MDF Pakistan exhibited at the Dawn Food and Agri Expo with business partners in dairy, meat and horticulture. Al-Saffah, Star Farms, Vital Agri Nutrients, Cattlekit, Pioneer Seeds and Telenor had an opportunity to showcase their products and services at the stall.
The expo provided an opportunity to access the potential of Pakistan’s agricultural market and help key players and participants to understand the market appetite for their products, as well as to recognize the best channels for delivery. It brought together all stakeholders from the public, private, academic and social sectors on one platform to engage in constructive dialogue, experience sharing and information dissemination.
The exhibitors displayed their latest products and technologies such as agriculture and livestock implements, cattle feed, seeds and fertilizers, while banks and insurance companies had also set up stalls to inform visitors about how they could apply and take advantage of agriculture loans and insurance schemes.
This year the event was supported by relevant government ministries/institutions and endorsed by various chambers of commerce and international agriculture organizations.
The Governor of Punjab and Ambassador of Argentina visited the MDF stall and met MDF partners. Al-Saffah – MDF partner in Dairy, is supporting to provide customized feed solutions for animals through advisory services on how to raise meat animals and provision of customized feed. Al-Saffah is also helping farmers and mid- tier feedlots in selling animals, and thus ensuring supply of animals to meat processors and exporters. Farmers were interested to know more about the model and stepped into the stall for a one-to-one meeting with the representative.
MDF’s partner Vital Agri Nutrients is working in the production of bio products to improve soil fertility and up-take of phosphorus by plants. They had product samples displayed and experts present at the stall to guide farmers and answer their queries.
MDF’s partner Cattlekit, had live demonstrations of silage bunkers, which attracted a great audience. The team from Argentina showed interest on how silage machinery works and is fit for farmers in Pakistan. Cattlekit is providing modern silage making machinery to farmers in South Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to easily produce silage, while Bank Alfalah has developed a financial for them to access machinery.
One of MDF’s first partners, Pioneer, also had a stall. MDF and Pioneer are scaling up commercial production of small bales of silage, besides providing information to small farmers on the benefits of using silage. Initially MDF supported a batch of local silage entrepreneurs for making small bales of silage in South Punjab, Northern Sindh and KPK. Today there are around 100 silage entrepreneurs in the commercial production and sale of small bales of silage all over Pakistan. They are also renting out silage machinery and giving advice to other farmers on how to make their own silage, leading to increased income for farming households, as well as improvements in animal productivity and health.
Technical working sessions were also held related to food and agriculture, like CPEC’s impact on farm sector, market dynamics, technology infusion and value-chain development. MDF partner, Telenor Pakistan, spoke on technology Infusion and how their technology platform and network coverage combined with MDF’s local farming and market knowledge is increasing access to vital information on weather and best farming practices for crops and livestock, for farmers. Telenor Pakistan’s ‘Khushaal Zamindar’ service offers user friendly, Robo-call and SMS content based, service to farmers by providing location specific weather forecast along with contextual agronomic advisory for every farmer’s relevant crop mix and tips for livestock management. Currently more than 5.2 million farmers in Punjab are using this agriculture service and over 10% of them are females. Based on learnings, Telenor designed “Khushaal Aangan” that is aimed to be a perfect lifestyle partner for the rural woman, educating her on agriculture, livestock rearing, family health and much more. They shared great success stories!
Farmers, government officials and distributors were on a single platform to explore new technologies and innovations in food and agriculture sectors. Besides local technology companies, international firms from China, Turkey and Argentina also set up their stalls at the expo. Whereas other provincial departments like livestock, agriculture, water management, and horticulture directorates also showcased their services there.
Such platforms should continue to foster meaningful and result oriented interactions and to create a road map for achieving value addition, enhancing quality of produce & product, improving export viability and implementing new technology.
Text and photos by MDF Pakistan Communications Specialist, Roha Tariq. Additional pictures by Noor Alam Khan.