Eco-Conservation Initiatives – Urban Agriculture Services Center

Orientation visit to Siraj ul Mulk Farm (Gonodal Organic Farm)

29 October 2008

Overview of the Farm

On the request of Prince Siraj-ul-Mulk (Cell: 0344-9700800), a representative of Urban Agriculture Services Center (UASC) visited his Farms towards Kuri Road Islamabad. Mr. Mulk is a retired Pilot of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). He is a learned man with vast experience in business and enterprise development; often traveling from Chitral to Islamabad for promotion of responsible tourism in the northern areas.

An overview of the farms was taken with camera to record initial situation before its development. The farm is easily accessible by jeep but not suitable for car driving. Following is the Farm Profile:

Location: Mouza Moriaan, Village Jaggiot near Kuri Road, Islamabad

Distance from City: About 25 Km from Islamabad city.
Area: 150 Kanals

Altitude: 459 meters

Condition: Under developed Farm being supervised by an old watchman, land leveling about 25%, without any proper fencing, general accommodation facility available, some patches of land have been prepared for sowing of wheat (variety Inqilaab) on 30 October 2008 through labors by drill machine. The seed as well as 5 bags of urea and DAP had already been arranged by the owner. The prepared land for sowing still had a lot of weeds that needed to be effectively managed for the best growth of wheat crop.

Terrain: Hilly terrain with local wild vegetation, a jeep able katcha road is built inside the farm. The farm can be accessed by the particular road leading towards it or through the main double road just at its end where the area of village Blagh starts that is a CDA proposed site for establishment of waste treatment / composting plant.

Irrigation sources: As a whole, the area is rain-fed. However, a natural seepage water channel coming from unknown source close to Simli Land initially passes through the farms and then surrounds the farms as its natural boundary.
Surroundings: Non-developed farm areas, occasional squatter lands, CDA lands etc.

Objectives of the visit

• Assess the suitability for development of available land as an urban market-led commercial farm
• Development of proposal on Urban Farm Management for our valued client

Feasibility for Urban Farm Management

On the basis of initial assessment, the available land is under development that still needs quite a lot of efforts, time, energy and resources to be developed into an urban market-led agriculture farm. In support of farm development feasibility, following are the positive aspects:

• The farm land is easily accessible by road from the urban markets of Islamabad and Rawalpindi
• Although rain-fed, the area is highly fertile for fruits, vegetables, food crops, medicinal plants / spices, flowers, olives, vineyards, honeybees, mushroom farming, fish pond as well as livestock and poultry, etc.
• Being a virgin land with negligible or without any chemical residues, the land is quite suitable for organic farming.
• With the natural aesthetic value of the farmland, this area seems to have great potential for development of eco-tourism as an enterprise for the national and foreign tourists.
• Plenty of ground water and irrigation resource is available being Kuri area as the major water recharge zone for the 2 million population of twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
• Although a hilly area, the soil texture seems to have required water absorbing and retaining capacity, fertility, etc.
• Having the natural water resource available, fish ponds can be established conveniently.
• With the presence of a moderate hilltop, water pumping from the water stream up to an artificially built water tank at the top would efficiently meet the needs for irrigation of the whole farm in the absence of rains.
• The business acumen and personal interest of the farm owner for development of a market-led urban farm is an added advantage and open secret of the success for such an enterprising venture.

Proposal for Market-led Urban Farm Development

Based upon the preliminary orientation visit to the farms, UASC is pleased to extend their farm development & management services for a period of 2 years. The farm development and management services will be provided on following terms and conditions:

• UASC will be mainly responsible for provision of technical support, guidance and monitoring in the farm development & management. The owner will be charged on yearly basis in advance in two installments for the services as indicated in the budget. The traveling expenses will be charged separately as the visits are always variable depending upon farm needs and climatic condition.
• Following will be the major proposed tasks in farm development, management and facilitation in marketing of the products that would be carried out in consultation with the owner:

– Fencing and marking of the boundary
– Preparation of the main gate by a vendor and installation at the entrance
– Land leveling & landscaping as per needs of the farming for a range of food, fruit and vegetable crops, etc.
– Development and beautification of pathways for jeep able drive as well as walking tracks
– Construction of pumping system and establishment of water tank
– Development of water channels for the irrigation system
– Development of cropping calendar and cropping system for the farm
– Preparation and installation of maps & guidelines for the visitors
– Selection and identification of crops to be cultivated
– Development of a farm brochure for its visibility to promote marketing of the products
– Identification, selection and linkage development with urban markets for sale of farm products
– Establishing, training and capacity building of the field staff in preparation of farm-yard manure and compost as organic fertilizers for the crops.
– Establishment of raw material store
– Construction of fish pond for establishment of fish culture
– Establishment of honeybee, mushroom farming system
– Arrangements for livestock and poultry management on limited scale
– Local/indigenous plantation at the unused areas
– Reorganizing accommodation system, development of communication policy and general rules & regulations for the field staff
– Developing contacts and agreements with major nurseries and raw material stocks for purchase of the plants, seeds, fertilizers, bio-pesticides, fish & poultry feed, etc.
– Training and capacity building of the field staff in different aspects of farming

• The investment on the farm development will be carried out directly by the owner but under the recommendations by UASC in accordance with the proposed budget.
• UASC will recommend the owner for appointment of a skilled Farm Manager / Supervisor along with 3 farm workers to be based at the Farm 24 hrs. a day throughout the cropping season. The standard remuneration charges of the field staff will be paid directly by the Farm Owner. However, the staff will work under the direct technical supervision and communication policy of UASC.
• UASC will train the farm workers in all farm related practices; supply of produce to suitable markets as well as identification of such markets where good return of the produce could be obtained.
• The field staff including the Farm Manager and his Associates will be directly responsible to the farm owner for financial matters. However, UASC representatives will regular monitor their assigned activities.
• UASC will not have any objection if the trained manpower is retained by the owner for further development and commercialization of the farm and its products after expiry of the agreement.
• All the raw materials including seeds, chemicals, fertilizers, sowing, hoeing, ploughing, weeding and their transportation etc. as required in the budget will be purchased by the owner through his field staff. However, UASC may recommend for reliable source of the purchases and maintain a check on the quality.
• In case of any natural calamities or lack of look after of the farms by the farm workers, UASC will not be responsible although do their best to manage such emerging issues. However, to cope with any untoward situation, UASC will continue to inform the Farm Owner for his attention.
• Both the parties will demonstrate highest level of moral, ethical and professional standards to deal with each other.
• In case of disagreement on any point or complaints of un-satisfaction by either party, the agreement can be terminated on two months notice by either party.
• If the above terms and conditions are agreed then it can be properly signed to start the work within shortest notice.