Farmers Hardship Under the Establishment’s Eyes

This year (2017), we noticed a stinging acceleration in the prices of certain agricultural commodities like Onion (from the June until now) and tomato (September to date) in Pakistan. During the same period, such products remained at the lowest prices in India. The higher prices of these commodities in Pakistan were because of the closure of the Durand Line, the weathering extremities, and the higher demand for those items.

Who Suffer

The Farmer in India & Afghanistan and the consumer in Pakistan

One can see interesting but annoying pictures throughout in the region on the internet. In India, the farmer throwing the tomato and onion on the roads as a show of anger, while the people in Pakistan are struggling to manage tomato and onion for family use.

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Onioned was thrown and crushed in India for their low prices
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The tomato crisis in Pakistan

Interestingly, when the prices of tomato were low in Pakistan, that time the prices were high in India and the same was for the onion. I just gave the example of 2 products otherwise there are many examples.

The Root Cause of the Problem

The farmers are not the part of the policy-making process. They are out of the decision making forums. The policies are driven by the people whom interest lies in the wars and conflicts. On both sides of the border, the policy-making is in the hand of powerful establishments to keep the tension alive and strengthen their vested interests.

For the establishment, the troubled relationship is a better source of income but the masses suffer. As a personal experience, I the establishment wants to weaken the farmers to grab their land and other resources. Usually, such people when retired from their jobs, start the business of the real estate and buy the lands from the farmer and change into the concrete jungle.

The Solution, if any?

A strong and influential voice of the farmers on the both side can mak the change.

 

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

REGIONAL COOPERATION! An Approach for Camel Advocacy

Abstract
Camel is a precious animal genetic resource of drylands and harsh ecosystems of the globe. The camel is highly adapted to the difficult and hostile environment of its habitat. It also produces precious products, especially milk in a very low or even zero input production system. Such ecosystems and low input production model are highly hostile to other domestic animals and difficult for survival, especially the exotic breeds.
Camel has a unique physiology enabling it to survive in such hostile conditions. Feed and water scarcity is the salient feature of the regional ecosystems, minimizing our choices for other livestock production. Such conditions enforce us to work on a camel and transform it into a good farm machine rather a beast of burden. We have rare opportunities and camel is the best choice to use as a tool to beat food security challenge in the climate change scenario. Camel! A One in All Creatures
The production traits are highly variable, especially milk production which ranges from 4 to 40 kg/day. The camel products – especially the milk – are unique and of high quality. The camel milk is now well accepted for its worth at international levels. Many efforts are underway to promote camel milk. Camel dairying is getting popularity and its products are highly demanded health and wellbeing.
More than 90% of the camel in the region are kept and reared by the pastoral communities. The production system is based on open grazing and mobile herding. Pastoral peoples and other camel keepers carry the entire burden of preserving the camel for the future. They face severe difficulties due to climate change, feed and water scarcity, restriction to grazing lands, faulty livestock policies and other man-made consequences. The number of camels is declining and camel breeds are at risk of extinction, especially in this region. Scientific work on the camel is often not connected to and relevant for the camel keepers.
However, every cloud has a silver lining. The regional (Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan) camel community (scientists, breeders, and policymakers) can work for joint projects. Camel association can be organized at national levels in each country and can fabricate a regional cooperation for camel development. Camel friends need to work together and share ideas and support each other. The message about the diversity and capacity of the camel can then reach the policymakers.
As a first attempt, a review committee to review camel productions and possibilities for future development is urgent and requires pooling of available data on the camel in a systematic and uniform manner. Such committee can work on the compilation of the work done already and can give the idea for future research and development on a camel.
Keywords: future, global, joint, policy, review, camel

The camel is a  food Security Animal in Climate Change Scenario

Camel is well in position to beat the challenge of food security in the climate change context. Camel produces milk and meat for human consumption. Camel meat is praised for its good quality, especially if it is derived from the calf. The major meat contents i.e. moisture, protein, fat, and ash are reported as 71, 21.4, 4.4 and 1.1% respectively (Kadim and Mahgoub, 2006). Camels are good potential meat producers especially in arid regions where other meat-producing animals do not thrive. Camel meat, especially from young animals, contains low fat with low cholesterol as well as being a good source of amino acids and minerals.

Many factors drive the slaughtering rate of the camel. Though camel meat is preferred in some countries, but not often slaughtered due to high prices and slow herd growth rate. Camel is mainly slaughtered on special occasions, like festival, wedding, mourning, physical damage to the animal, for preying and the arrival of guests (Mehari et al, 2007). But in recent times, the camel meat is attracted many people in the Middle East and the number of camel slaughtering is increasing. Such trend resulting in camel decline in the horn of Africa and Sub-continent.

Camel milk is the major and special product for human consumption. Camel was originally domesticated for milk following the move to use as a beast of a burden, especially for armies. (Raziq et al, 2008). Camel is no more the animal of the old world, but an animal which may be used to combat the growing desertification and to feed millions of people living in those areas. The camel produces in harsh and hostile conditions where another animal may not survive. A camel can provide 15-20 liters of milk per day for a lactation period of up to 18 months, making it a very good farm animal. Studies conducted in the horn of Africa revealed that the camel produced more milk than the other types of tropical animals compared on the basis of kg/TLU/year (Schwartz and Dioli, 1992).
Globally camel produces about 2 % of the world total milk and that milk is mostly produced by pastoral people and consumed locally (Raziq et al, 2008). The camel sustains its productivity in difficult conditions and comparatively lesser affected by the adverse factors like lack of feed, water, season and length of lactation (Raziq et al, 2011).Pashtoon nomads and camel

Production, pastoralism, and conservation
Camel production is still switched to nomadic and semi-nomadic people. Camel plays the role as the tool of survival in arid and semi-arid lands of the earth. Camel is crucial for the livelihood earning of such communities and ensure their food security. As a consequence of the climate change and drought, some cattle pastoralists substituted cattle with the camel to ensure the existence of the drought conditions. A new phenomenon of camel dairying is getting popularity and increases, though the growth is not appealing yet. The efforts of last decade like that in Mauritania (Tvisky), Kenya, India, and the UAE (Alain Dairy and Camelicious) are now following the newly camel dairying, especially in the Middle East.
Pastoralism safeguards conservation and development (evolution) of camel genetic resources in the world. The pastoral people developed and evolved specialized breeds of livestock for food and agriculture and camel is the one among them. Camel herders evolved the present day’s breed with the continuous selection for fitness and survival traits with the help of their indigenous knowledge in the long run of history. Such efforts resulted in the well-adapted genetic resources for food and agriculture, which can survive in harsh and hostile conditions (Köhler-Rollefson, 2005). Hence efforts for conservation and sustainable use of camel, the role of pastoral people cannot be neglected.Camel Barbering Sindh Pakistan

Regional cooperation
Camel can be the solution for many difficult questions, i.e. climate change, drought and food security, especially for the region like ours. Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan are under the severe threat of many challenges like water and feed scarcity, climate calamities, deforestation etc. In such conditions, the importance of well-adapted livestock species like camel increases manifolds. Unfortunately, camel erosion is a challenge in the region. There are many reasons for this decline, all are manmade. Camel is being neglected in research and development sectors of the region and no integrated efforts had been made to address camel issues. The camel conference of Mashhad can be a milestone for a regional cooperation and development of camel R&D in the region. As a beginning, universities, research institutions, and breeders communities can initiate camel cooperation which can proceed at ministries levels in the days coming.
A committee of scientists can be organized here at the end of the conference to make a comprehensive report on the present situation of the camel in the region, i.e. population, breeds, trends, communities, utilities etc and also to review the research work already performed and published. The committee will point out the gaps in the research area and will suggest research work to the universities and institutions. The committee can collaborate with the international camelid organization, especially ISOCARD to ease its work and broaden the horizon of camel research and development.
We have announced an international camel conference in Pakistan next year under the patronage of the camel association of Pakistan (CAP). The committee may have a meeting at such occasion and can discuss its progress and future plans.

brahvi-breed

Conclusion
Camel can be a tool to combat desertification and to fight the calamities of climate change. Camel ensures food security in the arid ecosystems of our region. Unfortunately, camel is under threat and still neglected among the R & D sector of our national governments. A regional cooperation and coordination can be a silver lining in the cloud. Cooperation among the universities, camel herders, pastoralists and other stakeholders can bring cool breeze in the camel world of the region.

References

  1. Bengoumi M. and Faye B., 2002. Adaptation du dromadaire à la déshydratation. Sécheresse. 13 (2) 121-129.
  2. Bengoumi M., Riad F., Giry J., De La Farge F., Safwate A., Davicco M.J and Barlet J.P, 1993. Hormonal Control of Water and Sodium in Plasma and Urine of Camels during Dehydration and Rehydration. General and Comparative endocrinology. 89: 378-386.
  3. Hjört af Ornäs A . and M. Ali Hussein, 1993.Camel herd dynamics in southern Somalia: long term development and milk production implications. . In: A. Hjort af Ornäs (Ed.),The multipurpose camel: interdisciplinary studies on pastoral production in Somalia., EPOS, Uppsala University, Sweden, 31-42
  4. Kadim, I.T. and O. Mahgoub. 2006. Meat quality and composition of Longissimus thoracis from Arabian Camel (Camelus dromedaries) and Omani beef: A comparative study. In: First conference of the international society of Camelids research and development (ISOCARD) (pp. 118).
  5. Köhler-Rollefson, I. 2005a. Building an International Legal Framework on Animal Genetic Resources Can it help the drylands and food-insecure countries? LPP. http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/int_legal_framework_an_gen_res.pdf
  6. Mehari, Y., Z. Mekuriaw and G. Gebru. 2007. Camel and camel product marketing in Babilie and Kebribeyah woredas of the Jijiga zone, Somali region, Ethiopia. Livestock Research for Rural Development 19 (4).
  7. Raziq A, M. Younas, M.S. Khan and I. Iqbal. 2011. Milk production potential as affected by parity and age of the Kohi dromedary camel. J. Camel Pract. Res. 17(2): 1-4.
  8. Raziq, A., M. Younas and M.A. Kakar. 2008. Camel~ A potential dairy animal in difficult environments. Pak. J. Agri. Sci. 45(2): 263-267.
  9. Schwartz, H.J. and M. Dioli. 1992. The one-humped Camel in Eastern Africa. A pictorial guide to diseases, health care and management. Verlag Josef Margraf, Scientific Books PO Box 105 D 6992, Weikersheim, FR Germany.
  10. Yagil R., 1993. Renal function and water metabolism in the dromedary. Moving Points in Nephrology Contrib. Nephrol. Basel, Karger. 102 :161-170.

Land grabbing and Restrictions to Pastoralism in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is one of the important countries of the dryland region of the world. Afghanistan is home and cradle of precious livestock breeds. The old civilization of zoroaster domesticated the present day bactrian camel in the ancient city of Bakhtria in Afghanistan. Afghanistan places precious and well adapted livestock breeds with very touchy livestock culture and home of nomads (Kochis).

Kochis or pastoralists having diversity of livestock species and breeds. They are the custodian of such precious animal genetic resources and guardian of the rich culture of nomadism.

Afghanistan being the land of wars and conflicts, now new and modern problems and conflicts area arising in the country. Because of the wars, there were restriction of the nomads movement with their livestock in some parts of the country.  Now arable farmers and warlords are grabbing the land for construction and high input agriculture production which further restrict the movement of livestock.

Nomadism is very important for livestock and flora diversity. Restriction affects the livestock production systems of the Kochis very negatively. Such phenomenon, i.e. land grabbing is further harmful for livestock biodiversity.

It is the utmost need of time to give attention to this issue and save pastoralism and their precious livestock breeds and culture. I hereby appeal international organizations like FAO to facilitate nomadism in Afghanistan and resist land grabbing and restriction of livestock movement of the nomads or Kochis.