• World Life Organization - Building a Just, Equitable and Sustainable Society®
  • Registered since 2008

Nilibar Agriculture Association

Nilibar Agriculture Association

Nilibar was developed in the late 1920s by the British as major network of the canals was laid out to get the maximum potential out of the most fertile area of Punjab. Nilibar lies between river Ravi on the north and river Sutlej on the south. This area is famous for major crops and livestock. Nili buffalo and Sahiwal cows are two most famous cattle breeds from this part, known all over the world. Mundi Burewala has always been the center of major agricultural market for over centuries. Burewala mundi was the main feeder to Bahawalnagar mundi supplying to East Punjab before 1947. Burewala is the thirtieth largest town in Pakistan situated on Karachi-Delhi road.

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

Nilibar Agriculture Association (NBA)

NBA is a farmers’ cooperative striving to work, lobby, engage, rally, support, consult and to improve rural economic development keeping environment in context. NBF is a hub for modern grading sorting, washing, packing and cool chain maintenance facility working in the middle of the production area of the member producers for easy access.

Farm guidance

NBA provides guidance on agricultural production (technologies and farm management) to individual members to help them operate their farms more efficiently, and promote the organization, development and improvement of agriculture in the communities. Farm guides provide advice on quality improvement and other aspects of production and marketing. Members jointly use machinery and facilities, and purchase production materials, which provides boost for production of regional specialty products with appropriate farm guidance.


The basic features of the NBA marketing systems are:
Unconditional consignment – farmers consign the marketing of their products to NBA without any price, time and destination conditions.
Sales commissions – from the sales proceeds, NBA collects commissions which cover personnel, communication, and travel expenses, and pay the remainder of the money to the farmers.

Price averaging – Farmers pool products of the same quality shipped in the same period and collect a stable income based on price averaging. Farmers who remitted their products are paid based on average price for the week, in the local wholesale markets or in major wholesale markets. Payments are sent directly to farmers bank accounts.

Processing, value-adding and traceability

NBA owns NBH processing and packaging plants where cleaning, sorting, grading and packaging of farm produce collected from the farmer members are done to provide quality products for national/International consumers.

For its products, traceability system was established for quality management. Labels of product packages contains barcodes and information on date produced, NBA member-producer where the particular product came from, and other relevant information.

Small scale-processing

Some NBA has the facilities to process significant volumes of agricultural products into quality food. Small scale processing of goods also exists, through women associations who are able to access facilities of the cooperative for processing pickles for home consumption.

NBA funds

The NBA through WLO began offering Agribusiness Loans in October 2005 to agricultural corporations engaging in

various activities including rice, vegetable and livestock production, processing and sale. It also supports the financial stabilization of agricultural corporations through investments made by other lending institutes.

The NBA Agricultural Equipment Loan and Greenhouse Loan provides quick response financing for agricultural equipment, greenhouses and other funding needs, both of which were introduced in January 2007, and in April this year, the Core Farmer Assistance Loan was introduced.

Lessons from NBA

Operation of NBA’s processing and packaging plants with strict quality management demonstrates strong commitment for product quality standards which is highly demanded and appreciated by national/international consumers. NBA’s adherence to standards enables it to capture a large market share.

NBA is able to provide for the welfare of its members and other sectors in the communities through farm guidance, guidance for daily living, insurance, credit provision and other production and basic social services. It supports local industries’ development by providing processing facilities for small scale and community based industries.

Lastly, NBA’s activities contribute to agricultural productivity and food sufficiency through its highly diversified businesses while protecting the welfare of its members, thus providing a strong foundation for Pakistan’s agricultural economy.

Farmer Member (FM)

A Farmer Member has own property on name or has a leased land actively farming him/herself. A membership is awarded with an annual fee and on nomination and seconded basis. FM will be a voting member.

Associate Member (AM)

Associate member is a member who does not have any land or does not lease any farming land or is not engaged in farming directly. Has to be nominated and seconded by two existing members. Associate Members will not have a right to vote in NBA general elections

Corporate Member (CM)

Any corporation doing business with the NBA has to get membership and follow all the rules and regulations. All CMs will have to be nominated and seconded by existing members and approved by the board of directors. Corporate members would be able to participate in advertisement, product sales and services to the other members. All the buyers have to register as CM in order to do business with the NBA. CM has to an ethical business entity, agrees to provide corporate social responsibility towards the FMs and the value to NBA, commit to trainings and capacity building, promotion, advisory and research and development. Has to spend minimum of 10% of the sales in these activities in NBA and will not be a voting member.

Farmer Group (FG)

Multiple members can make a FG to market a product. Most of the FG will have members growing one product. AM and CM can be part of the FG if they are dealing in the same product. This gives the NBA administrative advantage to manage the trainings, inputs and finances about one crop. FG also serves as a convergent point where the information in managed for both sides of the information channel. This also serves as the hub for sharing of the problems and the issues of the farmers and the sharing of the inputs from other chain links with the farmers. Regular meetings are very important for the wellbeing of the value chain with documented inputs and results. All issues from these meetings have to be answered and closed in due time. A chronological log has to be kept for the crop specific data and the issues from all links of the value chain.

A farmer Group Manager (FGM) is the in charge of this group and watches over all the activities including memberships, trainings, inputs, grievances and all other related issues. He/she directly coordinates with the FCM and the Farmers Relations Manager (FRM) at the NBA hub

Farmer Cluster (FC)

FC is made up of multiple FGs for administrative purposes. FC usually has multiple crops and provides combined benefits to the FGs. This also works as a training, finance, inputs and information hub for all the members. Mostly it is based on a Union Council and watch over the FGs and their workings with the members. Mostly CMs work at this level as the products and services are provided here.

A Farmer Cluster Manager (FCM) is the in charge of this unit. He/she works with FGMs and answers to the Farmer Relations Manager (FRM).

FRM is head of all the FGMs and FCMs. He/She has to coordinate all the activities related to the members. A FRM is in charge of multiple FCs.