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Pakistan farmers pin poor mango crop on climate change

Pakistan farmers pin poor mango crop on climate change

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Pakistan farmers pin poor mango crop on climate change

 Pakistan’s mangoes are normally a source of national pride and much-needed income, but farmers are blaming climate change for the parasites and extreme weather ruining much of this season’s crop.

A white and orange scarf wrapped around his head in the scorching heat, farmer Muhammad Yusuf lamented the erratic weather.

An abnormally long winter was followed by the wettest April in decades, while the country is now experiencing a heatwave with temperatures hitting up to 52 degrees Celsius (126 degrees Fahrenheit).

“Buds didn’t flower on time, many buds just died. Those that started growing were infected with (parasite) black hopper,” said Yusuf, who has worked half his life growing mangoes.

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Now over 60 years old, Yusuf said “climate change has wreaked havoc” in his village of Tando Allahyar, around 200 kilometres (124 miles) northeast of economic hub Karachi.

Pakistan is the world’s fourth-largest mango producer and agriculture accounts for almost a quarter of its GDP.

Further south in Tando Ghulam Ali, Arsalan, who manages a 900-acre mango orchard, noticed the damage as soon as the harvest started this week.

“We have production losses of 15 to 20 percent, and the picking has only just started so this figure will surely increase,” said the 32-year-old.

Exports will be slashed as a result warned Arsalan, who goes by one name.

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“The mangoes turn yellow from the outside but remain underripe or overripe inside,” he explained.

Ziaul Haq, a mango grower and exporter from Tando Ghulam Ali, said the “many attacks on fruit” by pests were unprecedented.

“This, in our history, has never happened before,” he told AFP.

‘Feed our families’

The proliferation of parasites has led to an explosion in spending on pesticides.

This uptick was confirmed by several farmers in Sindh province, where Tando Allahyar and Tando Ghulam Ali are located, as well as those in the leading agricultural province of Punjab further north.

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They told AFP that chemicals are now used six to seven times per year, compared to just twice three years ago.

Farmers in Sindh said they have been struggling since 2022 when a series of severe heatwaves were followed by unprecedented flooding, while those in Punjab said the declining crops yields date back several years more.

“The losses in Punjab reached 35 to 50 percent and in Sindh, 15 to 20 percent” compared to last year, said Waheed Ahmed, head of the Pakistan Federation of Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association (PFVA).

Speaking to local media, he said that last year Pakistan had only managed to export 100,000 of the 125,000 tonnes of mangoes it planned to sell abroad.

Pakistan’s 20 varieties of mangoes come second only to oranges as the most-produced fruit in the country.

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The income loss from a poor harvest could have a significant impact on the country, which is in talks to secure a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Mashooq Ali, a 30-year-old labourer in Tando Ghulam Ali, wants the government to help farmers cope.

“Landowners will earn less this year,” said Ali, whose wife has started trading clothes to earn extra cash.

“And even if they paid us as much as last year, with inflation, we won’t be able to feed our families.” 

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Various schemes launched to boost agri, livestock sectors: minister

Various schemes launched to boost agri, livestock sectors: minister

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Various schemes launched to boost agri, livestock sectors: minister

 Punjab Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Syed Ashiq Hussain Kirmani said the livestock sector is a top priority of the government, and practical steps are being taken for its development.

He expressed these views during his visit to the sub-campus of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences and the Buffalo Research Institute in Pattoki on Saturday.

The provincial minister inspected various departments of the institute, including the calves rearing centre, dairy section, and research laboratories.

The minister on this occasion said that institutions like the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences are providing such education and training to our youth that they can play their role in the livestock sector in their practical life.

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He said under the leadership of Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, the government’s focus is on small farmers with land holdings ranging from one to twelve and a half acres, for whom various schemes are being launched in the agriculture and livestock sectors.

He said according to the vision of the CM, the Livestock Department is paying full attention to increasing milk and meat production and implementing body fattening programmes for livestock.

The minister said that for the first time in Punjab, a scheme called the Chief Minister Punjab Livestock Card has been introduced for small farmers, benefiting 80,000 farmers over two years.

Four lakh animals will be prepared for export through feed and fattening. Kirmani said that the Nili-Ravi breed is the pride of Punjab. The Livestock Department is striving to improve the Nili-Ravi breed of buffaloes in Punjab.

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Govt buys per unit electricity for Rs750 from specific IPP: Ejaz

Govt buys per unit electricity for Rs750 from specific IPP: Ejaz

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Govt buys per unit electricity for Rs750 from specific IPP: Ejaz

Former Caretaker Federal Minister for Commerce Gohar Ejaz has said the government has been purchasing electricity from a specific power plant at the rate of Rs750 per unit under IPPs contract deal.

“We have been paying Rs60 per unit due to these corrupt contracts. Out of total IPPs, 52 per cent belongs to the government while 28 per cent is being run by the private people of Pakistan,” Gohar disclosed.

“I have raised my voice against 40 families  and shared the data to save the country from them. It is surprising the government is paying Rs150 billion to a specific power plant which is generating merely less than 15 per cent of its capacity,” he said.

“Most IPPs are running at less than 20 per cent of their capacity while payments of Rs1.95 trillion have been made to these IPPs which have been confirmed.

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The former commerce minister reveled the government had been paying Rs370 billion to three IPPs which were generating less than 15 per cent of their capacity.

He says the solution to the problem is to pay to the IPPs ‘no capacity charges.

Read only: Gohar Ejaz urges Leghari to make IPP payment record public

“The IPPs must be paid for what they generate,” he highlighted.

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Nigeria’s Dangote refinery in talks with Libya to secure oil

Nigeria’s Dangote refinery in talks with Libya to secure oil

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Nigeria's Dangote refinery in talks with Libya to secure oil

Nigeria’s Dangote refinery is in talks with Libya to secure crude for the 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) plant and will also seek Angolan oil, a senior executive said, as it seeks to overcome problems with domestic supplies.

The $20 billion refinery, built by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote on the outskirts of Lagos is Africa’s largest, and is designed to end Nigeria’s dependence on imported fuels because of insufficient refining capacity.

Since Dangote began operations in January, it has been unable to get adequate crude supplies in Nigeria, which, although Africa’s biggest oil producer, is struggling with theft, pipeline vandalism and low investment.

Dangote has resorted to importing crude from as far as Brazil and the United States.

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“We are talking to Libya about importing crude,” Dangote refinery senior executive Devakumar Edwin told Reuters late on Saturday. “We will talk to Angola as well and some other countries in Africa.”

He declined to give detail about the talks, but said international traders and oil companies were among the biggest buyers of Dangote’s gasoil, much of which was being exported.

“The biggest offtakers are the two big traders Trafigura and Vitol and BP and, to some extent, even TotalEnergies. But all of them are saying they are taking it to offshore,” Edwin said.

Traders and shipping data have shown that Dangote is increasing gasoil exports to West Africa, taking market share from European refiners.

Edwin said Dangote’s oil trading arm was operational, with staff in London and Lagos, to help manage supplies and sell products. Reuters first reported the planned trading arm in March.

Nigeria’s upstream regulator has clashed with Dangote, saying the sulphur content in its gasoil was above the required limits of 200 parts per million (ppm).

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Aliko Dangote has denied that, saying the sulphur level was higher when production started, but had fallen to 88 ppm and would sink to 10 ppm in early August as output rises.

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