KARACHI: Nestle Pakistan is working with agriculture experts, government and local farmers to find ways to replace flood irrigation with drip irrigation, which could lead to water conservation in the range of 40 to 60 percent.
“Since agriculture accounts for over 90 percent of fresh water consumption in Pakistan, with nearly 50 percent wasted due to poor irrigation practices, it is important we work with farmers on curtailing water wastage,” a Nestle spokesperson told newsmen during a visit of its facilities and milk supply chain in Punjab.
Nestle undertook first project on a seven acres farm near its Sheikhupura factory and the project is now being extended to other farms, covering 75 hectares of land by 2019.
The company approximately invests $40 million in Pakistan annually and its last major investment was in 2013 when a milk powder drying facility and waste water treatment plant at the Sheikhupura factory was inaugurated.
“We believe in Pakistan and our approach to investment is long-term. We believe that continuous and steady investment would lead to greater economic activity,” the spokesperson added. During the visit of its state-of-the-art facilities, an official said that Nestlé worked with over 100,000 farmers across Pakistan having 2,200 milk collection and chilling points. In 2016, the company paid Rs22 billion to farmers in the form of milk purchases, he added.
The company has been working with dairy farmers on building their capacity, animal surroundings and dietary needs to improve the quality of milk. Packaged milk comprises only seven to eight percent of the total milk produced in Pakistan and Nestle’s efforts are still a drop in the ocean.
“The government needs to take the lead by enforcing minimum pasteurization laws and introducing widespread education / vocational programmes and work with farmers to educate and inform them,” the official added. “Milk is mostly sold loose in Pakistan and significant production is wasted because it does not reach consumers on time. Pasteurization laws that encourage more packaged milk will decrease quantities wasted and also ensure quality and uniform standard,” the official added.
Source: The Daily NEWS