Archive for March 19th, 2010

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.