Pakistan is an energy deficient country. In 1994, about 54% of the energy requirements were met through conventional sources while biomass energy such as fuelwood, agricultural residues and dung accounted for the remaining 46%. Woodfuels account for 26 % of total energy consumption.
Some 20 years ago, experts from the Pakistan Forestry Institute (PFI) at Peshawar, brought poplar species from Italy. By now the poplar is widespread in Pakistan, contributing substantially to local wood industry and fuelwood supplies. Pakistan, with its limited forest area, has focussed on agro-forestry and this is remarkably successful. By now, 98% of all wood comes from agricultural land, and agro-forestry has greatly improved the woodfuel supply. About 1.5% of agricultural land has been put under tree cover and it is believed that the percentage can be tripled without a reduction in agriculture production.
It was stated by the Inspector General of Forests (IGF) that the present policy regarding the forestry sector was largely based on concepts derived from RWEDP. Implementation focuses on the provincial level. New loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for the forestry sector in Pakistan are forthcoming. In 1995, the Office of the IGF was merging with the Ministry of Environment, which is expected to strengthen its position.
Pakistan is further known for its extensive World Bank/ESMAP Household Energy Strategy Survey (HESS, 1991-93) which is reputed to be one of the most expensive ESMAP studies ever performed. The study provided a wealth of information on the domestic sector, and the recommendations are now being considered by the Government for implementation. So far, little is known about fuel use in the small and medium-scale industrial sectors (SMI), though it is estimated that 80% of all employment in the manufacturing sector is in SMIs. These industries are reported to suffer from low productivity with their main problems being energy conservation and substitution.
One characteristic of studies like the HESS is that they do not provide data over a time frame and no follow up data has so far been supplied. The data obtained has gradually become outdated, with no updating or ongoing data collection or appraisal being undertaken. These observations indicate that an alternative approach, for example like the one adopted by FAO-RWEDP which aims to gradually strengthen local and national institutional capabilities, should be followed.
PFI co-organised and hosted a Regional RWEDP Training Course on Trade in Woodfuels and Related Products. Participants observed the lively woodfuel sector and agro-forestry practices in some of the SMIs. The case material presented, and possibly some additional material, will be developed by PFI into training materials on woodfuel flows. The institute is probably unique in the region due to its strong training regarding wood energy and it is also fully exposed to woodfuel issues. PFI has undertaken studies on the financial side of raising different tree crops, including the possible returns for growing fuelwood on farmland. Examples show that under prevailing conditions the profits to be made from growing poplars exceed returns from agricultural products.
Focal points are the main contacts for RWEDP in a member country. Generally, in each country, there is one focal point in the energy sector, and one in the forestry sector.
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© FAO-RWEDP, 1999