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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Feb-25 - Mar- 10, 2002

Sugarcane production on decline

Sugarcane, the second largest non-food grain crop after cotton occupies around four per cent of the total cropped area and contributes about 14 per cent of the value-added by major crops. Its farming provides raw material for sugar and gur as cash income to farmers and fodder for livestock.

Sugarcane production during 1999-2000 was 16 per cent below as compared to the previous year which was due to the decline in area and yield by 12.5 and 3.9 per cent, respectively. The malpractice on the part of sugar mills and procurement centres have discouraged the growers to continue expansion in production. In addition, there was also a shortage of irrigation water due to less the rainfall during last years.

Sugarcane in Sindh is grown on over 30 per cent of the area. Favourable climate, long days, moderate summer, winter temperatures and well-drained alluvial soils are natural gifts to the industry for high cane and sugar yields. It was reported that its production process is not mechanized and most operations are labour-intensive. A study was conducted to investigate the causes of decline in area and the yield in Sindh.

In early 90's there was tremendous increase in sugarcane acreage in Sindh which declined in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 from 271 to 230 thousand hectares thus decreasing the production from 17051 to 14291 thousand tons.

The basic objective of a grower is to obtain higher yield through proper management practices and technology. Production of any commodity depends on the combination of different inputs and resource allocation.

The main purpose of this analysis is to describe and analyze production system. The emphasis has been given on qualitative and quantitative analysis of production/management practices adopted by growers and identification of technical and socio-economics factors. The basic data is produced, however, scope of advanced research is still required, which was not done due to the limited resources.

Thal canal project okayed

The controversial Thal Flood Water Canal project was approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec), following a heated debate between the officials of Sindh and the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) on Thursday, it is reliably learnt.

During the arguments between WAPDA and Sindh officials it transpired that the authority had already started work on the project without the approval of the competent authority, an official present at the meeting said.

WAPDA official, explaining the authority's point of view, recalled that the project had been inaugurated by President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Aug 17, soon after unfolding his economic development plan. WAPDA official said the authority had already completed work on a stretch of five kilometres and had already spent substantial amount of funds.

Model industrial estates

President General Pervez Musharraf has directed the provincial governments to set up at least two model industrial estates in each province by ensuring all infrastructure facilities to attract local and foreign investment.

This was stated by the chairman, Board of Investment (BOI), Waseem Haqqie in a meeting with members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday.

Waseem said provincial committees are there, and it is up to the Governors to expedite work on these new projects. The committees have been assigned the task to examine industrial related issues and devise market plans to gain some competitive edge in the world market.

ECNEC okays 44 uplift projects

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved on Thursday 44 development projects to cost Rs229 billion including Rs14.9 billion revised Gwadar Deep See Port (Phase 1) project.

Gwadar project included Rs8.6 billion foreign exchange component (FEC) for which China will provide 198 million dollars.

The ECNEC, which was presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, approved projects in the fields of water, communications, rural roads, environment, energy, telecommunication, science and technology and information technology.

Japan to provide $300m

Japan will provide $300 million for improving the social sector and the quality of water in the textile sector of Karachi's industrial area. This was stated by a five-member delegation of the Japan External Trade Organizations (Jetro) during a meeting with Commerce and Production Minister Abdul Razzak Dawood on Wednesday.

Pakistan to pay $45m to Italian firm

Pakistan will pay $45 million to an Italian firm immediately to resume construction of the Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project after having lost $200 million in the last six months.

The two sides have agreed to remove the incumbent British head of the distribution settlement board (DSB) through consensus from amongst a panel of international experts as part of broader "give and take", official sources told.

Leather garment units in crisis

The leather garments industry of Sialkot was facing severe crisis as dozens of small-scale factories have been closed down due to increase in air and sea freights, reduction of rebate ratio and levy of $150 per container as war risk charges.

Gas shortfall looms

Pakistan is estimated to face a natural gas shortfall of 3,600 to 6,000 million meter cubic feet per day (mmcfd) by the year 2020 if pipeline projects for its import are not materialized.

This has been revealed in a provisional report submitted to the ministry of petroleum and natural resources by private consultancy firm Hagler Bailly.