Good Governance and Conflict of Interests – A Case Study across Food Value Chain of Pakistan
Prof M Subhan Qureshi, Ex-National Consultant FAO-UN/Ex-Dean FAHVS UAP/ President Dairy Science Park, 23-A, Industrial Estate, Hayatabad, Peshawar-25000, Pakistan
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(A paper submitted to “Building Innovative Pakistan through STI Policy”, S&T Policy Conference + Technology Expo, April 15-16, 2020, Quid i Azam University Islamabad)
Bad Governance has been increasingly regarded as one of the root causes of all evil in our society (UNESCAP Policy Paper). Pakistan is rich with agriculture and livestock resources, but these could not be transformed into prosperity of the people. While lack of good governance, infrastructure and regulations leads to a decline in societies, livestock are a major component of the economy even in countries affected by instability or crisis, accounting for more than 40 percent of agricultural GDP (FAO 2018). In other words, in these and other conflict-torn nations, animal production provides some remaining measure of social and economic security by offering access to food to residents in towns and villages, and ensuring that the population balance remains sustainable between rural and urban areas.
In spite of its placement at third position in milk production, the produce in Pakistan could not find access to formal market and processing beyond 5%. The huge international Halal meat market could not get due share from this country, compatible with its production status. The author was lucky enough for having an opportunity to work in extension, research and university services in the public sector and for keeping a close liaison with the producers, processors and consumers of livestock and agricultural products through chambers of commerce and industries, SMEDA and stakeholders’ associations.
Under the present governance system, focus of the public sector organization has been on: i) Livestock Extension, breeding and health coverage; ii) Livestock Research, vaccine, diagnosis and nutrition; iii) Livestock Education, veterinary medicine; iv) Agric Extension/Research, Fodder/Crops Production & Mngt; v) Deputy Commissioner, price capping, no Quality Control; vi) Legal courts, export ban; vii) SMEDA, little focused attempts; viii) KPCCI, low priority; ix) Public Health Services, low priority; x) ORIC Offices of Universities, underutilized. Overall impact of negligence of livestock resource base mobilization has resulted in missing of entrepreneurship/ exports/ Quality Control/ Traceability/ Halal concepts across livestock-based food value chain.
KP Livestock Action Plan (FAO 2019) was developed for Livestock Sector Development and Transformation, based on KP Livestock Policy; covering regulatory issues, value chain development, private sector engagement and overall required capacity at provincial and district levels; to elaborate on roles and responsibilities of various stakeholders focused on institutional reforms; review the current policy/strategies/programs and align livestock sector priorities.
Establishment of Policy Implementation Cell (PIC) was suggested as a widely-based body, working as a component of the proposed Livestock Technopark Peshawar (LTP). The Cell will monitor impact of the activities of various service providers on the community. Special Service Incentives Package would be ensured for scientists/officers/staff of LDD Extension and Research Wings and other components of LTP on performance basis, using measurable indicators and reporting on annual basis. A dialogue will be initiated through an Advocacy Forum for addressing issues faced by the stakeholders comprising the consumers’ societies, district administration, academia, public sector organizations, representatives of milk and meat shops/dealers, farmers and media. Success stories will be identified and replicated. Liaison will be kept with the sister organizations regarding the changing scenario of Climate Change and livestock-environment interaction. Conflicts of interests among producers, consumers, service providers and regulators would be analyzed across livestock based food value chain and harmony would be created among partners. Policy support would be provided for creating an enabling environment for the young entrepreneurs to grow and contribute in generating employment, foods and biotech products, for local market and export. Reforms and innovations would be supported at state farms of the provincial. federal and military farms.
LTP was proposed to be established as an autonomous authority with full regulatory, administrative, financial and legislative powers to protect all the stakeholders of the livestock industry, and to engage all the relevant private and public sector organizations in the process. This would create an enabling environment for the growth of the emerging entrepreneurs, through a coordinated approach. A balance approach would provide a level playing field to all the stakeholders and ensure a private sector led growth as per international standards. LTP would cover United Nations SDGs 2,3, 5, 7, 8 and 16. Management Board LTP comprised members from the public and private sector and the civil society, backed up by an Endowment Fund of Rs.1.6 billion and a development grant of Rs.1.4 billion.
The Author was not comfortable with the interventions of some influential persons from LDD Extension Wing during the consultative process as they attempted to restrict the scope of the National Consultancy up to Extension Component of the sector, only. In fact, this Wing manages the huge network of veterinary institutions in the province and an access to over 90% of the financial and administrative resources. They were the sole and dominant force behind formulation of the KP Livestock Policy 2019, ignoring the interests of the LDD Research Wing, the Universities and the private sector, including livestock farmers, products processors, service providers and marketing partners.
As a result, the research wing could not grow and its laboratories could not get accredited for quality control practices. No conducive environment was provided to the researchers working at LDD Research and after getting higher qualifications they moved towards the universities, etc., for better job opportunities. LDD Research was not provided opportunities for participating in the mega projects like Prime Minister’s Initiatives, although feasible business models were available in the areas like propagation of indigenous and imported poultry breeds as family income generation tools.
The four universities working in public sector in the province have been awarding Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and postgraduate degrees. DVM degrees of only one university (GU) has been accredited by Pakistan Veterinary Medical Council (PVMC); however, their membership of the Council has been suspended. Hostile attitude of PVMC, lack of support by the administration of the respective universities and the provincial government has resulted in constant deterioration in the quality of education at these institutions.
The private component of livestock sector of KP comprising livestock and poultry farmers, products processors, marketing partners and service providers, are facing numerous challenges related to regulatory, financial, administrative and marketing barriers. They are deprived of the benefits allocated in the form of ADP, PSDF and other funds to the public sector. The basic functional units of LDD are the civil veterinary hospitals, dispensaries, centers and mobile clinics, awaiting sick animals for treatment. A good progress report more sick animals. This is contrary to the development concept of livestock sector where presence of disease-free, productive, and profitable animals are indicators of better efficiency.
The private farmers keep the livestock and poultry as a source of family income and focus on economic parameters to get higher profits. Educated youth are trying to enter into faming, products processing, services and marketing activities across the chain. The public sector needs sick animals to keep the hospital running and the prices are regulated at the lowest levels to keep the consumers happy, irrelevant of the products quality-based grading. Here arises a conflict of interests between the private and public sector, where the private sector is deprived of the policy and development support and the growth of young emerging entrepreneurs is restricted through hostile regulations and development strategies.
Keywords: Food Value Chain, Livestock, Food, Entrepreneurship, Good Governance, Academia-Industry Linkages
FAO 2018. World Livestock: Transforming the livestock sector through the Sustainable Development Goals. Rome. 222 pp.
FAO 2019. Transforming Livestock Resources into a Beacon of Hope through a Good Governance Model. FAO Islamabad.
UNASCAP Policy Paper. What is Good Governance? United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. link: https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/good-governance.pdf