In the recent years, Burewala has been keeping up with the reputation as the major grain market and fresh fruits and vegetables market serving other major markets in Pakistan, including Lahore, Islamabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Hyderabad and Karachi on the south.
Burewala is blessed with good weather and good soil as we see all kinds of crops grown here. District of Vehari ranks highest in the production of cotton, wheat, oil seeds and vegetables in the country. Production of other major crops such as the rice, sugarcane, corn, canola and pulses is also ranked high in the country. Average yield of the major crops is higher in the district as compared to the other area due to better soil, availability of good canal and ground water and farming practices. Nilibar Agriculture is the largest farmer cooperative in Pakistan with over 5000 members covering agriculture, dairy, livestock and agro-services.
Recently farmers have changed their cropping pattern with more cultivation of fresh vegetables in open fields and the temperature controlled green houses. This area ranks third in Pakistan and first in Punjab in onion production after Quetta and Hyderabad. Due to over cropping of Potatoes in the eastern districts, Burewala and the surrounding area is also becoming a major potato hub in the country.
This market is fed with the secondary markets such as Arifwala, Bahawalnagar, Mailsi, Vehari, Chichawatni and Ludden area. Burewala also has a major advantage as being on the major national highway and potential to feed the Multan’s commercial airport for the export market. Burewala is a little over an hour’s drive from Multan’s commercial airport, a gateway to the Middle East and other international customers.
The major constraints, as will be explained in detail in the later parts of this document, will show that the value addition and the modern value chain development of the fresh produce can not only create economic development in this part of the country but also generate major foreign exchange for the country.
Nilibar Agriculture’s Fresh Produce Hub is a full value chain solution. NBA-FPH focuses on the following major issues;
- Delivery of the fresh produce from the farm to the fork with ethical practices
- Modern farming practices
- Food security awareness and implementation
- Full product traceability
- Farmer support mechanism from quality seeds to harvesting
- partner certification to meet global standards (Pak-GAP)
- Rural Economic Development
- Cold chain maintenance
- Farmer competitiveness programs
- Enabling the “Bonded Farmer” to be financially independent
- Capacity building of the farmers to work in cooperation with each other for achieving unified goals
- Development of farmers markets for retail and wholesale customers
- Fully integrated value chain implication in the process
- Fully sustainable and replicable process establishment with transparency
- Farmers awareness programs with linkages with other areas, national and international
- New Market development
- Moving towards contract farming. Minimum 75% of the product to be pre-sold. “Sow before you Know”
- Training farmers in modern harvesting techniques
- Supplying at least 10% of the produce as certified organic
- Transparent auction process for the farmers for maximum profits
The corporate structure of this Hub will be private in partnership with government and other international development agencies working to develop the economic sector of Pakistan. At no given time, there will be another controlling body other than the private sector with the ownership of the member producers.
The major target market for this Hub is the discerning national customers and the international markets for premium product. As we can see that how the buying trends are changing all over Pakistan. Middle East is a huge market along with the Far East and the Central Asian countries. The ideal weather and the cropping times also make Pakistan’s produce as early introduction in the global markets. Just this year the potato crop of Pakistan is fetching major foreign reserves as the Central Asian market is buying fresh potatoes from Pakistan at much cheaper rates with a longer shelf life as compared to the European produce.
Due to the increase in the population in Pakistan and being located in between two most populous countries of the world, China and India, Nilibar will be a bread- basket for the fresh produce. The MFN status given to India will also help us as the currency exchange rate will give us benefit; if we take it as an opportunity otherwise the Indian trade will affect the Pakistani agriculture in a devastating manner.
Nilibar Hub will process fifty tons of produce daily for the first quarter with the extended capacity over one hundred tons per day. With a cold storage facility of 25,000 tons to handle future growth