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Pakistan agriculture sector all set to grow 3.81% in current fiscal year!

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First spell of monsoon rains beneficial for seasonal crops

ISLAMABAD: Agriculture sector of the country is estimated to grow by 3.81 percent during the fiscal year 2017-18 against the growth of 2.07 in 2016-17 and 0.15 in 2015-16, showing considerable improvements as compared to last couple of years.

Among the agriculture sector, the crops sector witnessed 3.83 percent growth, with important crops growing by 3.57 percent and others crops by 3.33 percent, according to latest data available for six to eight months and projected for the whole year. During the year 2016-17, the growth of crops was recorded at 0.91 percent while there was negative growth of 5.27 percent in 2015-16, the provisional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates revealed.

The Cotton Ginning sector was the top contributor in terms of percentage to help agriculture sector achieve this growth rate as this sector grew by 8.27 percent during the period under review. The cotton ginning had witnessed 5.58 percent growth in 2016-17 and negative growth of 22.12 in financial year 2015-16.Similarly, the livestock sector grew by 3.76 percent in 2017-18 against the growth of 2.99 percent in 2016-17 and 3.36 percent in 2015-16.

The forestry sector also grew by 7.17 percent in 2017-18, which had witnessed negative growth of 2.37 percent in 2016-17 and positive growth of 14.31 percent in 2015-16. The fishing sector also witnessed positive growth of 1.63 percent in 2017-18 against the growth of 1.23 percent in 2016-17 and 3.25 percent in 2015-16, the data revealed. 

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Economy

Pakistan-US Effort to Safeguard Children’s Food

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ISLAMABAD:  Researchers, government agencies, and private businesses from Pakistan and the United States announced today their cooperation to eliminate a toxic fungus that causes liver cancer and stunting in children.  The joint effort also aims to improve nutrition and safeguard the health of Pakistan’s citizens by securing a disease-free food supply.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working with the Pakistani company Rafhan Maize Products to target the fungus aflatoxin, which occurs naturally in crops.  The project will use a cutting-edge USDA technology that works to eliminate aflatoxin in the fields, where it affects up to 25% of all crops grown. This joint effort will make Pakistan a leader in global efforts to grow safer vegetables, such as maize, as well as nuts, such as pistachios, and will even help secure the health of livestock by protecting the plants grown as feed for the animals.

At the event to announce the project, Deputy Chief of Mission John Hoover from the U.S. Mission Pakistan congratulated the partners working on this effort and highlighted the long history of U.S.-Pakistani cooperation in the field of agriculture.  Commenting on the impact that fighting aflatoxin will have, Hoover, commented, “It will affect the health and job prospects of thousands of Pakistanis and improve the economic viability of Pakistani commodities for export.” 

Key partners working with the USDA to safeguard Pakistani crops include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Agricultural Research Centre, and the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International.

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Asia

Tokyo shares rise after Wall Street rally

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TOKYO: Stocks here ended higher today with investor sentiment boosted by robust corporate earnings that triggered a rally on Wall Street and lifted shares in Asia.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.29 percent or 291.88 points to 22,841.12 while the broader Topix index added 1.54 percent or 25.96 points at 1,713.87. Market sentiment brightened across Asia, after US and European shares extended gains on a wide range of factors including solid US business earnings, an apparent fading of tensions between Italy and the EU over Rome’s spending, and hopes that Brexit talks may see some progress. Tokyo players also embraced the dollar’s renewed strength.
The US unit kept its ground at 112.25 yen in Tokyo after reaching 112.26 in New York, higher than 111.95 yen seen at the start of the week. “Investors cheered gains of US shares on the back of robust corporate earnings, as well as the relative stability of US bond yields,” Okasan Online Securities said in a note. “The Nikkei index began the day with buy orders leading the way. The dollar hovered just above the 112-yen mark. The yen’s downswing also brightened the sentiment,” the brokerage said. Strong gains of US tech issues drove up Tokyo-based IT shares. IT investor SoftBank Group added 2.13 percent to 9,790 yen, partly on news that Uber was aiming at a valuation above $100 billion for its share offering. Softbank has a 15-percent stake in the ridesharing service.
Softbank stock had taken a hammering in recent days due to the firm’s links to Saudi Arabia, which is under intense international scrutiny after a journalist disappeared from its consulate in Istanbul. Sony jumped 2.23 percent to 6,498 yen. Panasonic rose 1.26 percent to 1,250.5 yen. Toyota gained 1.38 percent at 6,612 yen while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group added 1.84 percent to 4,481 yen. FujiFilm, which rose 1.66 percent to 4,890 yen, announced that a US court lifted an injunction that had stopped the firm’s merger talks with US printer maker Xerox. The Japanese firm plans to continue the discussion.

 

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Economy

Pakistan to bridge the gap of $12b: Asad Umer

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Economic situation to be cleared

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umer on Tuesday expressed the hope that the country would bridge the gap of 12 billion US dollars through loans being sought from various foreign institutions and banks.
Pakistan needed to fill this and for this, the present government would seek the loan facility from International Monetary Funds, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank, etc., he stated while talking to a private news channel.
Taxes had been levied on luxuries items including cars, he said, adding focus would be given to expedite exports by improving industrial sectors.
To a question about power and gas pilferage, he said through modern technology, we would control such heinous activities.
To another question regarding the current account deficit, he said the previous governments were responsible for damaging the economy and other institutions.
The PTI government had put the 100-day plan on the website, he said adding that we were trying to stabilize the economy of the country.
Replying to a question about the housing project, he said it was a difficult task but we would implement this gigantic project for benefiting the low-income group.
He said the government would provide shelters to low-income people and the private sector would invest to achieve the target of 50,00,000 houses.
Asad Umer said the government would make legislation and formulate the policy for the housing project.  Good governance, he said, would address the challenges being faced by the country. People had expressed full confidence in the honest leadership of PTI chief Imran Khan, he added.

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