, it will never abandon the proxies that can keep India on its toes by destabilizing Kashmir.” He further added: “for Pakistan the territory of Kashmir may not be as important as the water issue.”

At the official level too, Pakistan is raising the salience of the water issue in India-Pakistan relations. Salman Bashir, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, was quoted by Dawn (26 February 2010) as saying that Pakistan had handed over some documents to the Indian side during the Foreign Secretary level talks with the hope that India would consider resolving the water issue within the Indus Basin Water Treaty. He added that India had been informed about its violation of the Indus Water Treaty, storage of water, India’s plans to build more dams, the Kishanganga Hydel project, pollution in the sources of water and glacier melt. Salman Bashir said, “Water is a very important issue for us and Pakistan wants constructive engagement with India.” (Dawn, 26 February 2010.)

President Zardari has, in the past, raised the water issue several times. In an op-ed article in Washington Post (28 January 2009), he wrote that the water crisis in Pakistan was directly linked to relations with India and if this was not resolved, it could fuel extremism and terrorism. Zardari had also taken up the water issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in 2008 and complained that India’s diversion of water from the Chenab river was causing agricultural losses in several districts in Pakistan. Pakistan, according to media reports, has demanded compensation from India for the loss of agriculture due to diversion of waters.

The notable aspect about the Pakistani debate over water is that it is highly jingoistic and uninformed. The Indus Water Treaty of 1960 governs the sharing of waters between India and Pakistan. The Treaty, signed with the help of World Bank mediation, apportions the water between India and Pakistan. A significant feature of the Treaty was that it apportioned 80 per cent of the water of the Indus River Basin to Pakistan and only 20 per cent to India. This fact is never highlighted in the Pakistani discourse on the Indus Water Treaty. Pakistanis also conveniently ignore the fact that the Treaty gives India the right to construct run-of-the-river dams on the Western rivers (Indus, Chenab and Jhelum) as well as construction of 3.6 Million Acre Feet (MAF) of storage facilities. India has not yet constructed any storage dam on these rivers despite the fact that the Treaty permits it. This point is also overlooked in the Pakistani media. Nor has India used the full potential of irrigation from the Western Rivers as permitted under the Treaty.

The Pakistani debate is silent on the fact that even though the Treaty gives India the right to use the waters of the Eastern Rivers (Ravi, Beas, Sutlej), Pakistan is getting free 2 MAF of water through these rivers because India has not been able to fully utilize the waters of these rivers. The poor state of water structure on the Indian side has allowed this water to flow into Pakistan free.

A frequent Pakistani complaint is that India is “stealing” Pakistan’s water. But no evidence is given to support the allegation. Since India has not built any storage facilities, where would it store the water? Whatever water India takes from the Western rivers is for non-consumptive use allowed under the Treaty. The Pakistani Indus Commission is regularly supplied with the data on this score.

The Pakistani side has complained of the reduced flows of water in the Western rivers. The fact that there are seasonal variations in the flow of water due to differences in monsoon and glacial melt is normally ignored in the Pakistani discourse. Jamaat Ali Shah, the Head of Pakistan’s Indus River Commission, has stated in an interview that India and Pakistan should “look beyond” the Treaty to discuss such issues as the impact of climate change on water resources. Unfortunately, the Treaty, which is a technical document, does not envisage discussion on climate change or environmental issues as these were not issues in 1960.

Undoubtedly, climate change will emerge as a major factor affecting the health of glaciers and rivers in South Asia. India and Pakistan need to discuss these issues seriously. Instead, Pakistani politicians, media and military officers are fanning baseless anti-India rhetoric.

The Pakistani media is also dishing out ill-informed opinions on the Neutral Expert’s determination on the Baglihar dam. It may be recalled that India constructed the Baglihar dam on river Chenab. The dam became operational in 2008. However, the commissioning of the dam was delayed by Pakistan as it took the issue of the dam’s design to the Neutral Expert provided for in the Indus Water Treaty. The Neutral Expert upheld the design parameters of the Baglihar dam, particularly those relating to the location of “spillways”, “pondage” and height. The Neutral Expert stated clearly that sediment control, which dictated the design parameters, was crucial to dam construction. He also upheld India’s view that the first objective of “pondage”, to which Pakistan had objected, was to regulate the flow of the river to meet consumer demand.

Pakistan considers the waters of the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum as “its waters”. Pakistani jihadist groups routinely link jihad with struggle over water in Kashmir. Hafeez Saeed, chief of the Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayebba, has threatened jihad against India over water issues. The Pakistani media is silent on the fact that the people of Jammu and Kashmir regard the Indus Water Treaty as unfair since it places restrictions on the use of these waters. Thus, on one hand Pakistanis support the “freedom struggle” in Kashmir, while on the other they would deprive Kashmiris of the use of water in the Western rivers.

The Kishanganga hydroelectric project is the next point of contention likely to sour India-Pakistan relations. The Kishanganga river is a tributary of the Jhelum. It originates in Jammu & Kashmir, enters Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) after Gurej, flows along the Line of Control (LoC) as the Neelum river and joins the Jhelum at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India is planning to build a hydroelectric project on this river. It will be a run-of-the river project which will require diverting the water of the Kishanganga river through an underground tunnel. Pakistan has objected to the Kishanganga hydroelectric project. It is contemplating taking the issue to the Court of Arbitration and the Neutral Expert in accordance with the terms of the Indus Water Treaty. India is confident that it has a valid case on the Kishanganga project.

There appears to be a deliberate attempt in Pakistan to use the water issue to inflame public opinion against India. This appears to be a part of the larger design of the Pakistani military to drive home to Western interlocutors the continued salience of India in Pakistan’s security calculus. Though Pakistan is facing the prospect of destabilization due to radicalization of its society, the Pakistan Army continues to project India as the number one threat. The water issue is being used to divert attention from 26/11 and the larger issue of terrorism, which India regards as the main issue between India and Pakistan.

Farm credit off-take much less than target

Post Source: Dawn – 25 Mar, 2010

By Shahid Iqbal

KARACHI: Agriculture sector, considered as the backbone of the economy, has absorbed much less credit than the target set by the State Bank during the first eight months of the current fiscal. The SBP reported on Wednesday that credit disbursement to agriculture sector during the eight months remained at Rs144.7 billion. Though it was 10.5 per cent higher than the disbursement of last year (Rs130 billion) but was far behind the target for the current fiscal.

The SBP fixed a target of Rs260 billion for the whole fiscal 2009-10, while during eight months the disbursement should be around Rs170 billion. The current disbursement is at least 20 per cent less than the target.

Analysts said the lower-than-target credit off-take by the private sector reflected a disappointing situation.

They said since the prices of agriculture input have gone up, the credit flow should be higher. They said diesel, urea, electricity prices and other farm inputs are much costlier than last year, which means more liquidity should be absorbed by the sector.

Analysts believe the area of cultivation must have been reduced because of scarcity of water, which would certainly hit the agriculture output during the current fiscal and this could be the one of the reasons for lower flow of agriculture credit.

The country depends largely on agriculture for its economic growth, including the largest textile sector, which earns about 60 per cent foreign exchange for the country.

The large scale manufacturing data shows that the sector is still struggling to come out from the negative zone, while the hope for any significant improvement this year is out of sight.

State Bank report also reveals that only the five large banks were making efforts to improve the disbursement to agriculture sector.

“Overall credit disbursement by five major commercial banks, including Allied Bank, Habib Bank, MCB Bank, National Bank of Pakistan and United Bank stood at Rs74.767 billion in July-Feb, 2010 compared with Rs62.632 billion same period last year, depicting an increase of Rs12.135 billion or 19.37 per cent,” said the SBP report.

The five large banks have already shown their monopolistic strength during the year 2009 as they earned 94 per cent of entire profits of the banking industry.

At least 13 small and medium sized banks are in trouble because of shortage of capital, which made them think to either sell out or merge with bigger bank. These banks are out from the agriculture sector, while the foreign banks were cautious to access the sector.

Other than five big banks, the Zarai Traqqiati Bank was the only large supplier of credit to the agriculture sector. It disbursed a total of Rs41.938 billion in July-Feb, 2010, up 9.14 per cent when compared with Rs38.427 billion in the same period last year, while disbursement by Punjab Provincial Co-operative Bank Limited stood at Rs3.441 billion compared with Rs3.464 billion last year.

14 domestic private banks also loaned a combined Rs24.557 billion during the period under review against Rs25.819 billion disbursed earlier.

Political fallout of Punjab’s water crisis

Post Source: Dawn Economic and Business Review

By Ahmad Fraz Khan


RAJA RIAZ, who heads the PPP parliamentary party and holds two more provincial portfolios – the senior minister, next only to the chief minister, and provincial irrigation minister – on Thursday hosted an all-parties conference at the Punjab Assembly to strategise “how to meet water crisis in Punjab.” The convening of APC heralds a new path for the PPP, particularly for its provincial chapter. It also signifies changing political milieu in which the PPP and other parties have to operate in the most populated federating unit. Farmers from Punjab, who constitute around 68 per cent of the vote bank, are getting “exceedingly uneasy” with the current federal water policies.

They are becoming increasingly vocal, regularly taking to streets at local level and criticising all parties, which “fail to protect their water and, resultant, agriculture and economic right.” Their increasing belligerence has forced almost all political parties to calibrate their response to “escape wrath of politically-charged farmers.”

That is precisely the pressure which the PPP was trying to ward off by convening an APC on the issue, and looks alive to their plight. Otherwise, its provincial chapter has so far been blindly following the federal line of “total inactivity” on the issue.

The joint declaration, issued at the end of the conference, further expanded the political space, which the PPP provincial chapter was ready to concede: it demanded the “construction of Kalabagh dam after building national consensus.”

Whether the demand made by the provincial PPP chapter is a tactical move to “temporarily deflect growing political pressure or it indicates a strategic shift, remains to be seen.” The provincial chapter was, in fact, responding to the growing political pressure on the party for “working out a national water strategy, which protects Punjab’s water rights – as being popularly defined in the province. It is particularly true for the southern part, which, by and large voted for the PPP in last elections.”

The PPP, so far, has to face such pressure mainly from Sindh and, to a lesser extent, from Balochistan and the NWFP. It is for the first time that farmers from Punjab have started generating political heat on major parties to protect, what they perceive to be, their water right.

A more active Punjab voters clamouring for their water rights is a new phenomenon for the PPP to deal with. How it balances between its voters from Punjab and Sindh would be a big test for the party.

The parties now have to respond not only increasing domestic pressure, but the Indian tactics as well, which are worsening domestic scene.

The PPP, being the largest political party, will have to take a lead in this regard. It should realise that water crisis is not a provincial subject. Provinces suffer or benefit from federal policies but they do not execute them. As such, provincial crisis, be it of Sindh or Punjab, cannot be handled unless national picture improves, and every federating unit has something to get. If the provinces are left to share water poverty, crisis would not only go away but deepen. It is also not a Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan or NWFP crisis. The crisis is that of Pakistan, and the federation must deal with, taking provinces along.

Meanwhile, the forecasts, pouring in from all sides – from domestic to international experts – are becoming increasingly scary. The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations, all environmental agencies have put Pakistan in the danger zone. How the PPP government plans to deal with the scare, no one knows – so far at least.

The only dam which would probably be built in the foreseeable future is the Diamir-Bhasha. But its current time line creates more fear than hopes. It is expected to start storing water, if all goes well, by 2020. By that time, the country would have lost seven million acre feet of storage capacity, if 1976 storage (post-Tarbella) level is a benchmark. The dam will store only six million acre feet water. That means, that the country would not be able to restore water situation even in 2020, which it had achieved 44 years ago in 1976.

On the other hand, the current pattern of dams getting empty, only bringing drought closer to the country every passing year. For the last five years, the country’s largest dam, Tarbella, has been regularly hitting dead level by mid-March. It used to serve the country up to mid-June. The silt has eaten up three months’ irrigation supplies. Every year, ten days’ supplies are lost. In next five years, it would start hitting dead level by the end of January, leaving Sindh without last watering for its wheat, Punjab without last two watering for wheat and both without water for Kharif crops.

The Mangla Dam, which was raised by 30 feet by last year, has not been able to store more water because of the resettlement issues. During the last two years, the federal government has not been able to spare funds to move people living on the new lake level. This is despite the fact that the country had already invested over Rs80 billion on it but is not benefiting because it could not spare Rs8 billion to move people. This is suicidal, to say the least.

Farmers hold protests against ‘Indian water terrorism’

Post Source: By Dawn Reporter – Monday, 22 Mar, 2010 

LAHORE, March 21: Hundreds of farmers held a demonstration in Rampur village on the Pakistan-India border on Sunday in protest against what they called ‘Indian water terrorism’. The demonstration was organised by the Muttahida Kissan Mahaz. The farmers carrying banners and placards demanded that India be stopped from building dams in occupied Kashmir and depriving Pakistan of its share of water.

They adopted a resolution which called upon the government to move a resolution in the United Nations against ‘pilferage of river water by India’.

Addressing the protesters, Mahaz president Ayub Khan Mayo, provincial president Murad Khan Baloch and Civil Society Forum’s chairman Dr Shahid Raza said that India was building 40,241MW hydel power projects on the Jhelum and Chenab in occupied Kashmir which would destroy agriculture in Pakistan. They said that the construction of dams was in violation of the Indus Water Treaty.

They said that Pakistan should urge India to stop the ‘pilferage of river water’.

The farmers announced to hold demonstrations along the border on the day of the signing of the Indus Water Treaty on Sept 19 if their demand was not met.

Our Sialkot correspondent adds: The Kissan Wing of Jamaatud Dawa held a meeting in Daska on Sunday to create awareness about ‘Indian water aggression’. 

82 bonded labourers freed

 

Post Source: By Dawn Correspondent – Sunday, 21 Mar, 2010 

MIRPURKHAS, March 20: About 82 bonded labourers have been freed from the illegal captivity of three landlords, on the order of district and sessions judge of Mirpurkhas during the last 24 hours.

A complainant, Dayo Bheel, had submitted an application stating that 29 peasants, including women and children, were confined at the land of landlord Wazir Mari in the Phuladiyoon area. They were forced to work without payment and were not allowed to move freely.

He requested the court to order police to get the detained peasants released.

On the court order, the Phuladiyoon police raided the place and freed 29 detained bonded labourers on Friday.

A woman named Ms Jamni Kolhi had filed an application stating that her 12 relatives were being held as bonded labourers at the land of landlord Ayoub Mari in the Phuladiyoon area.

Police on Friday evening carried out a raid and recovered 12 bonded labourers, including women and children. On Saturday, Naukot police raided the land of Juma Khan Chandio and got released 41 bonded labourers. They were detained for three years.

Complainant Parbhu Kolhi had submitted an application to the district and sessions judge of Mirpurkhas, complaining that 41 peasants were detained at the land of Juma Khan. They were denied livelihood and right to move to other place.

He requested the court to order Naukot police for their recovery.

Police said that all the 82 released bonded labourers would be produced in the court on Monday.

Rising disparity in urban-rural incomes

Post Source: Dawn Economic and Business Review

By Saleem Shaikh

 

RURAL Sindh accounts for over 50 per cent of the province’s population and about 32 per cent of GDP ($34 billion) annually. But the sluggish growth, particularly of agriculture, and lack of rural industrialisation have resulted in rampant rural poverty, which is double of that in urban areas. Over 70 per cent of rural people still earn their livelihood from agriculture, livestock, forestry, or fishing, according to the Sindh Economic Survey 1972-2008. This contrasts dramatically with urban Sindh, especially Karachi, where nearly 95 per cent of the population is employed in manufacturing and services.

The slow growth of rural economy has created a yawing income gap between urban and rural Sindh. Huge disparities between rural and urban economic and social structures in Sindh have given birth to a dual economy in the province.

The absence of backward and forward economic linkages between Karachi and rest of Sindh is a major cause of widening urban-rural divide. Based on agriculture and livestock, rural economy of Sindh does feed the province’s urban economy. But, in return there is hardly any spillover impact of the Karachi’s growing economic activity on the socio-economic lives of the people in the rest of Sindh.

Disparities in income as well as wealth distribution have sparked off mass exodus of jobless from rural to urban areas in search livelihood and better living standards.

Though a major hub of economic activity, Karachi’s robust economic growth over last 10 years has not benefited rural Sindh, says Dr Javed Akbar Ansari, a development economist in Karachi.

“Although the fundamental factors of economic activity in Karachi, which include a range of raw material, manpower and now major portion of investment, is largely provided by the rural Sindh, there is no trickle-down impact of Karachi’s economic activity and growth on the lives of the people in rural Sindh,” says Ansari.

He underlined a serious need for embedding Karachi’s economy into rural economy of the province by establishing and boosting forward and backward linkages on sustainable basis.

“But setting up the forward and backward linkages is not possible until a survey is conducted to find out how the linkages between Karachi and the rest of Sindh can be established, deepened and sustained for diffusion of economic benefits to rest of the Sindh,” believes Ansari.

The backward and forward linkages at the industry level can be segregated into two basic categories: first the kind of industries that produce inputs for agriculture (pesticides, fertiliser, farm implements and allied machines) and others which depend on agriculture output as their input (cotton, rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables), pointed out an official in the Karachi office of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda).

He suggested that agro-based industries that depend on agriculture’s outputs should be set up in rural areas to help generate economic activity and employment there. While backward linkages in education, services, health, technology can also be developed by setting up network of education, health, technology and services facilities..

Rural development expert Mumtaz Khaskheli says unequal distribution of wealth is a major problem, which has widened urban-rural divide in the province.

But former president of Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce Shafiq Qureshi remarked that rural Sindh continues to remain unattractive for investors for want of required facilities and incentives.

“Initiatives have to be given to encourage investors to explore new avenues for investment in rural areas, particularly in agriculture, livestock, dairy, and poultry sectors,” he added..

Agriculturist Abdul Majeed Nizamani says setting up of agro-based industries, introduction of value addition facilities for different farm products, their processing, cold storage and packaging would greatly help revitalise rural economy. And, setting up of food manufacturing centres at SIEs should also be encouraged to boost export of farm products. The development of agro-based industry can check migration from rural to urban areas.

According to a survey of Sindh’s economic indicators, the share of agriculture sector in gross provincial product (GPP) declined by nearly 11 per cent to 15.4 per cent in 2008, down from 26 per cent in 1982.

Investors are reluctant to launch any business or industries in these semi-urban areas on account of bad law and order situation, extended power outages, poor credit facilities and pathetic conditions of industrial estates and small industrial estates (SIEs).

Over the last two decades, the province’s semi-urban areas have not witnessed any industrialisation. Although industrial areas were set up in Nooriabad, Kotri, Hyderabad while SIEs in Nawabshah, Khairpur, Sukkur, Larkana and Shikarpur, Ghotki, Naushero Feroz, Thatta, Badin, Mithi to industrialise rural Sindh, no substantial activity has taken place at any of these areas, complained an industrialist and member of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

But Nawab Pirzada, assistant chief (Industries) in provincial P&D department, said that the government had launched different uplift schemes for SITE areas and SIEs in different parts of Sindh to boost backward and forward linkages and plug urban-rural gap.

“Most of these industrial estates in the province were in bad shape but the present government has taken initiatives to revive them and offered incentives to the potential investors for launching new projects at SIEs”, he said.

Pirzada also said that nine SIEs in Thatta, Sanghar, Dadu, Hala, Badin, Nawabshah, Rorhi, Shewan and Mirpurkhas were being upgraded at a cost of Rs79.518 million, while extension work on Hyderabad SIE has been completed recently at a cost of Rs34.457 million. In addition, infrastructure facilities had been provided to eight SITEs and SIEs in different districts.

He said that a survey had been started recently to establish rice processing mills and other processing and packaging units at the SIEs for value addition of dates, mango, guava, red chilly and other farm productions.

But, just setting up of SITE areas and SIEs would not attract investors to generate economic activity in rural Sindh, said Khair Mohammad Shaikh, president of Larkana Chamber of Commerce and Industty.

Without provision of good road networks, improved public and goods transport facilities, easy financing facilities at lower markup rates, five-ten years tax holidays and export tax exemptions, improved law and order situation, industrialisation in rural Sindh is not possible, he explained.

Development economists also believe that dynamic urban centres can serve as powerful engines to pull the rural economy up and suggest that focus should be on revitalising rural growth with the strengthening of agriculture.

But, growth in the agriculture alone would hardly help grow rural economy, says Mohammad Din, president of Sukkur Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Consolidating rural-urban linkages and diversifying rural economy into non-farm activities are need of the hour to generate income and lowering the risks linked to fluctuations in agricultural output,” he suggested.

An official in the provincial department of industries suggested that an enabling environment should be created to attract private investment to build the province’s social and physical infrastructure.

In addition, the provincial government should focus on improving its efficiency in public spending and strengthening its monitoring and evaluation of public works at all levels with involvement of third party, said Pirzada.

DFID to help Punjab farmers for marketing

Post Source: Business Desk – Wateen The National

 

Lahore: UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) will help Punjab’s farmers for better marketing of their products under the Punjab Economic Opportunities Programme (PEOP).
 

PEOP will create jobs and improve incomes of poor farmers in the Punjab by helping them market their produce.

According to a news release issued by DIFID here Tuesday, a roundtable was held at Cambridge University (UK) to provide a forum for interaction to stakeholders from UK and Pakistan in the dairy and livestock sector.
UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) also referenced its upcoming £50 Million Punjab Economic Opportunities Programme (PEOP) in Partnership with the Government of Punjab in Pakistan.
PEOP will create jobs and improve incomes of poor farmers in the Punjab by helping them market their produce; provide technical knowledge and training to improve the dairy sector; and ensure that women and marginalized communities benefit from the programme. DFID representatives including Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi and Haroon Sharif highlighted UK’s commitment to the development needs of Pakistan, particularly in the dairy and livestock sector.
The roundtable was sponsored by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Tetrapak, Nestle, Em-Zealand SolutioNZ, Sapphire Group and MAP Services Group. The participants included dairy businesses, institutes and processing companies; including government officials. Universities from UK particularly showed an interest in providing technical expertise to Pakistan on the livestock and dairy sector. The British Deputy High Commissioner and Director of United Kingdom Trade and Industry (UKTI) Pakistan; Mr. Robert Gibson supported the roundtable and highlighted the benefits of closer trade ties between UK and Pakistan. 
Minister Political Nafees Zakaria, who represented Pakistan’s High Commission in UK, said that over 100 British companies were engaged in the business investments in Pakistan. DFID’s initiative would provide impetus to the social uplifting and economic prosperity at the grass-roots in Pakistan.
Pakistan is the world s 3rd largest milk producer with an annual milk production of 33 billion litres. There are over 10 million families having more than 56 million dairy animals, mostly indigenous buffaloes and cows. The supply demand gap is more then 1.5 Billion Litres and is growing. The biggest gaps are the slow growth of the processed industry due to lack of availability of good milk. The dairy animals are low yielding and the farming methods are very traditional.
The milk economy contributes an estimated 11 percent to Pakistan’s GDP but most of it, around 97per cent, is informal. There has been a long awaited need for initiating mega projects to bridge these gaps and to convert the 97% informal economy into an organized one with a formal workforce. In view of the above need-analysis in 2005 MAP Services Group in partnership with the dairy industry designed Pakistan’s dairy Strategy called the White Revolution – Dhoodh Darya (river of milk). Huma Fakhar, Managing Partner, MAP Services Group says “The fact that Nestle’s second largest milk processing plant of Asia has been set up in Kabirwala with an investment of 480 million USD, with Tetra pak’s largest packaging unit plant in the world near Lahore and Emirates Investment Group having chosen dairy and agriculture as a key focus in Pakistan; all speaks for itself making the potential of Pakistan’s dairy industry self evident”. Both Nestle and Tetrapak were represented at the roundtable by their global representatives Mr. Hans Joehr Nestle S.A. and Ms. Ullah Holm Tetra Pak; showing the continued commitment of multinationals to develop Pakistan’s dairy sector.
Azhar Ali Syed, Managing Director Tetra Pak Pakistan said “Huge business potential exists in providing safe qualitative milk to 170 million Pakistani Consumers”. Em-Zealand SolutioNZ alongwith partner Emirates Investment Group; a global partnership is adamant to bring in global knowledge to leverage the potential of the sector in the country. Raza Jaffer of Emirates Investment Group said “EIG’s strategy is to blend best practice and knowledge from around the world with Pakistan’s fertile land to bring yield and production levels in line with other major agriculture based economies”.
The roundtable bridged a great opportunity for all the major players to share best practices; transfer of knowledge from more developed countries like UK. The Government of Pakistan, the UK Government and all the lead players re-iterated the need for institutional integration and showed their commitment and appreciation to the UK development agency – DFID for the upcoming PEOP.