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Pakistan poised to become organic king of the world: report


 

  KARACHI, October 30 (Internews): Pakistan is poised to become a major
 supplier of organic food to the world in the wake of rising
 international demand for it and a healthy production base in the
 country.
 "Pakistan has vast opportunity to avail the emerging world demand for
 organically produced food items," says the annual state of the country's
 economy report produced by the State Bank of Pakistan. "Pakistani
 farmers should go in a big way to grab this opportunity."
 Retail sales of organics in 2001 in the United States alone are
 projected at $60 billion, the report reveals, quoting from a survey on
 Organics Consumer Trend 2001, published by the US based Natural
 Marketing Institute in cooperation with the Organic Trade Association.
 They project sales of organic agricultural products of the kind produced
 in Pakistan to touch $500 billion worldwide by the year 2005.
 Suspicious of 'mad cow' and 'foot and mouth' disease and the Genetically
 Modified Organisms technology, consumers in the West have become
 increasingly wary of even the use of chemical fertilisers and
 pesticides, otherwise an integral part of modern farming.
 "Pakistan being an agricultural country should make use of this emerging
 opportunity by producing higher exportable surplus of organically
 produced kitchen items, in the first phase and production of staple crop
 (cotton), on the selected fields, in the second," the SBP report
 recommends.
 The report says that Pakistan enjoys a greater opportunity of exporting
 these items to the neighbouring countries of the Gulf region such as
 Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait,
 besides exporting to industrialised countries.
 In Pakistan farming practices at generally very close to the organic
 approach, the report observes and points out that most of the
 un-irrigated lands with their intact biological conditions can better be
 utilised for undertaking organic enterprises.
 "As a matter of fact many farmers in Pakistan are already engaged in
 producing organic agricultural products," it notes while identifying
 other inherent advantages that lead towards exercising the option of
 organic farming favourably.
 These are availability of labour at cheaper rates, availability of
 unexploited resources of land and least exposure of Pakistan's farmers
 to genetically modified organisms technology.
 Pakistan's current export earnings from vegetables and fruits to Europe
 and neighbouring countries stand at $115.6 million during the last
 fiscal ending June 2001.
With domestic environment conducive to producing organic vegetables,
 fruits and livestock products, Pakistan can be introduced as a supplier
 of organic food items by launching a powerful marketing campaign in
 international market, the report says.
 "This is a good opportunity of earning foreign exchange through
 non-traditional exports because organically produced food items, at
 present fetch higher prices than inorganic counterparts," it says.
 In organic farming, farm produce is obtained without using chemical
 fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides and genetically modified organism
 technology.
 In its less strict form, an organic enterprise is supplemented only by
 kinds of fertilisers and pesticides that are not liable to kill or
 destroy any activity of soil organisms. -Internews

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