Pakistan is largely based on agriculture; it contributes about 25% to the national economy, provides employment for over 50% of the labour force and is main source of income generation in rural areas. During last four years 2002-06, average annual growth in agriculture sector has been frustrating due to low production of the main crops.

In most of developing countries farmers have always sought ways to increase crop productivity, quality, and sustain reliability through out the year; nearly all farming in the developing world remains small scale and labor intensive and employs a much greater proportion of the population as a result of it there is less reliable productivity and growth; on the other hand agriculture has become more mechanized and less labor intensive with few people engaged in food production in many advance countries due to adoption of up-to-the-minute technology; they have successfully maintain sustainable development and are more certain about their food and energy security.

Green revolution in the 20th century did not harness Pakistan and the average yields of crops are still low as compared to other countries- the yield of major crops is still 30-50 per cent below the demonstrated potential – the gap between actual and potential yield of rice is 50 per cent, wheat 40 per cent, sugarcane 35 per cent and maize 30 per cent. Moreover the burgeoning population having already crossed the 160 millions mark, so elevation of food insecurity and poverty continue to be the main concern of the country. On current trends in population and food production there is likely to be a large gap between production and demand by 2025.

The main factor which contribute the low yield of crops includes, less water for irrigation, high cost of inputs, poor quality seed, conventional sowing method, low level of farm mechanization; high pest infestation and hopeless weed management in practice.

The goals of farmers, government institutes everywhere remain the same how to increase agriculture out put, reduce hunger and poverty with environmental friendly technologies; there is no single solution which is likely to solve our growing problem in agriculture, food, energy, health and environment however tools of agricultural biotechnology are being adopted in many countries to address these issues. It is worth mentioning today around 45 million people in Pakistan has not enough income to purchase the food they need for healthy life and about one third of the population is malnourished; improvement in agriculture will not only help country’s economic growth but also benefit a large segment of the population.

In Pakistan maize is third important cereal after wheat and rice; while it ranks third most grown crop in the world with an area of more than 365 million acres with an annual production of about 750 million metric tones; Asia grows 30% of the global area with China itself growing 74 million acres, plus significant production in India 24 million acres, Indonesia 12.5 million acres, Philippines 9.5 million acres, Thailand 6.5 million acres and Vietnam 2.8 million acres. In Pakistan the area under maize is over 2.4 million acres and production 3.25 million metric tons. Punjab and NWFP contribute 40 per cent, 58 per cent of the total area under maize respectively while around 2 percent of the total area under maize is contributed by Sindh and Balochistan; 30% of total production is contributed by Punjab while 60% by NWFP. Maize is an important crop of AJK with about 0.25 million acres of maize being planted.

Maize crop has a variety of uses it is grown basically for grains and is at the same time a popular fodder for livestock, its grain is a rich source of starch, protein, edible oil is extracted from maize seeds, biofuel like ethanol, biodiesel are being obtained from maize in many parts of the world and it has many applications in food and Pharmaceutical industry.

Maize stem borer is major insect problem in Pakistan, which on the average reduces the yield by about 20-40%; similarly weeds in maize crops reduce yield by 30-45 per cent or even more. Many farmers perceive that insecticides have limited effectiveness on stem borer larvae on the surface of maize plants at the time of spraying but are less effective against larvae that have bored into stalks. Furthermore egg laying can occur over a three week period and most insecticides are only effective for 7 to 10 days; as result the cost per treatment is turned very high relative to perceived usefulness. It is worth mentioning that since the adoption of hybrid maize varieties the production capacity per acre has increased significantly which is more than 5 tones grains per acre as compare with 1.5 tones per acres with conventional maize varieties.

Plant biotechnologists claim that this problem can be solved by the adoption of Bt Maize or genetically modified (GM) maize; which is genetically enhanced by inserting Cry1Ab gene from naturally occurring soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) into the genetic makeup of the corn plant, this genetically improved maize produces the a toxic protein which has the ability to control certain maize borers and a few maize rootworms. GM maize plant does not need to be sprayed as compare to conventional maize varieties so the risk to the environment is minimal as well as it reduces number of pesticides application however opponent argue that the way the crop is grown in some countries may lead to insects becoming resistant to the GM plant. Similarly GM maize with herbicide tolerant gene has the inbuilt mechanism against the application of non selective herbicide; Glyphosate, is consider the most important herbicide around the world. Since transgenic, glyphosate-resistant crops were introduced in 1996; adoption of this technology especially in the U.S. and South America has been increased dramatically.

Today out of 365.7 millions acres of total global maize grown area; Bt maize have been cultivated on 62.2 millions of acres representing 17% of global transgenic; Bt maize has been approved to grow commercially across nine countries the United States, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, Spain, the Philippines, Uruguay, Honduras and Germany. The Philippines was the first country in Asia to commercially introduce the cultivation of Bt maize in 2003. France resumed the planting of Bt maize in 2005 after a four-year gap having planted Bt maize in 1998; because members of French Maize Growers Association expressed their open support for biotechnology, this year 54,362 acres of area; which is 1.5 percent of France’s cultivated maize land – have been sown with GM maize however farmers have urged greater use of GMO crops to boost yields. The underlying concern expressed by the maize growers fear that France would lagging behind in biotech crops when countries like China and India were embracing the technology to their advantage.

More recently French President Nicolas Sarkozy said no GM crops would be planted in France until the government had received the results of an evaluation by a new authority on GMOs set to be launched this year on the other hand European Agriculture Commissioner said a full ban on GMO crops would clearly go against the rules and that France would lose in court if it implemented such a ban. Today seven countries in EU are plantings of Bt maize; according to reports the crops have been delivering income gains to the farmers planting the crops, health benefits for the human and livestock consumers from improved grain quality and environmental gains associated with lower insecticide use.

However many claim that ecological effects of Bt maize on non-target need to be monitor and evaluate; as a precautionary in many countries Bt maize must be cultivated alongside so called “refuges” of conventional varieties – a strategy aimed at preventing the insects from becoming resistant to Bt.

According to a PG Economics study “The benefits of adopting genetically modified, insect resistant (Bt) maize in the EU: first results from 1998-2006 plantings”. The result shows that:

1. In maize growing regions affected by European Corn Borer (ECB) and Maize Stem Borer (MSB), the main impact of growing Bt maize has been higher yields compared to conventional non-GM maize. Average yield benefits have often been over 10% and sometimes higher;
2. In 2006, users of Bt maize have, on average, earned additional income levels of between Rs. 2,183 and Rs. 4,736 per acre. This is equal to an improvement in profitability of 12 to 20%;
3. In certain regions, Bt maize has delivered important improvements in grain quality through significant reductions in the levels of mycotoxins found in the grain. This delivers a health benefit to the livestock sector that mostly consumes the maize;
4. Where farmers have previously used insecticides to control ECB and MSB, adoption of Bt technology has delivered environmental gains from less insecticide use and reduced use of fuel. Reduced fuel use is contributing to lowering carbon emissions.

At present herbicide and insect-resistant maize are permitted for food use and traded on the international food and feed markets; under certain biosafety regulatory framework. However oil extracted from Bt maize grains can be marketed in any country as there is no Bt protein in refined edible oils. Bt protein is separated out in the oil extraction and refining process as oil consists of fatty acids.

Since 1996, when the first commercial GM crops were grown, the global GM crop area has unprecedented increase- reflecting grower satisfaction due to the significant and multiple benefits of GM crops; which include – more sustainable and resource efficient crop management practices that require less fuel, conserve vital soil moisture and control erosion; less dependency on pesticides. It is worth mentioning that there is not a single scientific evidence of its negative impact on environment and human health.

Subject of Mycotoxins in food / feed have received considerable attention especially over the last three decades around the globe – according to some reports Bt maize contains on average 90 percent less cancer causing mycotoxins than the non-GM maize varieties grown by organic and traditional farmers. Because the fungi that produce the mycotoxins, Fusarium molds, enter maize plants primarily through holes produced by corn borers; as every cell in Bt maize is equipped to fight corn borers directly, corn borers that attack such plants are quickly killed and do not replicate, which results in a fewer Fusarium infections and reduced mycotoxin production.

Despite the fact that Pakistan is overwhelmingly an agrarian economy, it is unable to produce sufficient edible oil for its domestic requirements therefore substantial amount of foreign exchange is spent on the import of soybeans, canola and palm oil. Our total requirement of edible oil is estimated at 1.65 million tons against the domestic production of various types of edible oil; which is around 600 thousand tons annually and, therefore, the shortfall of about 900 thousand tons is met through imports. By venturing into biotech crops like Bt maize, Bt soybean Bt Canola; Pakistan will be able to deal with this issue as well.

Pakistan is experiencing skyrocketing prices of edible oils, ghee and sugar since countries growing large area under soybean, maize and sugarcane started programs to convert these crops into biofuels due to increase in crude oil price per barrel (US$ 80 plus) in the international market; as a result of high demand the price of these crops have jumped many times. More recently a senior United Nations expert has condemned the growing use of crops to produce just “biofuels” as a replacement for petrol as a crime against humanity because it push the price of some food crops to record levels.

In order to save an average outflow of foreign exchange of about $900 million on account of import of edible oil and food & energy security, there is a strong need to accelerate efforts in the agriculture sector to steadily increase the local production of oil seeds by the use of GM crops.

Fortunately Pakistan has state of the art research institutes like National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Nuclear Institute of Agriculture and Biology (NIAB) and National Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology (NCEMB); which have capacity to provide GM seeds to the farmers in order to conquer the future growing challenges in agriculture however government’s well and priority would determine the direction.

Collectively, biotech benefits offer growers and society more efficient and higher crop productivity that help contribute to a more sustainable agriculture and to the formidable challenge of ensuring global food, feed, fiber and energy security in the future.

Meanwhile Pakistan need to strengthen its IPRs; Plant breeders Rights; and amend Seed Act as soon as possible to attract investment in this sector. Adopting crop biotechnology can bridge up the gap between the realized and potential maize yields; however it is vital to know so far this emerging technology as it has more advantages than disadvantages.

Ijaz Ahmad Rao – Bahawalpur

Rice research remains an important global undertaking to ensure an adequate food supply for sustainable food security of the poor. Improved technologies for rice productivity growth are critical for achieving food security and reducing poverty in the face of increasing competition for land, labor, and water and the challenges posed by global warming.

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Challenges facing Pakistan cotton production

Cotton is one of the most important fiber and cash crop of the world. Pakistan is the 3rd largest exporter of raw cotton and a leading exporter of yarn in the world; contributes nearly 10 percent in the agriculture GDP and is a source of 60 percent foreign exchange earnings. The value addition through cotton is 8.2 percent in agriculture and 2 percent in the GDP. Sindh and Punjab are the ancient homes of cultivated cotton. It is considered white gold of Pakistan.

The area under cultivation and production is about 3192 thousand hectares and 14265 thousand bales, respectively with 760 kg/hectare yield. The crop has maximum area in Punjab followed by Sindh and very negligible in NWFP. The yield per hectare of seed cotton in Punjab is more to that of Sindh province.

Cotton crop is totally useful for human beings and animals from seed to waste, basically is a natural fiber that finds use in many products, range from clothing to home furnishing and producing medical products; as a result, it is always in demand though its use is subject to the strengths and weaknesses of the overall economy.

Cotton feeds 1035 ginners and about 5000 oil expelling units, which produce 4.00 million tons edible oils. In such a way, cotton brings cash return to farmers, supply raw material to textile industry and provides employment to thousands workers, both in rural and urban areas. About two third of the harvested crop is composed of the seed which is crushed to separate its three products oil, meal and hull. Cotton seed oil is a common component of many food items, used primarily as cooking oil. The oil is used extensively in the preparation of snacks food and crackers, cookies and chips. The meal and hull are used as feed for live stock, poultry and fish. Cotton waste, meal and hull also used as fertilizer for improving soil fertility. Cotton waste is also multiuse product used for mulching in crops, substrate for artificial cultivation of edible and medicinal mushrooms.

However, the productivity rate of cotton for Pakistan did not depart significantly from the world average (1,576 kg/ha) over the period, because of many reasons, including diseases, caused by fungi, bacteria, nematodes, viruses and physiological disorders. Lyda and Watkins (2001, www.apsnet.org) listed 3 bacterial, 17 fungal, 4 plant parasitic nematodes, 10 viral and 2 phytoplasmal and spiroplasmal diseases in world. The work carried out so far in Pakistan shows that seedling rot or wilt, root rot, boll rot, anthracnose, different types of leaf spot diseases, premature opening of bolls (Tirak), stunting and reduction in size of leaves, some nematode species, bacterial blight (angular leaf spot and boll rot), leaf curl and stenosis of cotton, found causing damage to the crop. These diseases are injurious in some areas, in some years and on some plant parts. The magnitude of disease damage depends up on the environment and cultivar. In spite of all, cotton wilt disease is the most dangerous, causes sudden death of plants and results monetary losses after infection; therefore in severely affected areas it may cause whole fields to be ploughed out.

Several species of Fusarium and Verticillium fungi causes wilt. Both the fungi differ from one another, but cause very similar symptoms. The only reliable method for separating and identifying these diseases is taxonomy of causal fungi, both can be readily isolated and cultured from the diseased plant portions. Both the fungal wilts thrive with high nitrogen fertilizer, excessive soil moisture, thin stands and deep cultivation. Both the fungi survive for long periods (for at least a decade) in soil on organic matter and even on non-host plants. However, some of the differential general characteristics between both the wilt fungi may also help in identification and control.

Fusarium wilt develops well in acid soils, is more prevalent in sandy soil, causes more injury when the nematodes injure the roots, can be transmitted internally in seed and prefers hotter soil than Verticillium. Whereas, Verticillium wilt thrives in alkaline soil; is more prevalent in heavy soils, does not require injury for infection, can not be transmitted internally in seed and prefers cooler soil than Fusarium.

The wilts start appearance at seedling in case of early attack and/or may also occur at any plant growth stage. Areas of reduced or patchy plant stand can be seen in affected fields, usually spreading in the direction of irrigation flows. Symptoms include seed and seedling rot, wilting, death of seedling and adult plants, accompanied by vascular browning.

Initially, vein clearing and leaves show a distinct loss of turgor and yellowing occurs starting at the leaf margin between the main veins, sometimes referred as leaf epinasty, followed by stunting. The stunted plants may fruit early.The yellowing progresses inward and is followed by necrosis hence defoliation occurs starting at the bottom of the plant, and consecutively towards the top, results progressive wilting of leaves and stem, defoliation and finally death of the plant (partially or wholly), some attempted regrowth. The diseased plants are pulled out easily, due to the loss of rigidity. Brown, red or yellow rings of discolored tissue observed in case of cutting the stem in crossways, mostly close to the base and plant death occur in severe cases. Fusarium wilt is a solid dark brown ring compacted with healthy white stems around the outer portion of the stem and that the infected areas observed irregular in shape and size. Water-conducting stem tissues turn brown and become inactive, resulting in wilted foliage. Leaves turn yellow between veins and eventually shed as plants die to leave bare stems. Once the fungus has colonized the plant the diagnosis is confirmed by splitting the stem to reveal dark brown, vascular discoloration and streaking characteristic of wilt, most likely causes the death of the host. The wilt diseases mostly spread in patches, but entire field may also be affected in severe conditions. Certain strains of the causal fungus only cause symptoms when plants are also infected with the root knot nematode. In those cases, galls are usually prevalent on lateral roots. Some formae speciales are not primarily vascular pathogens but Fusarium spp. may also cause foot and root rot or bulb rot in cotton.

Cotton wilt causing both pathogenic fungi (Fusarium and Verticillium spp.) are seed-borne, may carry over for long-distance, spread from year to year by sowing infected seed; also move from field to field, farm to farm and region to region, whenever very small quantities of infested soil is transported through boots, farm equipments, vehicles, in water (irrigation and overland flows), in flood irrigation and also in infected plant material, including seed etc. The fungi sustains on the outer surface of roots of many crops and weeds and survives indefinitely in soil for at least a decade, even in the absence of cotton plants. The diseased plant debris lying in the field or in the storage space also helps both the fungi to remain alive. The cotton husks, used as cattle feed are also identified as a potential source for spread of wilt. The scientists also reported very broad host range of both the wilt causing fungi, at the species level. More than 120 different formae speciales have been identified based on specificity to host species belonging to a wide range of plant families.

Prevention is better than cure, because control of wilt diseases is very difficult, chemical control is very costly and even is impossible to recover heavily infected, shriveled and damaged plants. However, cultivation of resistant variety is only the most easy, economical and safe method. Growers are advised to plant improved immune or resistant varieties, because these are equal to the susceptible varieties in yield, adaptation and other cultural characteristics and field practices; since new races of the fungi may develop and attack on these.

However, it is necessary that growers must keep in touch with the latest information on resistant varieties and control measures. The following preventive measures also help to minimize risk of damage.• Crop rotation with non host crop is preferably recommended, because lower disease intensity has been reported in case to avoid cultivation of susceptible varieties/cultivars in the diseased area at least for three years

  • Clean cultivation by removing infested plant materials after harvesting through deep and repeatedly tillage operations help to destroy infected plant parts from field.
  • Good drainage improves soil conditions which help to minimize the disease incidence.
  • Use of disease free and certified seed or seed treatment with suitable seed dressing fungicides before sowing is also recommended.
  • In some cases, late and deep sowing reduces disease incidence.
  • Mixed cropping with non host crops also help to check the disease.
  • 5-6 weeks mulching with colorless plastic is recommended for soil solarization and straw mulch help to maintain temperature for reducing the fungal population in crop field.
  • Uprooting and burning of diseased plants and weeds help to minimize further spread of the problem.
  • Proper irrigation and balanced fertilizer application help to grow healthy plants with the aim of more resistance against wilt and other diseases.
  • Avoid storage of plant waste material and even storage in the field, otherwise sweeping the waste material from storage space and burning or burying all plant debris must be ensured.

 

Courtesy: M. Mithal Jiskani and Gul Bhar Poussio
Department of Plant Pathology, Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam

The cotton price in the country has risen sharply after receiving high orders from the overseas buyers, which increase the prospects for higher exports in the current financial year.

Ahsanulhaq, chairman of the Cotton ginners Forum, said the price of cotton had reached Rs6400 after an increase of Rs100 per meter while the price of lint cotton also increased.

Pakistan has received offers and now the export of raw cotton to Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam was initiated, which led to a rising price for the goods.

The temperature in Punjab and Sindh cotton has also been adjusted, which caused the attack of pests, in particular white flies, in the mounting areas.

The chairman said that cotton production had healthy signs and that the goods rose by 37 per cent by 15 October 2017, following the recent arrival of the Cotton Coffers Association.

The country’s production reached a milestone of 5.984 million bales, while cotton production in Punjab rose 55 percent to 3 million bales, while the field from Sindh production rose 22 percent to 2.9 million bales. Pakistan cottonyear starts from July to April.

Source: Pakistan Observer

The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has constituted 35 committees across the country to promote the agricultural sector which was neglected in past to save the country from food security. The committees would boost regional trade and monitor agriculture import and exports trade patterns, including import pricing, and highlight issues and give recommendations in regard to trade facilitation for agriculture products.
PrintThe committees would discuss and suggest recommendations to resolve problems confronted by growers, exporters and suppliers and other related issues. The regional trade committees would submit their reports and recommendations to the concerned ministries directly. The representatives of ministries or departments would be member of regional trade committees. The ministries and departments include Ministry of National Food and Security and Research Division, Ministry of Science and Technology, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, National Tariff Commission of Pakistan, Punjab, Sindh, agriculture departments, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan Agriculture, Livestock and Co-operative departments, Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority, Pakistan National Accreditation Council, NAPHIS, Department of Plant Protection and Department of Animal Quarantine. The representatives of chambers, farmers associations, mango & citrus association, Rice Exporters Association and other bodies would also be member of the committees. The chairmen of Islamabad Poultry and Vegetable Farmers Association, Faisalabad, Pakistan Agriculture and Dairy Farmers Association, Lahore, Pakistan Dairy Association, Lahore, Pakistan Rice Exporters Association, Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, Multan Mango Growers Association, All Pakistan Fruits and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association, Karachi, Pakistan Fruits Processors Association, Islamabad, Pakistan Flour Mills Association, Lahore, All Pakistan Crop Protection Association, Lahore, Seed Association of Pakistan, Sindh Badger Board, Hyderabad would be included in the committees.

Source: Business Recorder

Cotton means, “thread”. Cotton is an in determinant plant. There are four cultivated species of cotton.

· Gossipium arborium

· Gossipium herbacium

· Gossipium hirsutum

· Gossipium barbaden

All about cottonThe first two species are called Old-world cotton. It is grown in India, Pakistan. Lint is used in textile and stuffing. The last two species Gossipium hirsutum (American Cotton) and Gossipium barbaden (Egyptian Cotton) are grown in Pakistan and known as “Narma”. Main stem of cotton is called Cotton stick. 40 kg of cotton gives 26-27 Kg of Banola seed and 13-14 Kg of lint. Cotton is important cash crop of Pakistan. 60% of export earning is through cotton 85% domestic oil (vegetative oil) is coming from cotton. It provides raw material to 503 mills in Pakistan and 1135 ginning factories. Yield per hectare is more in Punjab than Sindh.

PLANTING REQUIREMENT OF COTTON:

It is warm season crop. The optimum temperature for germination is between 30-35 °C. At the time of flowering temperature is 34-36 °C.

VEGETATIVE GROWTH PATTERN:

Emergence of leaves from nodes takes place. Healthy root system is present for acquiring soil nutrient. Acropetal (Roots) and Basipetal (Leaves) transport system is present. Main stem is called “monopodial” and branches are called “synpodial”. Root growth is 0.5-2.0 inches each day. Cotyledon unfolds at that time root can grow up to 10 cm. At early vegetative stage root is twice than plant height. At the time of boll setting due to demand of carbohydrate root growth become slow. Root activity become slow gradually when plant mature.

IRRIGATION:

Cotton requires moderately to high irrigation. Cotton can not survive in stagnant water.

SOIL REQUIREMENT AND SOIL PH:

Clay loamy soil is best for cotton. Optimum soil pH for cotton is 5.8-6.5 (slightly acidic). Cotton can also be grown in alkaline soil (pH ranges from 8 and above). The soil should be high in organic matter.

VARIETIES:

The main varieties grown in Sindh are

· Kalandri

· M-100

· Cris-9

· Cris-34

· Cris-38

· Sarmast

· Reshmi

· Rehmani

Some Punjab varieties grown in Sindh are

· NIAB-78

· NIAB-98

· Krishma

SEED VARIETY AND GERMINATION RATE:

Seed variety should be 100% pure and germination rate is 75%. 1 lock of boll contains 6-8 seeds.

DELITING:

1 Kg of sulphuric acid = 10 Kg of cottonseeds.

SOIL TEMPERATURE:

At the time of germination soil temperature should be less than 30 ° C. Above 60° C temperatures destroy seedling emergence.

SOWING DATE:

Sowing starts at 15th April. Row to row spacing 2.5-3.0 ft. Plant to plant spacing 9 inches approximately.

SEED RATE:

8-10 Kg seeds per Acre.

SOWING METHOD:

Cottonseed is sown by

· Furrow method

· Ridges method

In flat method 25,000-30,000 plants per acre.

DISEASES:

· Boll rots.

· Nematodes.

· Seedling disease.

· Verticillium wilt.

· Ascochyta blight.

Domestic chemical makers don’t seem to be in favour of giant import of carbamide for Kharif season as they believe that spare stocks are obtainable for the approaching crop season. The Ministry of Industries & Production within the last meeting of the chemical Review Committee (FRC) had determined to import zero.125 million tons for Kharif season and therefore the chemical business supported the choice.

This acquisition are created against a $50 million loan facility recently approved by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) specifically for the acquisition of carbamide fertilizer.

Kharif season fertiliser makers not in favour of urea importAs per estimates of chemical makers of West Pakistan consultive Council (FMPAC) – a representative body of native fertilizer makers – around three.01 million heaps of carbamide stocks, as well as domestic production and carryover stocks from Rabi season, are obtainable within the country for the approaching crop season against a most demand of two.8 to 2.9 million tons.

The country would have some zero.370 million heaps of carbamide stock at begin|the beginning} of Kharif season that may start from Gregorian calendar month one, 2014. calculable production from domestic fertilizer plants throughout the Kharif season can stay a pair of.64 million tons (with gas offer on SNGPL in line with the last year) which means there would be around three.01 million heaps of carbamide obtainable within the country against a requirement of two.8 to 2.9 million tons. As a result, the carryover stock at the tip of Kharif 2014 is probably going to be zero.21 to 0.110 million tons, a political candidate of FMPAC aforesaid.

He aforesaid recent demand of two.9 million tons continues to be more than needs reported  by provinces. “Fertiliser plants will manufacture the specified and spare carbamide for domestic consumption by guaranteeing the required gas offer. The domestic production won’t need precious interchange and billions of rupees grant, being spent on import on carbamide,” he added.

The business sources aforesaid the govt call to import carbamide and distribute it through National chemical selling restricted (NFML) has additionally been politically motivated  within the past so this observe ought to be discourage by the PML-N government. The centralized is already considering shifting the foreign carbamide distribution from NFML to non-public sector so as to confirm clear and timely distribution of foreign carbamide, they added.

Sources aforesaid some quarters ar proposing an enormous import of zero.7 million heaps of carbamide import for Kharif season. However, they believed that the planned conceive to import zero.7 million heaps of carbamide is contrary to the fact on ground and therefore the call can drain around $266 million from the funds, that is already facing a crisis of depleting forex reserves.

According to sources, this estimate of foreign carbamide has been calculated at a median $380 per ton price and Fright (C&F). On this basis, the landed price involves Rs a pair of,900 per fifty kilo bag as well as port incidentals and native freight, etc. To sell this foreign carbamide at a fix value of Rs one,786 per bag, the govt would ought to offer a further grant of roughly Rs sixteen billion on zero.7 million tons foreign carbamide.

Domestic fertilizer makers urged the govt to require any call on carbamide import whereas keeping in sight this stock handiness position. carbamide is foreign to supply profit to farmers, however in point of fact, farmers don’t get any advantage of foreign carbamide and later grant by the funds, they added. Despite the country’s current carbamide production capability of six.9 million tons, that is world’s seventh largest, West Pakistan spent over $1.5 billion on carbamide import in last three years and additionally paid a grant of over Rs sixty billion on foreign carbamide.

Source: Business Recorder

The Agriculture Task Force (ATF) of Pakistan-India Joint Business Forum (PIJBF) is vehemently opposition granting Non-Discriminatory Market Access/Most Favoured Nation (NDMA/MFN) to Asian country at this stage.

Agriculture sector opposes granting NDMA MFN status to IndiaPresident, Farmers Associates West Pakistan (FAP) and Co-Chair of Agriculture Task force, PIJBF, Tariq Bucha in an exceedingly letter sent to the federal commerce minister has highlighted that agriculture sector, that is far and away the largest leader within the country, flatly opposes granting NDMA/MFN to Asian country until correct preparations are completed on our facet to guard our sectors from huge Indian subsidies, and find important market access from Asian country for Pakistani merchandise, to make sure the amount enjoying field as per the need ordered down within the cupboard call of bissextile day, 2012.

Unnecessary haste with that the govt of West Pakistan is continuing to open Wagah border and to over 137 things before Asian country lowers its agriculture tariffs and removes every kind of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and healthful and Phyto healthful (SPS) barriers that are undermining our negotiating leverage and position. “For Agriculture turn out and product, Wagah route can’t be opened any longer, till a separate bilateral agri-trade agreement is negotiated involving stakeholders together with FAP, and is finalised and signed, supported associate impartial and freelance study for that purpose,” he said.

Moreover, he said, SAFTA doesn’t apply absolutely to the complexities concerned underneath the World Trade Organization regime with relevance agriculture. it’s a 15-page agreement with incomplete annexes, and needs important and severe redefining, restructuring and amendments with careful neutral input and approval, just in case it contemplates agri trade between the countries owing to huge current and future subsidies given to agriculture in Asian country that ar an indicator of unfair trade.

Nowhere will the SAFTA agreement need West Pakistan to terminate its sensitive list in 5 years. “Pakistan’s agriculture sector vehemently opposes any longer phasing out of agricultural things from the sensitive list. we’ve got scan the SAFTA Agreement rigorously, and apprehend that there’s no such categorical demand. Any reductions created on the sensitive list ar discretionary, and despite the fact that a review of the list is needed each four years, a ‘review’ doesn’t need a discount in it,” he declared.

Within the ASEAN regime, that may be a way more sturdy FTA than SAFTA, as an example, there ar things that stay for good on a “highly sensitive list”, he said, adding that any representatives of the govt of West Pakistan United Nations agency agrees to needless reductions of the sensitive list should apprehend that they’d be doing therefore with none legal demand, and would be violating the principle of keeping tier enjoying field that was set down within the aforesaid cupboard call, within the wake of the big subsidies given by the Indian government.

He steered that to effectively counter the big subsidies on agriculture before gap Wagha and granting NDMA/MFN to Asian country, the govt of West Pakistan should initial place in situ tariff rate quotas per crop that equal the grant given to every crop on the Indian facet, to make sure tier enjoying field. “The on top of steps should be verified by FAP, representing the agri-sector. Once that’s done, we tend to may move forward on negotiating a separate agri-trade agreement for bilateral trade with Asian country,” he added.

It has been discovered within the letter that granting NDMA means Wagah ought to still be closed to all or any Indian merchandise, as a result of no different country’s merchandise comes through Wahga. “Therefore, if all merchandise are restricted from Wagah, that might accommodates Non-Discriminatory Market Access. By granting Wagah access to over 137 Asian countryn merchandise would quantity to granting India even additional favourable terms than needed by a grant of NDMA/MFN. Granting Wagah access to over the present agriculture things can considerably weaken Pakistan’s economy, and already beleaguered agriculture sector,” he said.

Tariq declared that Congress Party is probably going to lose within the coming elections in {india|India|Republic of Asian country|Bharat|Asian country|Asian nation} thus the agriculture sector powerfully opposes granting NDMA/MFN to India notably once the new Indian government is merely few months away and will lift any concessions that ar given to West Pakistan by the outgoing Congress government. ‘At this juncture, National Tariff Commission (NTC) doesn’t nevertheless have the capability or provisions to effectively counter unfair trade practices like the anticipated selling and significant subsidisation of agricultural merchandise by the Indian facet,’ he said.

Before giving any longer trade concessions to the Indian facet, he same the Ministry of Commerce should demonstrate that the NTC has the power, capability and therefore the powers to effectively defend Pakistan’s agriculture from the anticipated onslaught of unfair Indian trade practices of selling and significant subsidization. “Since 2011, the Ministry of Commerce has acknowledged that the NTC lacks such capability, and nevertheless the NTC has not visibly improved. The Ministry of Commerce thus cannot in sensible conscience open Wagah or to over 137 things before it may build a strong NTC’.

Concluding Tariq same, though the agriculture sector isn’t loth to trade with Asian country in an exceedingly structured, phased and effectively negotiated agreement, we tend to feel that the govt of West Pakistan has so far did not improve the capability of its establishments or place in provisions to afford required protection to its domestic sectors, to assist survive the anticipated onslaught of Indian agricultural turn out and product. ‘Thus, till such time that the govt of West Pakistan demonstrates that it’s serious concerning safeguarding Pakistan’s domestic agriculture from unfair competition, we’ll oppose any move for granting NDMA/MFN and additional gap of Wagah’.

Source Business Recorder 

Pakistan’s wheat production is anticipated to stay regarding twenty four.5 to twenty five million tons this year, which is 0.25-0.75 million tons wanting the projected target of twenty five.25 million tons, Ministry of National Food Security and analysis officers aforementioned.

A senior official of the Ministry of National Food Security and analysis told Business Recorder, here on Wed that Asian nation is in an exceedingly position to supply bumper wheat crop this year however it depends on atmospheric condition in March: if the temperature remains average the country’s wheat output is anticipated to cross twenty five million tons, however if temperature is on top of the common for the year wheat output is probably going to stay twenty four.5 million tons.

Wheat output likely to remain below projected target this year“This year wheat growers have brought nearly twenty one million acres underneath wheat cultivation, that is sort of one thousand thousand acres but the past year. In arid areas, a decline within the space underneath wheat cultivation, low tide provides and fertiliser shortages square measure probably to cut back the wheat production, however on national level we tend to predict a healthy wheat crop”, the officers aforementioned.

“In Rabi season we’ve got 2 major crops wheat and gram, wheat production is probably going to cross twenty five million tons if atmospheric condition stay favourable, whereas gram production is anticipated to be 550,000 tons this year against set target of 600,000 tons” he added . Gram is especially cultivated in Bhakkar, Layyah, Khushab and Mianwali districts, whereas wheat is being cultivated across the country tho’ geographical region is that the major wheat manufacturing province, followed by Sind and KPK.

“Pakistan wants around 900,000 loads of gram to feed its population on low-cost macromolecule, however the country is at the present manufacturing solely 550,000 loads of gram. within the past, Asian nation was manufacturing nearly 800,000 loads of gram pulse. Even in worst-weather years, the gram production was ne’er less than 5 maunds per acre. sadly throughout the past few years it absolutely was solely two.5 maunds per acre. however and why did the yield call in over seventy % at intervals a matter of few years nobody knows”, Abraham Mughal Chairman Agri-Forum Asian nation aforementioned.

Mughal aforementioned the case could improve slightly if water and fertiliser handiness improves adding that at the present a bag of carbamide is obtainable at Rs one,900 to Rs two,000, that 3 years back was obtainable at Rs 800 per bag. the assembly value of various crops has increased  manifold throughout past few years and farmers square measure unable to buy necessary inputs to extend yield. Farmers have planted wheat over a locality of very little over eight.5 million hectares this year, down from nine.13 million hectares last year once the country created a bumper crop of regarding twenty three.8 million loads of wheat, Mughal aforementioned.

Source: Business Recorder 

The Federal Law Ministry has finally given a ruling, asking Climate Change Ministry to convene a meeting of National Bio-Safety Committee for granting approval to the long-awaited 15 Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) of cotton varieties for commercialisation, sources revealed. GMO challenges Ministry asked to call crucial meeting 300x300 GMO challenges: Ministry asked to call crucial meeting

Well-placed sources revealed to Business Recorder that Textile division had approached Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after the reportedly delaying tactics by the Climate Change Ministry for convening a meeting of NBC.

Prime Minister on January 16, 2014 constituted a committee comprising Secretary Textile division, Secretary Law and Secretary Climate Change and directed them to hold a meeting within 10 days for resolving the issue. The committee met last week and Law division gave a ruling asking for convening a meeting of NBC to grant approval for commercialisation of cotton seeds, sources maintained.

Certified cotton seed was becoming a serious issue as no BT certified cotton seed would be available for cultivation for the upcoming crop season due to non-approval of GMO cotton varieties by NBC which might encourage the seed-mafia, besides negatively impacting commodity production, official maintained.

Official sources revealed that Pakistan being a signatory to the international Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety had to regulate GMO through establishing a Bio-safety system in the country. NBC and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (PEPA) have responsibility to evaluate, regulate and monitor GMO for lab or field research and their commercial scale production or marketing in the country.

The NBC had not held its meeting since February 2011, which had delayed the regulatory process required to test and approve GMOs crops, said sources, adding that applications submitted by various public and private sectors organisations seeking approval of different GMO crops were yet to be reviewed by the NBC.

Currently only transgenic crop commercially cultivated in Pakistan is cotton and eight BT varieties and one cotton Hybrid were approved by Punjab Seed Council (PSC) in April 2010 and commercialisation certificate was granted by NBC. In February 2012, PSC provisionally approved eight BT varieties (Tarzen-1, MNH-886, NS-141, FH-114, IR-NIBGE-3, CIM-598, Sitara-009, A-One) subject to the grant of commercialisation certificate from the NBC and TAC had to clear cases before consideration in NBC, sources maintained.

BT cotton varieties in Pakistan, which were granted certificate for three years (now expired) included IR-3701, Neelum-121, FH-113, Sitara-008, MG-6, Ali Akbar-703, Ali Akbar 802, IR-1524 and GN Hybrid-2085. BT cotton varieties waiting for commercialisation certificate included Tarzen-1, VH-259, MNH-886, BH-178, NS-141, CIM-599, FH-114, CIM-602, IR-NIBGE-3, FH-118, CIM-598, FH-142, Sitara 009, IR-NIBGE-824, A-One IUB-222, Sayaban-201, Sitara-11M, A-555, KZ-181, Tarzan-2 and CA-12.

Source: Business Recorder