Building capacity for greater food security in Pakistan

Islamabad, January 25, 2018 (PPI-OT):Around 30-40% of crops around the world are lost to insect pests thereby affecting the ability of the 500 million small-scale farmers around the world to contribute towards the goal of achieving zero hunger and ending poverty. Reducing losses by just 1% could feed millions more people but many countries in the Developing World need support to implement biological control programmes to reduce food losses.

As part of CABI’s mission to help farmers grow more and lose less, we have been funded by USAID – via the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – to help Pakistan improve its sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) systems and therefore open up its fruit and vegetables to more high-end global markets that were previously untapped. Currently these products only contribute 13% of the country’s export but improvements to its SPS capabilities could see this number rise significantly.

CABI, working with its partners including the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Department of Plant Protection (DPP) and the All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA), has implemented an online SPS training programme teaching the principles of developing a model for an agricultural import/export system.

CABI’s ‘Go to Market’ toolkit is being used for analysis of the value chain performance at different stages of project implementation. This not only helps the provision of good quality produce but also increases production per acre making it available to use for trading with international markets.

The CABI team has also been working to improve the technical capacity of national partners to survey pests and to develop and deploy bio-control agents. So far six biological control laboratories have been established at Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta, Gilgit and Skardu in order to mass rear natural enemies of pests of economic concern for Pakistan.

Additionally we have developed 14 technologies to tackle the pests of concern including rearing techniques for natural enemies of the papaya and giant mealybugs, apple codling moth, acarid mites and fruit fly. Also, about 36 million bio-control agents for papaya mealybug, apple codling moth and spider mites, and fruit flies in Sindh, Balochistan, and Gilgit respectively have been deployed.

Muhammad Sohail Mazhar, CABI’s project manager in Pakistan, said, “Biological control is a sustainable way of tackling pests on an area wide basis. This entails identifying an insect pest exactly in order to find an appropriate and sustainable solution for it. In total, we have trained 5,518 beneficiaries which includes 4,035 farmers, 1,031 technical experts on biological control and SPS compliance in rice and fresh produce supply chains of the country.

“These interventions have helped improve papaya production by almost a quarter (21.85%) and led to a 15% increase in the income of papaya farmers in Sindh. In Balochistan we have achieved a 60-70% parasitism rate for codling moth.”

Future work includes marketing partners developing market linkages through market research and product promotion. All this help will ensure that Pakistan’s trading system is streamlined to integrate with international markets, improve opportunities to export its good quality products and increase the livelihoods of the country’s many smallholder farmers.

For more information, contact:
Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC)
G-5, Islamabad – Pakistan
Phone: +92-51-90733053, 90733058, 9255033
Fax: +92-51-9202968
Website: http://www.parc.gov.pk