Food based Entrepreneurs in KP under threat
Pakistan has been blessed with natural and human resources but we have failed so far to transform these resources into prosperity of the people. Resultantly, the country as a whole and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular has suffered badly due to the international conflicts and their local impact. Let’s refer to the huge livestock, poultry, fruits and resources in the province. Two regulatory authorities, the office of the Deputy Commissioner and KP Food Safety and Halal Food Authority have been engaged in regulating the prices and quality of the products, respectively. However, no appropriate technical support and stakeholders representation, is available to these authorities for making justified decisions. Resultantly the small farmers, butchers and marketing outlets are threatened in the name of prices and quality. These food based entrepreneurs as income sources for poor families, have never been provided technical and marketing support in providing quality food to the consumers and self employment to the youth. Dairy Science Park and KP Chamber of Agriculture have joined hands to provide a way out to these issues through their prolonged struggle.
Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) region is mostly mountainous and arid, rich in natural resources, predominantly livestock like sheep, goats, cattle, buffaloes, and poultry. The total value of livestock heads is Rs.1.09 trillion (US $10 billion). However, the huge resource base can neither provide good economic return to the producers, nor quality food to the consumers. These holdings threaten public health safety. The main reasons behinds this state of affairs are poor socio-economic status of the farmers, lack of resources and focus on part of the state institutions, and a hostile marketing system. Dairy Science Park (DSP) has been working on generating solutions to these issues.
Emerging industries in milk and meat processing and marketing have been provided technical and Quality Control certification support to relieve legal threats from the District Administration, who focus on price capping of milk and meat rather than quality. Meat shops established on modern lines of hygiene produce quality beef; however such facilities are raided by the government agencies on the basis of higher prices. DSP has been facilitating inspection of such facilities; providing SOPs for quality standards and issuing certificates. Similar services are being extended to private slaughter houses and meat/milk processing centers and other emerging entrepreneurs. Sandia National Lab USA has been supporting DSP under a Biorisk Management Collaboration. Five consultative workshops were held in Amsterdam, Dubai, Bangkok, Puket and Colombo, participated by 70 members/times of DSP; and developed contents on biorisk management into the DVM curriculum in Pakistani Universities and food value chain. Selected faculty members of the DVM degree awarding Universities would be trained in BRM under DSP-SNL collaboration.
The Senior Minister, Local Government, Government of KP chaired a high level meeting held on 3-3-2016 and agreed on proposal of DSP for implementation of an ADP project for establishing a Modern Slaughter House. Consequently, a Summary was initiated for Chief Secretary which was supported by Additional Chief Secretary. A note was initiated by the Senior Minister for Establishment of Task Force on Dairy Science Park which was approved by the Chief Minister on 2-8-2017. Dairy Science Park intends to establish Technoparks in various universities of the country through collaboration with Konya Teknokent and other development, government and private sector organizations.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Agriculture and Dairy Science Park entered into collaboration to serve the farmers, processors and service providers in the best possible manner. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two orgainzations led by Mr Siraj ud Daula, President KPCA and Prof M Subhan Qureshi, Chief Patron DSP. The meeting was attended by Mr Kamran Khan, Secretary DSP, Dr Naeem Durrani Ex-DG NARC, Dr Ghufranullah Ex-DG L&DD Research KP, Mr Asif Awan President KP Livestock Farmers Association and his colleagues.
Chamber of Agriculture KP and Dairy Science Park would collaborate through “Commercialization of livestock sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (CLS)” for transforming the indigenous resources into useful services for the society.
The MoU will focus on establishment of AgriMarts for display and marketing of produce of registered livestock farmers and establishment of common facilities centers for serving the registered farmers under an Endowment Fund. Improved technologies will be demonstrated in fodder production, dairy farming, calf fattening, products processing, etc. A modern slaughter house will be established as already approved by the Senior Minister Local Government under Annual Development Program of the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Task Force on Dairy Science Park, already approved by the Chief Minister KP will be pursued. Biennial series of conferences and industrial exhibitions on Dairy Science Park will be continued in continuations to those held during November 2011, 2013, 2015 at Peshawar and during 2017 at Konya; the next conference scheduled for Khartum, Sudan on November 4-8, 2019. Entrepreneurship development will be ensured across food value chain certifying public health safety, and and farming innovations will be introduced for energy efficient and environmental-friendly housing, biogas, solar equipment, etc. Consultative meetings of stakeholders will be held for training and research on entrepreneurship development and biohazards in the region as they relate to livestock and poultry production, value addition and marketing.
Earlier, executive members of Butchers’ and Farmers’ Associations met under Dairy Science Park to discuss the burning issues of the producers, processors and the consumers. Dual control of the quality of milk and meat by the offices of Deputy Commissioner (DC) and the KP Food Safety and Halal Food Authority (KPFSHFA) was found as the biggest hurdle in operation of the small businesses. The DC office has fixed a flat rate for milk and meat with out considering the quality-based grading of the products. KPFSHFA raids the small businesses and imposes heavy fines without providing any guidelines or warning for improvement. Resultantly many dairy farmers selling pure milk on rates acceptable to the consumers but somewhat higher than those fixed by DC, have terminated their operations.
The participants wondered why the government was not interested in providing solutions to the burning issues to save the small businesses and where the development resources are spent? Under the newly agreed MoU, the farmers, butchers, experts, service providers and experts will be registered and frequents meetings will be held to analyze the issues faced by the stakeholders and chalk out plans for providing solutions.
(Prof M Subhan Qureshi, Chief Patron Dairy Science Park; +923005877933; email@example.com)