The U.S.-Pakistan Partnership for Agricultural Market Development (AMD) activity in Pakistan is a USAID funded activity implemented by CNFA with the goal of supporting the development of Pakistan’s commercial agriculture, particularly through improving the ability of Pakistan’s agriculture and livestock sectors to meet both international and domestic demand and requirements in targeted product lines in citrus, mango, high value/off season vegetables and livestock. AMD envisions transforming the four targeted product lines into efficient, private sector led value chains that deliver competitive products to domestic and export markets. AMD’s targeted training, matching grants, and technical assistance will leverage private sector investment and encourage innovation. Together, these approaches will support upgrading, streamline supply chains, optimize profit margins, increase participation of women entrepreneurs, and ultimately make Pakistani mango, citrus, meat and HV/OSV more profitable and more competitive.
Over 35 kinds of vegetables are grown in various ecological zones in Pakistan. At the moment Pakistan is exporting very limited number and quantity of vegetables mainly to GCC, some European countries and neighboring Afghanistan. Watermelon is cultivated throughout Pakistan mostly for domestic consumption where the soil and climatic conditions are favorable for its cultivation. It prefers sandy loam soils with good drainage and a soil pH of 7.5 to 8. It cannot tolerate extremes of temperatures; low temperature affects its growth while severe higher temperatures affect the pollination process resulting in reduced yields.
Local supply of water melons starts in April and continues till September from different areas of Pakistan. It’s high in demand during summer season leading to appreciable profit margins for farmers, middle man and traders.
Seedless watermelons are more difficult to grow as they require much higher levels of inputs and managerial skill, but in terms of prices they can command a premium of upto 200% over the seeded varieties. Pakistani watermelon production calendar synchronizes well with the peak demand season in Europe which has experienced very strong growth in imports, indicating increasing demand from the watermelon producing countries whcih include China, Turkey, Iran, USA, Brazil and Albania etc. In the European market, Spain is also a major exporter. Pakistan’s easy access to GCC provides a competitive advantage for export of seedless watermelons to GCC countries. With the operationalization of Gwadar port and CPEC, exports to Europe through sea are also competitive for Pakistani producers. Additionally, at the moment no SPS requirements are in place for export of watermelons to EU, making it an easily exportable commodity. The value of watermelon imports in the EU last year (2014-15) was €485.78 million
However, despite having favorable agro-climatic conditions for the cultivation of seedless watermelon which has high demand in international markets and can lead to higher profit margins, no or very limited effort has been made to go for seedless watermelon in Pakistan. The primary reasons being continued unavailability of seeds of seedless watermelon and availability of production technology at local level.
AMD project, in line with its objective of innovation, intends to introduce commercial production of seedless watermelons for high end markets, working with Pakistani private sector investors on a limited scale for trial production. The initial areas for trial production are intended to be in Sind (Qambar, Larkana, Shehdadkot and/or adjoining areas).
Objective of the Technical Assistance
The technical assistance (TA) provided by the local STTA is aimed at providing the technical oversight for crop husbandry of the seedless watermelons to the selected farmers from land selection & preparation till harvesting and marketing of the produce. The local STTA will work closely with the ISTTA to design a complete package of technology for seedless watermelon production for the selected area/s to augment well within the existing cropping system with increased profit margins.
The STTA tasks will include but not be limited to:
1. Detailed work plan for the period of this assignment within two days after the commencement of this consultancy.
2. Complete Crop husbandry protocols for seedless watermelon production with a permission to publish the book (English and Urdu. Versions)
3. Comparative analysis of Pakistan’s agro climate and market viz a viz other seedless watermelon producing/exporting countries.
4. Training program for the selected seedless watermelon farmers
Estimated level of effort (LOE) for the assignment:
20 Days LOE
The STTA assignment will commence in Feb 15, 2018 and end in March 7, 2018
The local consultant should have: