[GRRN] No new grain without burning the stubble!

Dr. Aslam Pervez Umrani (agr726@hyd.zoooom.net.pk)
Fri, 19 Feb 1999 07:08:21 -0000

(Sustainable Livestock & Agriculture Production)
Bimonthly-Newsletter March & April 99
1. Corruption a major obstacle in agricultural development: A case study of
2. Sustainable goat farming
3. Poor rural women, and the role of livestock in their life
4. Book Review:
5 New Conferences
6. Finer things of life!
7. Address & SLAP's Team
( Complete articles can be read at Internet:)
Corruption a major obstacle in agricultural development of Developing
countries : A case study of Pakistan
By Dr Aslam Pervez Umrani, Ghulam Hussain Mallah and Rashid Ahmed Nizamani
Corruption occurs in many forms, including grand corruption in which large
payments made in procurement process or for favourable import and export
policies to high-ranking bureaucrats and in certain cases to ruling
parliamentarians. In petty corruption, small payments are made for approval
of projects and release of funds. Plainly, corruption damages economy and
efforts for any reforms. It makes hindrance in sustainable growth and
working of government and non-government (Banks, Businesses and NGOs)
sectors. Corruption impedes the ability of Pakistan to attract scarce
foreign investment and its distribution in needy sectors of our society.
Although concerns about corruption have been on rise in recent years in many
segments of our society, there has been little attempts made on government
level to address this issue seriously. The main problem is that, now we see
the corruption, but do not feel it, and our society does not show any strong
response against this evil. This current article is only limited to grand
corruption or mismanagement in agricultural sector.
Recently, Food and Commerce Ministries claimed that in 1998, Pakistan
earned Rs395 millions by exporting onions, potatoes, dry chillies, chilly
powder and gram split. However, in the same year, Rs340 million were paid on
the same items at same time to import them. The import of chillies were done
at the time when chillies bumper crop was ready in Sindh, which suppressed
the price of locally produced chillies; on other hand, some of exported
chillies were damaged in stores thus never sold in open market. It happened
to onions as well. They were imported when the crop was reaped in southern
Pakistan, resulting in down turn of prices even below the break-even level.
These abrupt down ward trends of prices of agricultural commodities resulted
in fluctuations in cropping pattern. Now the market is not regularised by
local demand and supply. Farmers, consumers and government all are loosing
money, that surprises many people, but not to those who earned lot of
commissions from this business.
Despite enormous natural resources and more than 50 per cent population is
involved in agriculture sector, the country is precariously dependent on
food imports and is third largest US wheat customer. The food imports are
likely to grow due to lack of incentives to our farmers. The trend is
already clear and country imported more than four million tones of wheat in
Continuous import of dry milk, soybean meal, edible oils and wheat is
suppressing the prices of locally produced items, thus farmers are less
interested in increasing the production of these items. If we had given
incentives to our farmers to achieve higher production, they would have mad
our country self-sufficient in wheat and edible oils. However, that will
reduce the amount of kickbacks for policy makers of our society.
Wheat: For example, Pakistan will have to pay the premium price for import
of wheat with each passing year. So far, Pakistan had paid 175, 357, 440,
451 and 713 million US Dollars in 193-94, 1994-95, 1995-96, 1996-97 and
1997-98 respectively. This rising trend does indicate the cost of future
payments to be made to settle down wheat export bills only.
Sugarcane: At present 20 sugar mills are working in Sindh Province. But this
year, due to compromise between decision-makers and sugar mill-owners the
sugar cane farmers have suffered enormous financial losses. This year,
farmers are crying due to low prices and delayed payments compared to last
two years. One of the reasons that sugarcane growers have come under
pressure was delayed start of sugar mills, which increased the competition
among growers to get indents. Although there is legal protection to farmers
under Sugarcane Act, for timely start of factories and payments for their
commodities. Therefore separate sugarcane commissioner offices were
established in each province, but so far no efforts have been taken to
rescue sugarcane farmers and take necessary action against sugarcane
industry's kings.
Edible Oils: The cost paid last year for import of edible oil was 760
million US Dollars, which is likely to touch the level of 800 million
Dollars at the end of current fiscal year. Pakistan could save much-needed
dollars by using home resources, such as, cottonseed, soybeans, canola,
maize and sunflower. According to cotton experts, the country is capable of
producing at least 1.4 million tonnes of edible oil through available
Cotton: Cotton is key crop of Pakistan, and our country is fourth largest
cotton growing country in the world. Cotton crop not only earns foreign
exchange as a raw material, but it also supports other industries, such as
ginning, oil expellers, textile and ready-made garment factories. Thus
directly or indirectly millions of people are involved in this crop.
Nevertheless, production figures for 1998 indicates that cotton production
have declined in Punjab province due to out breaks of Cotton Leaf Curl Virus
(CLCV). Now CLCV is spreading in Sindh, because of sowing of NIAB 78
variety, which is vulnerable to attack of white fly vector. There are
central and provincial cotton research and extension institutes in Punjab
and Sindh, but no serious efforts are put to inform about this incurable
virus disease.
Fertiliser: It is surprising that the agriculture extension services had
never emphasised the importance of organic manure, just because chemical
fertiliser companies are offering some benefits to extension workers. Thus
organic matter is declining in our soils and soils are becoming more
alkaline due to use of Urea and other alkaline fertilisers. Recently, at the
time of wheat sowing, shortage of DAP was created by not importing
phosphorus based fertilisers in time, which increased the black marketing of
DAP and those who had the stock, made large profits. This shortage not only
increased the price of DAP, but it also first time encouraged the
adulteration. The end result is farmers either used little DAP at right time
or they used adulterated DAP, and due to both reasons, we will be getting
lower wheat yield, thus more money will be spend on wheat imports. Who is
mastermind behind this fertiliser game, no one knows that, but we can say
that some one is going to make lot of money from this game.
Livestock Sector: Pakistan is the seventh largest milk producing country in
the world and yet it imports a substantial quantity of powder milk to meet
the demand of our urban centres particularly Karachi City. At present
Pakistan produces about 20 billion litres of raw milk every year, but it
still imports about 17000 tonnes of powder milk. Only last year, we paid 27
million US Dollars for importing the dry milk powder. Milk production figure
shows that Pakistan produces enough milk to meet the demand of entire
country, but the lack of milk processing facilities and commercial dairy
operations are causing huge wastage. Asian development Bank did issue loans
for milk processing plants and large dairy farms and under that scheme loans
were obtained by private sector, but only 30 per cent were actually utilised
in dairy industry and rest of money either flown abroad or used in other
more profitable sectors.
Corruption in procurement: The main reason that our policy makers are not
providing enough incentives to our agricultural farmers is that high level
corruption occurs in procurement process. The reason is simple, the overall
amount an individual can get as kickback is some time greater than his
legitimate lifetime salary. Thus temptation is enormous and the risk of
punishment is too little. In procurement process, bribes are paid at much
earlier stage; to get a firm included on a restricted list of bidders and
some times bidder or contractor writes the specifications in such a way that
no one else can compete with him. Some times bidders are given second chance
to resubmit their bids and get contracts at much lower prices. What are the
real costs of corruption in procurement? One way to judge this is to compare
actual prices of similar goods or services with open market prices. Some
times price differentials on the order is 20 to 30 per cent higher than open
market prices.
Thus less goods or services are bought for development.
Not only our farmers and research worker are not happy with the existing
level of corruption in agricultural sector, but our donor agencies are also
worried about it. For example, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
and World Bank have criticised the role of Federal Agriculture Ministry and
Provincial once in Agricultural Research Project II (ARPII). In this project
57.3 million US Dollars were made available to government of Pakistan in
response to its request. In one case, in NWFP Province a contractor was paid
for 8 vehicles, but he only supplied one vehicle and then disappeared.
Similarly ARPII Sindh Component also made same mistakes and most development
and procurement were done on papers, rather improving the existing research
facilities of province. Now World Bank has been suggested that it should
terminate projects or its components, when there is persistent
unsatisfactory performance.
1. Pakistan may face serious problems if present level of corruption is not
curbed. In agriculture sector it will take many years of hard work to bring
the economy back on track to set it on the course towards a high level of
sustainable growth.
2. Agricultural research and extension organisations need co-ordination with
NGOs and farmers and they have to put forward farmer's point of view to
policy makers, so that they can get right policies for higher production.
3. Improved, free from corruption, loaning system may be introduced for
small farmers to increase their current production level.
4. Enhanced use of organic manure and reduced but timely use of appropriate
chemical fertilisers
5. Paying higher wages to decision-makers and officials is one way to reduce
the level of corruption. But to stop the corruption we need effective
monitoring and audit systems and agencies that have desire and ability to
take action against corrupt people. Perhaps it requires separate judicial
system that is not corruptible and willing to enforce convictions. Higher
the ranking of corrupt person, greater the punishment should be given, that
will definitely discourage other policy makers to get involved in
6. This is time for concerned citizens and intellectuals to make serious
efforts against the corruption, such as to think, write and take necessary
actions. There will be no development, if this cancer is not eradicated from
our society.
Sustainable of goat farming
By Dr Aslam Pervez Umrani., Ghulam Hussain Dawach1 and Nasrullah Panhwer
In Pakistan she goat is known as poor man's cow and it is considered an
important animal in all rural areas. Pakistan has more than 20 recognised
breeds of goat. Goat meat is preferred on other meats, thus it commands
higher prices than cattle, buffalo and sheep meat in Punjab and Sindh
provinces. Goats mostly breed twice a year, and kidding rate per year ranges
between 100 to 150 per cent. According to 1976, 1986 and 1996 National
Livestock Census, goat's population was 21.1, 29.9 and 41.2 million heads
The adaptability of goats to harsh environment makes them ideal as food
producing animal in marginal areas. However, increasing goat population has
often been blamed for accelerating the destruction of forests and grazing
lands by environmentalists. But they forget the multiple role that goat
plays in our rural economy. In deed, in exploring future option for
environmentally sound and sustainable livestock and agriculture production
systems, it may be important to consider innovative mixes of animal and
plant species, which can conserve or rebuild the village ecosystem.
In rangeland's ecosystem the concept of increasing contribution of
palatable trees and shrubs enhances the overall yield of the land and makes
best use of resources, while protecting against environmental degradation.
Goats are different from cattle and sheep in their grazing behaviour.
Selectivity, browsing, long distance travelling and adaptability are amongst
the most important differences between grazer and browser species. Browsing
horizon up to 2 metres of height by goats commonly occur during the dry
period. Diet selection by goats by goats is primarily determined by the
variety of plant species and their relative abundance. It has been observed
that goats spent approximately one-third of feeding time on grazing grasses
and forbes during summer and rainy season. During that period Cenchrus
ciliaris was dominant component in goat's diet. In same research goats
exhibited a high degree of flexibility in diet selection when confronted
with seasonal changes. In winter period they spent most of their time
browsing on trees, particularly on Acacia nilotica. Goats readily switch
from browse to grazing, if there is any grass growth during winter. Even
within same species, goats
vary their choices. At spring time it selects buds, leaves and tender
branches, whereas at dry period it prefers high protein components, such as
twigs and fruits of leguminous trees and shrubs. The well developed lips and
tongue give them greater flexibility to harvest forages from short grasses
and forbs to thorniest shrub, which exist in rangeland's ecosystem.
It has been observed that tree/shrub and grass systems support very high
growth rates compared to natural pastures during growing age of goats. There
appears be a sufficient opportunity to exploit full potential of kids growth
under extensive grazing system with little supplementation, provided
rangelands have reconstituted multi-layer nutritious plant-biomass. In some
cases, trees/shrubs and grass based rangelands can support five time higher
grazing pressure than only grass bases rangelands, provided trees and shrubs
are palatable and leguminous species.
Some management practices for goats farming:
1. Stocking levels should be low enough to allow sufficient plant growth
after each grazing period.
2. Encourage rotational grazing by wires or herding to give plants a chance
to regenerate.
3. Avoid exposure of the soil surface by over grazing
4. Periodic introduction of multi purpose trees and shrubs in rangelands,
that grow well in local environment, have forage with high nutritive value,
resist pest attack and acceptable to local communities.
5. Some breeding practices for goats farming (1):
6. Males and females should be kept separately before on set of puberty
7. Females can be mated at 9 months
8. The best for mating is 12-18 hours after appearance of first sign of the
heat ((genitals wet, red and warm)
9. Do not mate those animals, which are closely related
10. Use young and strong males, with good body confirmations, and having
higher body weight than same age males
11. Rotate the male breeding stock or borrow or exchange with other farmers
to avoid inbreeding depression
12. Cull females after two unsuccessful mating with different males.
13. Do not rebreed twin bearing goats until their kids are weaned
Improved rangelands with having palatable trees and shrubs offers great
potential for improvement in goats production. However, good stockmanship is
also an important factor higher production of animals and ecological
stability of rangelands.
(1) Source: Merkel and Subandriyo. 1997. Sheep and Goat Production Handbook
for Small Ruminant.
Published by: GL-CRSP (Global-Livestock Collaborative Research Support
Poor rural women, and the role of livestock in their life
Dr Noor-un-Nisa Mari and Dr Rukhsana Vighio1 (1 = Treasurer PVMA Sindh)
In rural communities of Sindh, woman starts collecting wealth by keeping
chickens; then few goats for milk or fattening and to slaughter for a day of
sacrifice; next a milch cow or buffalo. Because small animals traditionally
are in the care of the women in the household, Which means when they are
sold, even if a male actually takes them to the market, the proceeds come
back into her hand and she decides on the use of that cash.
Large animals need large spaces, shelter in the form of cowsheds, security
from theft and large amounts of fodder. A poor woman, particularly a
landless one, cannot provide these things. The demands of small livestock
are more manageable for her. Returns on small animals may be smaller, but
they are more frequent, which fits in with the needs of the poor for small
amounts of cash to handle an emergency, feed a visiting relative, travel to
her father's house or make her repayment when no other income is available.
We have seen that a woman can manage a flock of small animals in such a way
that they give her small bursts of income for emergencies, repayment,
meeting her social obligations or smoothening out shortages during a lean
season. It is like money on fixed deposit rather than a regular salary.
Can a woman bring her family out of poverty through investment in livestock
alone? We do not see this happening in Sindh at present. But in long-term,
it may become possible.
It also seems desirable to bring credit, savings organisations and NGOs into
closer touch with poor women of the rural society, which will help them to
improve the living standard of their family.
Book Review: "Sheep & Goat Production Handbook for Southeast Asia" edited by
R.C. Merkal & Subandriyo.
[If you want to get your book reviewed in SLAP (books about livestock,
agriculture, rangelands & grasslands only), then please send one copy of
your book to editor. Address is given in the end of this newsletter.]
Small Ruminant Research Support Program and other organisations have
published this handbook. This book is deigned for farmers and extensionist,
it also outlines basic information for research workers in livestock
industry. However, those who are raising sheep and goats first time, will be
more benefited from this handbook. Few Abstracts from this book is given
"1. Sheep and goats are one of the most appropriate commodities in a farming
system based on small piece of land. The risk of investment loss in the
death of an animal is smaller for sheep and goats than for larger animals.
2. Sheep and goat can adapt to various environments and easy to raise, can
be sold at anytime. They are faster in reproducing, can utilise almost any
forage and agricultural residues and the cost for maintenance is usually
3. Try to find alternatives for combinations of feed resources for various
ages of animals so that the feed costs can be minimised. ....
4. Try to keep records on simple methods of animal care with maximum output.
The most important records are ....(date of mating, birth date and
production record of each animal) records remove any doubt in making
5. Careful planning for regular sales is one way of increasing income from
raising sheep and goats. Planning the production cycle can help plan the
buying and selling animals.
6. Production can be arranged by taking into account the gestation period,
weight at weaning, age at marketing, age for replacing dams and bucks....
7. Planning the production and marketing may increase family income because
the selling rate depends on production level, age at selling and market
8. Animals can be sold when body weight does not increase any more, which is
about 1-1 1/2 years of age. Selling animals can be postponed if a festival
is approaching (Haj Season). Postponing the sale of animal to long will
result in a loss, because there is no more increase in body weight to cover
the extra cost."
ATNESA (the Animal Traction Network of Eastern and Southern
Africa) invites all those interested in the use of animal
traction in sustainable agriculture to its 3rd International
Workshop, to be held in South Africa 18 - 25 September 1999.
The theme "Empowering Farmers Through Animal Traction" has been
chosen in order to encourage and enable the exchange of
information and ideas by animal traction promoters and
practitioners from all over the world, and to facilitate the
development of strategies which will ensure the full and proper
employment of animal traction in agriculture in the 21st century.
Further information from
Richard Fowler
East Coast Co-ordinator
Farming Systems Research & Technology Transfer
Grain Crops Institute : Agricultural Research Council
E-mail: rfowler@cedara1.agric.za
Burning the Stubble
By Jon Stallworhty
Another harvest gathered in
worst than the last, only a bin
of rotten grain for all our trouble.
But there is a time for the plough
a time for harvesting, and now
a time for burning the stubble.
Flames snap at the wind, and it
etches the eye with a bitter
mirage of summer. Returning
I looked for the dip in the ground,
the nest, the unfurled poppy; found
nothing but stubble burning
and charred ground hardening towards frost.
Fire before ice; and the ground must
be ploughed after burning the stubble,
the ground must be broken again.
There can be no new grain
without, first, burning the stubble.
PAPA (Progressive Agriculturist & Pastoralist Association).
Address: Editor SLAP,
60/ Al Abass housing society, New Wehdat colony,
Hyderabad, Pakistan.
Phone: 00-92-221-653348
Email: agr726@hyd.zoooom.net.pk
SLAP's Team
Honorary Editor:
Dr Aslam P. Umrani
PhD in "Sustainable Agriculture"
Assistant Editors:
Ghulam Hussain Mallah
Rashid Ahmed Nizamani
Printing and Distribution:
Syed Munawar Ali Shah
Tariq Ali Baloch
Arts and Design:
Zulfiqar Ali
Publisher: Shahnaz.Palijo
Dr Aslam Pervez Umrani,
PhD in Sustainable Agriculture,
Address: House No. 60, Al-Abbas Housing Society,
New Wehdat Colony, Hyderabad, Pakistan.
Email: agr726@hotmail.com