By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan and Australia have signed an agreement for the development of ‘ competitive and inclusive value chains of pulses like chickpeas, lentils and mung beans .
Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, Noor Ahmed and Australian High Commissioner Ms. Margaret Adamson signed the agreement in the capital, Islamabad on Monday.
Project to be implemented in punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will span over a period of three years i.e. till June 2021, according to Pakistan’s Finance Ministry.
From Australian side, University of Tasmania while from Pakistani side, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, University of Agricultural, Faisalabad, COMSATS Institute of Technology and Sindh Agriculture University will be the implementing agencies.
Contributions from the Government of Australia will be A$ 478,825 and Pakistan will contribute in kind at an estimated value of A$ 158,171.
Pulses industry infrastructure in Pakistan remains underdeveloped. Pakistani Government has recently proposed greater investment in pulses related research and extension, along with new pulses production projects.
The project will identify and analyze barriers, opportunities and options for developing inclusive competitive pulses value chain, strengthen capacities of pulses industry stakeholders.Improvement of pulses value chain will support Pakistan Government’s agriculture development vision and policies and complement ongoing pulses projects in Pakistan with an ultimate objective of making the South Asian country self-sufficient in this sector.
Pulses are currently being cultivated on 5% of total cultivated area of crops in Pakistan.Chickpea,black gram,mung bean.pigeon pea, mash,masoor and few others are grown. In Pakistan pulses are grown on 1.5 million hectors of land.
Chickpea plays a vital role in country’s pulses production as it is cultivated on 73% of the total area occupied by pulses cultivation and its contribution to the total pulses production is 76% while mash and masoor consumes 2%( each )of area under pulses cultivation and share 1.4% in total pulses production.
Mung Bean is one of the important pulse crop of Pakistan, it is mainly grown in southern parts of Punjab and Sindh. Punjab alone provides 88% area for its cultivation and share 85% in its total production in the country.
On an average every Pakistani consumes 6-7 kg of pulses every year . The domestic production of pulses is not enough to meet the demand of over 200 million people. So pulses are imported from Canada,Australia, Myanmar,Tanzania, Turkey and Ethiopia to fulfill the domestic requirement.
During first 10 months of the fiscal year 2018-19, the import bill of pulses stood at $432.54 million that showed 2.3 percent decrease as compared $442.7 million in same period of last year.
By Muhammad Luqman