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Pakistan farmers turn to ostirch farming in a big way

Multan, Feb 9:  The Punjab government is providing assistance of Rs 10,000 per ostrich with an aim to promote the protein rich, low-fat meat and economic uplift of farmers.

At initial, the subsidy was given on 2,500 birds. The project jointly launched by Development of Ostrich Farming in Punjab and University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences was in progress to encourage ostrich farmers , said a Livestock Department official while talking to APP.

He said that people’s interest for ostrich farming was on rise and a good number of farmers were contacting the Livestock department.

Advising the farmers for ostrich farming , he said the bird was one of the biggest bird in the world, added that ostrich uses low quantity of food but offer handsome meat. Its meat has low cholesterol, low fats and rich protein, which beneficial for hepatitis and diabetes patients, he added

He said that its skin was considered as the second expensive skin after skin of crocodile in international market. There was high demand of ostrich skin across the world, he said added that average price of one shoe, made of skin of ostrich was $ 250.

He said that ostrich skin was soft, flexible and durable adding that one mature ostrich contribute 12 to 14 square feet skin.

Although, ostrich meat offers low fats, but oil extracted from fats, was one of expensive oil used to abolish dryness of human skin and healing of skin cuts, he added.  He said that ostrich feathers also offer handsome returns as these were used for decoration.

The official said that ostrich belonged to Retite family and there were many species of the bird. Every specie had different colours of neck and they were recognised from colours of their neck, he said added that ostrich have red, blue, black and pink necks, however Ostrich of black neck was famous in the world.

The trend of Ostrich farming had increased after the bird was included in list of Livestock stock in 2012, in the province, he said added that earlier, the bird was present in list of wildlife.

Pakistan gets $300m World Bank loan for agri sector

Islamabad, Feb 4: The World Bank on Friday signed agreement worth of $300 million with Pakistan to support the agriculture sector of the Punjab and $5 million agreement with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to improve the nutrition status of children and women.

Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan signed the Loanand Grant Agreements on behalf of government of Pakistan while representatives of government of Punjab and government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa signed their respective Project Agreements while Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan represented the WB .

The government of Punjab would finance $1290 million for Strengthening Markets for Agriculture and Rural Transformation (SMART) in Punjab. Meanwhile, the World Bank would give loan of $300 million for the SMART programme.

The World Bank in December last year had approved $300 million to modernise agriculture in Punjab province to raise farmers' incomes, give consumers better quality and safer food at lower prices, create jobs on farms and agribusinesses, and improve the use of irrigation water.

The SMART Punjab programme is aimed at helping the government of Punjab to promote transformational change in the crop and livestock subsectors by focusing on activities contributing to three Results Areas: (a) increased on-farm productivity and value of crops and livestock; (b) increased value addition and competitiveness of crops and livestock; and (c) enhanced resilience of smallholder farmers to climate change and natural disasters. Each Results Area involves a specific combination of policy reforms, institutional strengthening and public investments.

The resources provided by the World Bank will be part of a larger programme by the government of Punjab that aims at better harnessing the enormous potential for farming in the province, with its fertile soils and extensive irrigation system.

It addresses the paradox that while Punjab's farmers earn too little, people pay high prices for low quality food. This situation is largely the result of farm policies that have hardly changed in the last 50 years. These include extensive subsidies that are inefficient and ineffective, and government spending that does not provide widespread benefits and results in wasteful water use.

Meanwhile, another agreement of additional financing to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the Enhanced Nutrition for Mothers and Children Project of $ 5.0 million (Grant) was also signed on Friday.

The objective of the grant is to scale-up nutrition intervention in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to improve the nutritional status of children under two years of age, as well as pregnant and 

lactating women.

The EAD secretary thanked the World Bank for extending its continuous support to the government of Pakistan in its efforts to achieve sustainable economic development in the country.

World food prices seen supported by strong demand in 2018

Rome, Feb 9: 

Strong demand looks set to support world food prices in 2018 although the political situation in oil-producing countries and international trade negotiations may herald more volatility, a United Nations food agency economist said on Thursday.

World food prices rose 8.2 percent in 2017 from the previous year, reaching their highest annual value since 2014, on an index compiled by The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Food on international markets is still 24 percent cheaper than its 2011 high, and supplies of many commodities in the index of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar, remain ample.

“The general sentiment is that we know what supplies are, and there is no excuse to think demand would get weak ... so there is momentum being built,” said FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian.

The index rose annually despite a 3.3 percent fall in December from the month before, as dairy, vegetable oils and sugar values declined sharply.

Improved global growth prospects have helped fuel demand in most countries but it was too early in the year to predict what effect weather conditions would have on harvests, meaning supply could still exceed expectations, Abbassian said.

Oil prices were also driving developments, he said.

“If oil prices are the highest in a couple of years, all you need is some sort of unexpected development in one of the big oil producing countries to see a spike in oil and that would definitely spill over to other commodities,” Abbassian said.

Demand for biofuel as oil prices rise and surpluses shrink could support values for vegetable oil, sugar and corn.

Last year’s market uncertainty about issues such as a planned renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement had not yet been assuaged, Abbassian said.

“I think in 2018 we are going to confront the real consequences of some of these developments,” he said. “It’s going to be a little more uncertain, a little more volatile and unpredictable.”


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