Pakistan develops new intercropping-specific soybean line to reduce imports

Pakistan develops new intercropping-specific soybean line to reduce imports

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan develops new intercropping-specific soybean line to reduce imports, China Economic Net (CEN) reported on Monday.

Pakistani agricultural experts visit demonstration site of maize-soybean strip intercropping technology at National Research Center of Intercropping (NRCI)

Maize-soybean strip intercropping technology was introduced from Sichuan Agricultural University, China to Pakistan in 2018. This advanced Chinese technology makes better use of available space to increase the amount of crops that can be harvested on the same area of land as soybean production is like an added ‘bonus’, which has been helping Pakistan ease soybean shortage and cut down soybean imports since four years ago.

This season, the total demonstrative area of maize-soybean strip intercropping technology in Pakistan has surged to over 400 acres, about 2.67 times that of last autumn. Besides, more types of crops are being included in the intercropping system including wheat-soybean and sugarcane-soybean intercropping.Now, harvesting is going on in the demonstration plots, which is expected to achieve promising results soon.

“Last season, more than 200 farmers have used our technology, and the number is still rising day by day. Farmers are quite satisfied with the results. They are contacting us and want to adopt the technology on more land,” Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza told CEN.

Most significantly, this season, a new intercropping specific soybean line has been developed by Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza and Dr. Zaheer Ahmed, Incharge Soybean Lab at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF).It’s learned that the new soybean line can easily produce soybeans of 480 to 720 kg per acre in intercropping system, while the production of other soybean varieties only stagnates from 200 to 400 kg per acre.

“This season we planted new soybean line with intercropping technology and harvested the plants. We’re happy seeing this soybean line full with pods,” Dr. Muhammad Ali Raza said with confidence.The Governor of Punjab Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman encouraged local soybean production to reduce the increasing import costs in a recent meeting with Prof. Dr. Athar Mahboob, Vice Chancellor of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB) and Muhammad Ali Raza, Director of National Research Center for Intercropping, IUB and post-doc of Sichuan Agricultural University (SAU).

The governor appreciated IUB’s efforts for promoting soybean related intercropping technology in Pakistan and expressed willingness to invest more in this area in view of Pakistan’s overreliance on imports for soybean supplies.

Source: Independent News Pakistan
By: Javed

Processed Food Industry Has Plenty of Room to Grow

Processed Food Industry Has Plenty of Room to Grow

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan’s processed food industry has seen a significant transformation in recent years, ensuring greater value-addition.

As the country has a solid agricultural base, the business of processed food items has a lot of room to grow. However, the industry needs a level-playing field in order to realise its full potential.

According to a recent research, the global processed food market will be worth $7,036.14 billion in 2026, up from $6,088.07 billion in 2020. The global processed food market will develop at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% over the following five years. During the forecast period, the Pakistani frozen food market is expected to rise at a CAGR of 5.8% (2020-2025).

The market for processed foods has increased considerably in recent years as people have adapted to a more urban way of life. In 2021, the food market generated over $89 billion in revenue.

After textiles, the food and beverage processing industry in Pakistan is the second largest, accounting for 27% of value-added production and 16% of manufacturing employment. From 2012 to 2018, food processing attracted an annual average of $223.5 million in foreign direct investment. In 2014, the European Union granted Pakistan the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP-Plus) status — which means zero to low duty on exports of goods — boosting the country’s exports of processed food significantly.

The province of Punjab makes for 60% food production units of the almost 2,500 plants across Pakistan, followed by Sindh (30%), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (6%), Balochistan (2%), and Islamabad Capital Territory (2%).

The country’s agriculture sector is predicted to grow at a slower rate of 2.2% in financial year 2021-22, down from 3.3% in FY2020-21. Livestock, which accounts for over 60% of the sector, was the key driver of the sector’s growth in FY21.

The convenience aspect and increased demand for processed food such as kebabs, parathas, meatballs, sausages are driving the frozen food market in Pakistan. Due to a slew of fundamental causes such as expanding urbanisation, time-pressed schedules, and women entering the workforce, there is a strong demand for processed food in Pakistan.

Individual quick-frozen vegetables and livestock are an important segment in the global food processing market, and Pakistan produces a wide range of high-quality vegetables and meat with enormous processing possibilities. Peas, potatoes, carrots, spinach, bitter gourd, okra, and mango are among the items selected for individual rapid freezing. These vegetables, fruits and meat are readily available for the production of value-added frozen goods. Though the majority of fresh vegetables and fruits are consumed in the local market, there is significant export potential for them.

Meanwhile, the processed food business in Pakistan has significant challenges due to a lack of infrastructure, particularly in terms of efficient cold chain and retail-level inefficiencies.  However, to cope with the barriers in the processed food industry, the government has taken certain steps. The Agriculture Transformation Plan targets economic and social liberation for farmers by achieving food self-sufficiency and poverty eradication.

Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Food Security, said under the initiative the federal government will provide loans to youngsters for food processing in order to meet the country’s food demands. The prime minister’s plan to transform Pakistan from an agricultural to a food-sufficient country is divided into three segments. The first segment focuses on water conservation, the second on expanding agricultural land, and the third on increasing fruit and vegetable production, he explained.

As we are entering a phase with CPEC where a large number of multinational businesses from various industrial sectors are likely to show interest in investing in Pakistan, there are compelling reasons for us to encourage foreign investment in agriculture, food processing and packaging, PM’s aide noted.

Source: Independent News Pakistan
By: Qudsia Bano

Pakistani company exports ‘first ever’ meat consignment to Jordan

Pakistani company exports ‘first ever’ meat consignment to Jordan

Jordan had last month approved Tata Best Foods for export of meat and its allied products.

In a major stride for Pakistan, Tata Best Foods Limited has exported the country’s “first-ever meat consignment to Jordan”, said Advisor to Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Monday.

“We congratulate Tata Foods on exporting Pakistan’s first-ever consignment to Jordan,” said Dawood in a tweet post.

The advisor said that the promotion and facilitation of non-traditional products to new markets constitutes the Ministry of Commerce’s diversification policy. “I urge other exporters to emulate this and aggressively market their products in this and other new markets,” he added.

Last month, Jordan approved three Pakistani meat processing companies for exporting meat and its allied products to the country. The selected slaughterhouses include Tata Best Food Limited, Organic Meat Limited Company, and Tazij Meat and Food for export for bovine, sheep, goat and camel meat to Jordan.

A few days ago, 10 Pakistani meat processing companies were approved by Egypt’s veterinary quarantine department for export of meat to the country.

10 Pakistani companies get Egypt’s approval for meat export

The Pakistani companies approved for export to Egypt are: P.K Livestock & Meat Company (private) Limited, TATA Best Food Limited, Fauji Meat Limited, Al Shaheer Corporation Ltd, the Organic Meat Company Private Limited, Tazij Meat and Food, Abedin International Abattoirs (private) Limited and Zenith Associates.

It may be mentioned that the Ministry of Commerce has set Pakistan’s export target of $37.8 billion including $ 20 billion for textile sector. As per the advisor, the country would be able to fetch around $ 31 billion from the export of goods, and $ 7.5 billion from the exports of services sector.

Source: Business Recorder, 2021

Worldwide Flexible Packaging Industry to 2026 – Asia Pacific is Expected to Witness Significant Growth

Worldwide Flexible Packaging Industry to 2026 – Asia Pacific is Expected to Witness Significant Growth

Dublin, Dec. 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The “Flexible Packaging Market – Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 – 2026)” report has been added to’s offering.

The flexible packaging market (henceforth referred to as the market studied) was valued at USD 233.32 billion in 2020. It is projected to be worth USD 300.18 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 4.37% during the period 2021-2026.

With the recent outbreak of COVID 19, flexible packaging manufacturers have been flooded with a pool of issues that are expected to be only for the short term. Some of the effects of lockdown include supply chain disruptions, lack of availability of raw materials used in the manufacturing process, labor shortages, fluctuating prices that could cause the production of the final product to inflate and go beyond budget, and shipping problems.

Key Highlights

  • The demand for flexible packaging is growing faster than in many other forms. It includes trends like e-commerce, digital printing, and sustainability, which can drive market development and growth. Customers are increasingly eager to pay extra for specific product attributes boosted by flexible packaging. For instance, according to the Flexible Packaging Association, more than 60% of consumers in North America are keen to pay more for tangible and functional packaging benefits, such as product protection, shipping friendly, and supply chain efficacy, among others.
  • In the food industry, beyond convenience, the other characteristics, such as sustainability, transparency, food safety, and reduction in food waste, influence the flexible packaging choice for meat, poultry, and seafood. Sustainability is one of the factors that the companies are finding more interest in recyclable and recycled -content flexible packaging solutions. For this, the solutions, such as formable paper, are gaining traction, offering excellent barrier properties, suitable for lunchmeat and portion packs, and reduced plastic use by up to 80%.
  • Many companies worldwide are following a trend of building PE-based packages with the help of mono materials. A past collaboration between Borealis and Borouge developed a series of new and fully recyclable mono-material pouch solutions for PE- and PP-based materials.
  • Furthermore, in July 2021, AR Packaging announced that they are launching Ecoflex, a recyclable mono-polyethylene film for thermoforming applications that the company says provides an alternative to PA-based materials while fully meeting OPRL guidelines.
  • As most recycling facilities are outdated, they are incompetent of handling changes in waste streams. For example, even though the quantity of paper waste has degenerated and plastic waste has increased, the current device is ill-equipped to handle such changes in the trends of packaging waste.

Key Market Trends

Dairy Products are expected to Hold a Significant Market Share in the Food Segment

  • The current market scenario is indicative of an upsurge in demand from dairy products, as the consumption of dairy products is increasing at a healthy rate. For instance, according to the US Department of Agriculture, the per capita consumption of cheese amounted to 40.2 pounds in 2020. Moreover, the annual cheese consumption in 2020 was recorded highest in the European Union than the united states as the consumption accounted for 9,482 metric tons in the EU as compared to 5,766 metric tons in the United States according to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
  • Among all the dairy products, milk is a primary staple food and an essential part of a balanced diet containing a high percentage of calcium and other vital nutrients. According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and the US department of agriculture, worldwide milk production in the year 2020 amounted to around 532.25 million metric tons. In 2020, European Union was the leading producer of cow milk and produced about 157.5 million metric tons of cow milk, followed by the United States and India.
  • Carton packaging has conventionally been associated with milk, as it protects food and is also good for the environment. Paperboard is a frequently used material for making cartons for milk packaging. Also known as gable-top cartons, milk cartons is a common form of poly-coated paper packaging. By weight, milk cartons are 80% paper and 20% polyethylene. Paper milk cartons substituted refillable glass bottles in the 1950s, offering consumers a convenient, lightweight alternative.
  • Steady growth in the dairy beverage market, especially in Asia-Pacific, has led to the growth of flexible packaging of dairy products. Advantages such as long-shelf-life and no refrigeration are needed to aid the growth of flexible packaging over traditional packaging methods. According to Asia and Middle East Food Trade Journal, cartons are the most common packaging material for milk in the beverage market (around 51% share) and the entire sector of aseptically-packaged products (approximately 72% share) of December 2020.
  • In recent times, vacuum pouches with moderate (PA/PE) or high barrier (PA/EVOH/PE) properties have gained widespread acceptance. These film-based vacuum pouches are incorporated in Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) applications and utilized mainly for dairy and protein packaging.

Asia Pacific is Expected to Witness Significant Growth

  • In the food industry, beyond convenience, other characteristics, such as sustainability, transparency, food safety, and reduction in food waste, influence the flexible packaging choice for meat, poultry, and seafood. According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and National Bureau of Statistics of China, in 2020, the food industry in the country generated total profits of around CNY 620.66 billion.
  • According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW Japan), the volume share of generics in the Japanese prescription drugs market stood at around 78.3% in 2020. Over 35% of prescription drugs in the country are imported from the United States, and this demand is anticipated to increase as the country has a rapidly aging population demanding new medicines for associated conditions. Hence, such trends are expected to contribute to the market’s growth positively.
  • According to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, the sales volume of dairy food within the Indian packaged foods market amounted to about 26.45 million metric tons in 2020. This was a significant increase from about 22.03 million metric tons in 2019. The expansion and diversification of India’s food retail are expected to act as catalysts for dairy packaged foods, with urban areas accounting for more than 75% of the sales.
  • Australia has witnessed a significant increase in population in the last decade. For instance, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the country’s population increased from 22 million in 2010 to more than 25.6 million in 2020. This is anticipated to drive the demand for more consumables, like packaged meals, convenience packages, among others.
  • The Indonesian packaging industry growth is primarily driven by the country’s expanding population and higher demand for low-cost, flexible packaging. For instance, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in 2020, the total population of Indonesia increased to approximately 270.2 million inhabitants from 258.5 million inhabitants in 2016

Food security: Govt wants to enhance cooperation with UAE

Food security: Govt wants to enhance cooperation with UAE

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam on Wednesday said that the government is keen to enhance cooperation between Pakistan and the UAE, especially with respect to food security.

Talking to the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Alzaabi, he acknowledged the effective measures taken by the UAE to address the issue of food security.

The minister said that Pakistan has had good relations with the UAE for the last 50 years and is looking forward to further boost these brotherly relations.

He said that the agricultural economy of Pakistan has grown by average four percent, adding under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan agriculture has been put back on priority.

Imam said that Pakistan has donated 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan and the World Food Programme has acquired 200,000 tonnes of wheat from Pakistan for Afghanistan.

He said two million additional bales of cotton will add Rs200 billion to the economy of Pakistan, adding the need of the hour for Pakistan is to develop value-added industry.

He said that agro industry has huge potential in Pakistan. He said that processing units of citrus fruits, mangoes, potatoes, tomatoes, onion, and dates can yield high return for foreign investors.

He said that Pakistan is the 5th largest producer of milk and only seven percent of it is processed, identifying the huge gap in the value added and processing sector. He said, currently, we have 40Mn cows to attain the current level of productivity because the domestic cow has the capacity of only 1,000 litres per lactation, however, worldwide cows can produce up to 6,000 litres of milk per lactation. He said that the most pressing issue that Pakistan’s agro economy faces is low yield. He said that through high quality inputs and research high yields can be achieved.

The ambassador of the UAE said that Pakistan has huge potential and a wide number of opportunities to enhance its agro economy.

He said that the Dubai Expo 2020 is an ideal example of the UAE’s efforts to bring the world together.

He said the UAE wishes to play its part in resolving the issue of food security.

He said that Pakistan and the UAE need to enhance cooperation in the agriculture sector for mutual benefit.

Source:: Business Recorder, 2021

Nestlé announces soft plastics recycling trial

Nestlé announces soft plastics recycling trial

Announced at the National Plastics Summit in Canberra on 2 March 2020, Nestlé and Australian recycler iQ Renew are launching a trial that aims to collect, sort and process soft plastics from over 100,000 homes through kerbside recycling and therefore be diverted from landfill. The trial aims to turn soft plastics from a waste to a resource. The project will commence with a pilot of 2000 households, with plans to expand to over 100,000 households later in the year, processing approximately 750 tonnes of soft plastic that would otherwise be sent to landfill.

“Most material recovery facilities (MRFs) can’t separate soft plastic from other items in household recycling, so while soft plastic can be recycled, what we lack is a robust, scalable system to collect and process it using existing kerbside collection. We’ve designed the trial so that at the front end, it will support householders to pre-sort their soft plastic and get it into a recycling stream, while behind the scenes, we’ll test using the sorted soft plastic as a resource in a range of different manufacturing processes,” said Danial Gallagher, iQ Renew CEO.

The trial will uncover how households understand soft plastics collection and provide insight into how it affects in-home recycling behaviour. Locations for the trial are currently under consideration.

“While we are working to make all our packaging recyclable, we know that soft plastics is an area that needs greater focus and collaboration. We need to find ways to drive more recycling here. As Nestlé plans to reduce our virgin plastic use and increase the amount of food-grade recycled plastic packaging we use, we need plastic to be collected. Given the low amount of soft plastic collected from consumers today, we hope this trial can unlock the significant potential for soft plastic packaging to become a resource,” said Sandra Martinez, Nestlé Australia CEO.

Image credit: ©


Bread ‘trash’ is microbial treasure

Bread ‘trash’ is microbial treasure

Tonnes of bread end up in landfill every year, but researchers have now found a way to repurpose this discarded bread and dough. Research published in Frontiers in Microbiology has revealed that old bread can be used as a medium for cultivating microbial fermentation starters, which could have applications in food industries like bakeries, dairy and winemaking.

“We believe that the introduction of innovative bioprocessing technologies might be the key to unravel the burden of food waste [and] improving sustainability of the agro-food system,” said Dr Carlo G Rizzello, team coordinator at the University of Bari Also Moro in Italy.

Researchers experimented with more than 40 different kinds of growing conditions to determine the best combination for various bacteria, yeast and other microorganisms used in food fermentation. This included finding the correct recipe of bread amount, enzymes and supplemental ingredients, as well as the ideal time and temperature for incubation. Researchers wanted to create a wasted bread medium (WBM) that could surpass current production methods that rely on raw materials; they achieved this by using 50% waste bread that was appetising to a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria used in yoghurt production. Researchers also estimated that the production cost of WBM is considerably lower than that of conventional media.

“The protocol we were able to set up combines both the need for disposing of the huge amount of bread waste with that of cheap sources for media production, while fitting for the cultivation of several food industry starters, and it is patent pending,” said Dr Rizzello.

WBM protocols could be adapted by bakers who currently rely on other companies to provide the starters. Bakeries could use their own waste to produce the medium and propagate the cultures, without modifying their existing technology.

“The strength of our study strictly relies on how easily applicable the protocol is, and proof of its feasibility is indeed the fact that the process is already scaled up at industrial level. Nevertheless, WBM offers a possibility for sustainable starter production to all the food industries working in the field of fermented foods and beverages,” said Michela Verni, lead author.

WBM has applications beyond microbial cultivation; a few changes to the WBM recipe could enable it to be used as a food ingredient or as fermentation with different starters. It could also serve as a substrate to feed microbes that produce compounds used in food supplements or cosmetics.

While WBM appears to be an effective medium for growing lactic acid bacteria and yeasts, Dr Rizzello said further study is needed to determine if certain components or lack of some micronutrients might affect microbial metabolism in some significant way.

Image credit: ©


Two Pakistani meat plants get export approval from Malaysia

Two Pakistani meat plants get export approval from Malaysia

Malaysian authorities have approved two Pakistani establishments for exporting meat and its allied products to Malaysia, which would open a new meat export market for the country, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) said.

Pakistan exports around four percent of beef and veal produced in a year. This was despite the fact that the country was among the top 10 beef and veal producers in the world, producing approximately 1.8 million tons.

According to details, TDAP and Animal Quarantine Department (AQD) of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research invited Malaysia’s Department of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Agro – Based Industry, to inspect and visit meat processing establishments in Pakistan.

The team of the Veterinary Inspection Section, Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia which consisted of four representatives, visited three establishments in Karachi and four establishments in Lahore. They also held meetings with TDAP and AQD, Islamabad officials during their visit.

“Department of Veterinary Services, Malaysia (DVS) and Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) has informed that they have approved two Pakistani establishments namely Zenith Associates, Lahore and Leiner Pak Gelatine Limited, Lahore for exporting meat and its allied products to Malaysia,” a statement issued by TDAP noted.

“This will now open a potential market for export of meat and its allied products for Pakistan, further giving an essential and prosperous boost for Pakistan’s exports of meat to Malaysia,” it added.

Exports of meat and meat preparations amounted to $242.799 million in the last fiscal year, up 7.61 percent over the preceding fiscal year. The exports accounted for merely 1.1 percent of the country’s total exports of $22.979 billion in FY2019. Pakistan is self-sufficient in meat production. Local consumption is estimated at 15 kilograms per capita.

According to data from market research and corporate management consulting company Coherent Market Insights, the global Halal food market was valued at $715 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.7 percent in the coming years (2019-2027).

Pakistan has a considerable share of the Halal market and is in a good position. Currently, Pakistan’s meat is mainly being exported to Gulf countries, Vietnam and Malaysia.


Regulating food quality & standards

Regulating food quality & standards

A few weeks ago, much to the utter joy of packaged food industry, the provinces agreed to a uniform standard of food and other consumer products as set by the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority, which is an attached department of the federal Ministry of Science and Technology.

On the face of it this looks like a good move, because it will allow food players to meet single set of standards instead of following different standards for different provinces, which previously led to higher cost of production and management. But at this point there are some important aspects that are not very clear and demand public deliberation.

For instance, the license and inspection functions were and still are solely the domain of provinces. The constitutional standing of this matter has already been settled by the Supreme Court in its suo moto case of 2018. Accordingly, this implies that the provinces will have to own each other’s licensing and inspection policy and practice. In turn, this assumes that provincial food authorities will meet each other’s expectations in terms of technical capacity, financial resources, and lack of corruption in their licensing and inspection functions. In the absence of a strong coordination framework, this is a tall assumption to hold at this point.

Similarly, the question of halal food bodies also require deliberation. So far, Punjab already has a certain Punjab Halal Development Agency, which is separate from Punjab Food Authority. Sindh is also in the process of setting up a separate Halal food body. Must four provinces have different halal standards? And if so, then which platform is to ensure coordination between those bodies.

The issue of halal does not seem very urgent and important to some constituents. But for one, halal certified food is a big global market, and growing. And while the concept of halal is intuitively understood in the case of slaughtered goats and cows, it is not yet a part of public imagination that even bottled water has to be halal certified because food manufacturing processes and facilities often use certain products (filters in the case of bottled water) that ought to have halal properties.

A related problem revolves around the subject of food quality and prices. Speaking at an event organized by Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Amjad Laghari, Director General of Sindh Food Authority said last week that they have no coordination with the local government officials who set the prices of unpackaged open-market (or ‘khula’) milk and meat.

Laghari’s views echo those expressed by Aijaz Mahesar, Secretary Livestock and Fisheries, Sindh, in his recent interview published by this newspaper. Responding to a question by BR Research, he agreed that price regulation of meat is a disincentive for growth in livestock industry but that his office can only provide feedback to price regulators. (See Brief Recording section Feb, 3, 2020)

This begs the question whether the subject of quality can ever be divorced from prices. Regulating, licensing and monitoring the quality of unpackaged, loose milk and meat is the domain of food authorities. But when (regulated) price prohibits quality at production, processing, distribution and retailing stages, then it is not a workable system. It will only lead to a system where food inspectors will take ‘chai-pani’ to look the other way.

Also missing from the discourse is the coordination between the food authorities and the civil society. So far, food authorities are working in collaboration with businesses associations. For instance, Sindh Food Authority (SFA) agreed to join hands with KATI last week, where KATI is to provide focal persons and food scientists to assist SFA in its various regulatory and monitoring efforts.

To some degree this is understandable and may even be appreciated. SFA is a new organization; it needs all the technical support, and it also needs to increase awareness and gain confidence of food industry players that it is not out there to strangulate businesses. A soft approach is often advised when a new regulatory body is set up. But food authorities must avoid falling into the trap of regulatory capture, the risks of which were all too evident at the KATI moot last Thursday.

At that moot, KATI officials requested SFA to work in close liaison with the former’s focal persons on a few regulatory aspects. The SFA publicly agreed to do so. But when Imtiaz Abro, Deputy Director of SFA requested KATI to appoint a focal person to streamline the regulation of kitchens for workers within factories and other industrial units, KATI’s President Umer Rehan completely ignored that request by saying that SFA should work on other priority areas instead of licensing workers’ kitchens because “obviously industrialists feed their workers good quality food”. That is a telltale sign of emerging risks of regulatory capture.

A bigger problem in this regard and the most important missing link in civil society is the absence of an effective food and nutrition think tank of sorts that mediates between the government, the producers and the consumers. This is both strange and unfortunate considering that food is not just Pakistan’s national pastime; food is also Pakistan’s recreation, its cinema, concerts, hobby and even sports.

Yet the society has failed to come together to periodically assess food quality and standards. Or to address the question of how to ensure basic hygiene and quality of food at roadside shacks, ‘dhabbas’ and carts. These informal economy players (aka street food) is a big attraction for growing number of foreign tourists. The regulations must not strangulate street food actors and kill their income streams. But it must not be too laxed either that it risks international headlines stating ’13 foreign tourists get hepatitis C in Pakistan’. Or even to assess nutritional aspects.

Regulating food isn’t only about rotten or adulterated food. It is a rather technical affair inseparable from the subject of nutrition and preventive health care – the benefits of both go far beyond the taste buds and the election cycle, and the requirements of which differ from one natural region and climate conditions to another. And this is why the idea of having one single national food standard for a diverse country may not be a good decision in the long term, not at least without public debate and deliberation.


Honey Processing and Packaging Center has enabled the Country to export prime quality Honey

Honey Processing and Packaging Center has enabled the Country to export prime quality Honey

The Honey Processing and Packaging Center set up by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) in Swat has enabled the country to export prime quality Honey at competitive prices in the open global markets, besides successfully meeting the domestic demand. It was observed at a projects review meeting of SMEDA held today in chair with Mr. Fuad Hashim Rabbani, Acting Chief Executive Officer of SMEDA. Addressing the meeting, he said that a modern honey processing plant with quality control functions and capabilities to produce refined, high quality honey was an imperative requirement of the country, which has been accomplished by SMEDA under patronage of the Ministry of Industries and Production with the cost of about Rs.38.17 million. The Center has positioned Malakand division as a key honey processing area in Pakistan by assisting the local honey farmers in realization of higher value margins for the final products, he said adding that value addition technology introduced in the center had enabled the area to increase its share in the lucrative markets at national and international market.

The Acting CEO SMEDA was glad to know that the Honey Processing and Packaging Center, operating as a Common Facility Center had provided the sophisticated equipment to process aiary as well as forest honey production of high quality refined Honey for bulk consumption. The technology installed at the center has a capacity to process approximately 2000 kg of honey in an 8 hour shift along with packaging capacity of 1500-2000 bottles of one KG.

It is notable that the Honey industry of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is spread over to different districts of the province. There are many types of honey produced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but Seder (Ber in Urdu) and Acacia Modesta (Plai in Urdu) are produced more in quantity. There are about 3800 Bee-keeping entrepreneurs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who have provided direct employments to over 17500 workers.

It is further to mention that Malakand Division has got unmatched potential in Marble, Granite, Gems, Hydel Power Generation, Horticulture, Apiculture (Honey Bee Farming) and Tourism sectors. These opportunities are translated into establishment of several industries and thousands of informal setups, therefore SMEDA has increased its interventions in the area to explore the potential for growth of SMEs.