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BUSINESS Monday, 11 February, 2013
Organisational Divorce: The Boss Factor NIDA ZeeShAN ALI
month back, I left my job in an organization I had worked with for six years. People asked me if I was unhappy with my salary, or if there had been a fight, or whether I’d merely gotten bored? My reply to all these questions was negative. I told them I’d left because I was uncomfortable with my immediate supervisor; ‘uncomfortable’ was an understatement. At work I’d been assigned to a team lead, along with 11 other people. We were to work as a team for one year with hard targets and tough deadlines. We were putting in every ounce of effort into the project, yet there was not one word of appreciation or encouragement from the team-lead. But make one mistake, and lo and behold! All hell would be let loose on us. By the end of 7th month, it became impossible to stay on. After I left, I spoke to some of my other teammates and almost all of them told me they also intended to quit if things didn’t get better soon. This situation is not unique to one organization or employee. World over, one of the top reasons an employee leaves their jobs is adverse relationship with their boss. Employees don’t need to be friends with their boss but it cannot be denied that the immediate supervisor is the person they might spend most of their waking hours around. To have a toxic relationship with the person an employee reports to not only causes stress, it also undermines the employee’s confidence and engagement level. Organizations spend a lot of money on employee retention programs. Failure of such programs, in part, can be credited to concentration on the wrong factors. Refer back to my story, contrary to common perception, studies show that a good work environment is often much more important than the current pay level. Merely raising an employee’s salary or assigning a glorifying job title may not be enough. Studies also show that many employees will be willing to put in extra time and effort, in exchange for minimal compensation, if the work environment is congenial. On the other hand, employees who are unhappy or dissatisfied with the work environment may demand unrealistic compensation or simply refuse to take on extra assignments. A bad relationship with a supervisor may lead to stress, anxiety and depression and it doesn’t stop here. Employees working with ‘bad’ bosses are also more likely to suffer from other health issues including life threatening cardiac conditions, states a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study states that employees working with incompetent, secretive or inconsiderate bosses were 60% more likely to suffer cardiac arrests. In today’s competitive work environment, high turnover, poor employee morale, or diminished job performance can wreak havoc for an organization. The answer is simple – a happy workplace is a productive workplace. Ensure that the people promoted to supervisor roles are prepared for dealing positively with subordinates. Get regular feedback from the employees – this will be especially helpful to find problem areas before they get too bad – and give employees the confidence to speak up regarding a difficult supervisor. These small steps will lead to greater gains in terms of increased employee engagement and morale.
Major crops yield witnesses tremendous increase during last five years ISLAMABAD
akistan has turned around from a food deficient to a food surplus country and has also seen a sharp rise in the production of economically vital cash crops like sugarcane and cotton. impressive surge in the major crops yield lends credit to a combination of a sufficient raise in support prices and unhampered flow of credit for farmers. this remarkable turnaround has been achieved despite national calamities like floods and other challenges. Gone are the days when the country had to hurriedly arrange for the import of its major staple crop like wheat to feed its population. according to officially compiled figures, wheat production has increased by 14.5 percent, rice by 10.7 percent, sugarcane by 24.8 percent and cotton production by 14.1 percent during this period. Pakistan was included in the list of food deficient countries in 2007-8 when it imported not only wheat but also pulses among other food items. During the financial year 2007-8, wheat production was recorded at 20.95 million tonnes against the domestic requirements of about 22 million tonnes, forcing the government to enhance its support prices besides providing subsidies on different agro-inputs like fertilizers, seeds and pesticides and provided technical assistance for growers. according to the data of agriculture Policy institute (aPi), during the financial year 2009-10, the country harvested for the first time, a bumper crop of over 24 million tonnes. During the period under review, per acre crop yield also increased which maximised the farm income of small land holders of the country. During the financial year 2010-11, once again the country harvested a historic bumper wheat crop with an output recorded at 25.214 million tonnes
which was surplus, resulting in Pakistan making an appearance on the list of wheat exporting countries. Besides, rice production also recorded increase with production standing at 5.563 million tonnes during 2007-08 which increased to 6.95 million tonnes by the year 2008-09. During the year 2010-11, due to flash floods in the country crop production witnessed slight decrease including rice and cotton which was recorded at 4.823 million tonnes but it again gained momentum and reached 6.160 million tonnes during the year 2011-12. Meanwhile, sugarcane production during the year 2008-9 remained at 50.045 million tonnes which increased to 62.503 million in 2011-12 showing an increase of over 24 percent. the cotton crop output which was recorded at 11.655 million bales in 2007-8 increased by 14.1 percent during the last five years and reached 13.579 million bales during 201112. agriculture credit disbursement by banks surged by 12 percent on a year-onyear basis to Rs 140.32 billion in the first half (July-December, 2012) of the current fiscal year (2012-13). according to the state Bank, in absolute terms, disbursement of credit to the agriculture sector increased by over Rs 15.11 billion in July-December, 2012 when compared with the total disbursement of Rs 125.21 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year. the overall credit disbursement by five major commercial banks including al-
lied Bank Limited, Habib Bank Limited, MCB Limited, national Bank of Pakistan and United Bank Limited stood at Rs 76.04 billion in July-December, 2012 as compared with Rs 70.56 billion disbursed in July-December, 2011 depicting an increase of Rs 5.47 billion or 7.76 percent. the Zarai taraqiati Bank Limited (ZtBL), the largest specialised bank, disbursed a total of Rs 19.28 billion in JulyDecember, 2012, down by 8.39 percent compared with Rs 21.04 billion disbursed in the same period of the last fiscal year. Punjab Provincial Co-operative Bank Limited (PPCBL) disbursed Rs 3.59 billion in July-December, 2012 down by 7.02 percent compared with Rs 3.87 billion disbursed in the same period last year. Fourteen domestic private banks also loaned a combined amount of Rs 33.16 billion in July-December, 2012 up by 36.84 percent as comp a r e d with R s
24.23 billion disbursed in the same period of the last fiscal year. Five microfinance banks including khushhali Bank Ltd., nRsP Microfinance Bank Ltd., the First Microfinance Bank Ltd., Pak Oman Microfinance Bank Ltd. and tameer Microfinance Bank Ltd. Disbursed agricultural loans amounting to Rs 8.25 billion during JulyDecember, 2012 as compared to Rs 5.50 billion disbursed in the same period of the last fiscal year. the state Bank has provisionally set an indicative agricultural credit disbursement target of Rs 315 billion to banks for the current fiscal year. However, experts believe that further steps are required for keeping up the rising momentum in crops and called for introducing less water consuming seed varieties. Encouraged by the farmers’ performance, the present government has also played its part for further encouraging the farming community to enhance productivity. the government has also announced increase in the wheat support prices from Rs 1,050 per 40 kg to Rs 1,250 per 40 kg against last year’s support price. they said due to climate changes and increase in temperature, water level was swiftly decreasing which was an alarming trend for agro-based economies. to overcome such issues and challenges, they stressed the need for introducing short duration, drought resistant, disease resistant and low water consuming varieties to fulfil the increasing demand for food in the country.
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BUSINESS B Monday, 11 February, 2013
BIOGAS — AN EMERGING ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY
nERGy plays an important role in the development of any society. it is the primary and universal necessity for all kinds of work ever done by human beings and nature. the rapid industrialization has led to increased use of fossil fuel such as coal, oil and gas to meet the power requirement, which results in depletion of natural resources. Due to increased demand and cost of energy, these resources are not sufficient and becoming more and more expensive. Presently, the country is facing major energy crisis that has seriously affected economic growth and development process. Prolonged load shedding is a routine matter and the reason is continuous decline in oil and gas reserves and vertical increase in prices. Deforestation and emission of hydrocarbon is a continuous threat on environment, considered responsible for ozone depletion. With the increasing fuel demand, available energy sources are not sufficient as being used rapidly. Emission of poisonous gas from burning of fossil fuel is also a major concern for the ecosystem and human health. in view of the prevailing situation it is necessary to get rid of these serious problems. For this purpose, alternate energy sources especially for rural community must be explored. it is becoming difficult for the Government to provide gas facility even in cities, what to talk of villages. Our country is rich in animal resources, water, construction material, ambient temperature and human resources. the increased power demand, depleting fossil fuel sources and increasing environmental pollution have led the world to think seriously for alternative sources of energy. the concept of alternative energy relates to the sustainable, renewable and pollution reducing energy. the available options for renewable energy in the country are nuclear, Wind, solar and Biogas. Use of renewable biomass as energy source, creates a balance to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels through replacement of fossil fuels. Biogas originates from bacteria in the process of bio-degradation of organic matter under anaerobic conditions. in the absence of oxygen, anaerobic bacteria decompose organic matter and produce a gas mainly composed of methane and carbon dioxide called biogas. this gas can be compared to natural gas, which contains more than 80% methane. Compared to other fossil fuels, methane produces less atmospheric pollutants and generates less carbon dioxide because it is comparatively a clean source of fuel. the trend has increased to use it for appliances, vehicles, industrial applications and power generation. analysis of biogas shows that it contain Methane 5075%, Carbon dioxide 25-50%, nitrogen 010%, Hydrogen 0-1%, Hydrogen sulphide 0-3%, and Oxygen 0-2%, quite nearer to the natural gas, having good combustibility. Faced with power and diesel shortages, farmers are not able to optimally benefit from water resource which is further deteriorated with increasing stress from climate change. Use of biogas is a good option to run the existing tube wells, which are presently using diesel oil. keeping in view this technological advancement and attractive financial breakthroughs it should be implemented in suitable villages to meet continuously increasing water requirements of agriculture. a typical biogas plant consist of a digester where the anaerobic fermentation
takes place, a gas holder for collecting biogas, and input-output units for feeding the organic matter and storing the effluent respectively, and gas distribution system. the fermentation of cow dung and farm waste in biogas plant in the form of slurry increase nitrogen, phosphorus and potash percentage. GEoGraPhical suitability of bioGas Plant: the process of organic material anaerobic digestion takes place in three main temperature ranges: from 10-25°C, from 30-37°C and from 48-55°C. the ideal temperature is between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius within the fermentation chamber, as this is the temperature range at which anaerobic bacteria are most active. if the temperature is too low, the process of fermentation will become slow; consequently biogas production will be reduced. Punjab is the most populous region with 56% of total population. Moreover, the central Punjab including Faisalabad, sargodha, Jhang, toba tek singh, sahiwal, Okara, Pakpatan, sheikhupura, Hafizabad, Mandi Bhauddin, khushab, Mianwali, Bhakar is considered to be the most potential area for installing biogas plants as these areas are temperate in nature. northern areas of the country are less temperate, so their suitability for installing biogas plants is low. the digested liquid manure coming out of the biogas plants would provide an excellent organic manure in which all the useful nutrients remain preserved (due to decomposition in the enclosed digester of the biogas
plant) for promoting environmentally sound eco-farming. Because the nutrients in the biogas digested liquefied manure gets mineralized, and is easily available to the crop. Moreover, this biogas digested manure, improves water-holding capacity of the soil, and acts as soil-conditioner, improving its fertility and building-up micro-flora in the soil (which might have lost due to excessive use of chemical fertilizers & pesticides. Due to the residual effect of the biogas-digested manure on the soil, its positive impact could also be observed in the next 1-2 crops as well. as the biogas-digested manure provides all the plant food, minerals and micronutrients, it produces healthy crops, due to which the attack of insects and disease is reduced substantially. as the inherent strength of the plants (crops) is developed, it increases the capability and capacity of crops to fight back the diseases and also to withstand under worst stress conditions and water shortage, as compared to the chemical fertilizer based crops. if the farmers are not able to use the biogas plant digested liquid manure immediately, they could use this liquid for making excellent scientific compost along with other locally available biodegradable wastes. the digested liquid manure would also promote making of compost faster, and all the nutrients of the manure will remain preserved when composting rather than letting it drythis compost could then be used during the crop seasons. in developing countries, the
production of biogas and bio-fertilizer holds the promise of substituting increasing amounts of imported fossil fuels and mineral fertilizers. On an economic scale, the importance of digested sludge as a supplementary source of fertilizer is gradually gaining recognition. as populations continue to grow, there is a corresponding increase in the demand for food, fertilizers and energy. in Pakistan, both the production and consumption of chemical fertilizers have been steadily expanding over the past decades. according to an estimate it is predicted that the national consumption of mineral fertilizers could be reduced by 30% through the use of digested biogas sludge as fertilizer that improves soil fertility and increased crop yield by 10-20%. Furthermore no smoke is produced by burning the biogas, residential area remained neat and clean and a germ free environment is available besides the economic advantages. Biogas is cheap, clean, soot free and extremely convenient cooking fuel. introduction of this technology to the rural community will help to mitigate the daily cooking problems of rural women, upgrade their living standard, improve the environment and slow down the migration to urban areas. Energy efficient devices can help to create a sustainable fuel system within the rural community and sustain the ecological balance of a region. alternative energy sources can provide local employment opportunities through construction, repair and maintenance of energy devices, or through the
sale of energy to local utilities. this technological advancement through further expansion in the rural community as necessity of life can save the living planet from environmental pollution. it is the dire need of the day that other resources must be explored for self sufficiency in energy as well as agriculture sectors. these days, the technique of producing biogas from agriculture, animal and domestic waste is getting popular throughout the world, to meet the energy crisis, shortage and increasing cost of fertilizers. Based on the quantity of gas produced and number of animals available, three different sizes of biogas plants are being designed. Plant size of 12 cubic meters for which 6-8 animals are required, can produce the amount of gas which is sufficient for 10 to 12 hours of domestic use. 30 cubic meter plant with 16-18 animals can produces gas for 24 hours for domestic use. similarly, 50 cubic meter size of biogas plant with 28 animals can produce domestic biogas for 24 hours and 8 to 10 hours tube well running. to facilitate the rural community for adopting the biogas technology and its promotion, Zarai traqiati Bank Limited has made it a loan able item for house hold & tube wells. the farmers, who have sufficient number of animals, can contact branches of Zarai traqiati Bank in their respective areas or may contact agriculture technology Department, head office islamabad (Phone no.051-2840872, 0301-5139165, Fax 051-2840848).
IMPROVING QUALITY ASSURANCE IN PAKISTAN’S DAIRY INDUSTRY ArSLAN AhMAD MAhAAr
HE dairy industry of Pakistan is a huge industry and the most common dairy product is milk. improving quality assurance in dairy industry of Pakistan is a need because Pakistan is still unable to create a market among foreign competitors because its products are still restricted to basic. Pakistan is said to be the 4rth largest milk producing country and the yearly production of Pakistan is 33 billion liters. it is said that 80% of the milk in Pakistan is produced by rural producers. the developing dairy industry of Pakistan is ideal for branded dairy products mostly in the urban areas because in urban
areas mostly branded and packaged milk are the ones which rule the market while there are few segments which use the loose milk supplied by “local gawala”. Quality assurance is not that much there as far as loose milk is concerned because of the conventional method of milking and handling of the milk does not protect the milk from germs. a lot of people are now aware of this fact so they now prefer packaged milk more as compared to loose milk. in packaged milk quality is insured as by using machines for milking. the machines used in milking are washed with chemical before and after milking is done. Even the milking glands of the animals are also washed to ensure better quality. Considering the current situation of Pakistan dairy sector i.e. major key players of
dairy business are importing cheap skimmed milk powder for their products; (this refers to the ahmed Faraz khan Column ‘Dairy farmers hit by milk powder processing’, nov 5, 2012) if this situation persists for quite long it would be very disastrous as the farmers might have to sell their animals to earn their livelihood and they will be permanently trapped in the circle of poverty. Quality plays a very crucial role in the dairy sector because the consumer of today’s modern era is very health conscious. so the businesses should focus on continuous improvement of their products quality. The writer is a student of School of Management, Forman Christian College University