Economic profile of Okara


2009-10 to 2013-14

Prior to initiate submitting about the performance review report of Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI) for the last five years, it is deemed essential that the geographical and historical existence of Okara District in lieu to its significance as an important Trade Area which would help to prove its inestimable and integral importance as a God gifted Naturally enriched land based for enormous chances for enhancing Trade, Commerce, Industry and other commercial activities. A brief view of the same (Economic Profile) is as under:-



OKARA is an important city in the Pakistan Province of Punjab. Its situated on a green belt of land of three (3) rivers i.e; rivers Ravi, Sutlej and Biyas. Its northern hem is annually inundated by the river Ravi and in the south river Sutlej irrigates its soil.
Universally and traditionally there were clumps of “Okaan” trees at this place. This name from a desire apparently involved a Bungalow i.e; “Okaanwala”. With the passage of time Okaanwala turned and known as OKARA.
Its located 130 K.M away south west to the city of Lahore and also known as
MINI LAHORE. If tradition is to be believed with a pair of compasses, its latitude is 30.40 feet north, its longitude is 73.10 feet east and approximate height above Sea level is alleged to be 500 feet. The uncultivated tracts of the district are known as Ravi Bar, Ganji Bar and Nili bar.


District Okara is spread over an area of 4887 Square KM. District has hot climate in summer and cold in winter. Maximum temperature is 44 C to 48 C in May – June while Minimum temperature is 0o C to 2o C in January. The average annual rain fall in the district is 270mm.


Okara possesses most fertile land in the sub-continent even in pre-partition time. Okara abounds with blessing of nature. The soil of the district is generally of good quality. Saline tracts are rare. Water is generally sweet and near the surface the level of which now going down due to natural change of the land. A considerable portion of land of the District is under cultivation.


OKARA is fairly LARGE DISTRICT IN PAKISTAN in terms of population. According to 1998 census the total population of Okara district was 2282 thousand persons, Out of which 1187 thousands male, 1095 thousands female. Density of population in the District is 510 persons per square K.M. approximately latest number of total population is more than 3.50 million persons.

Map of District Okara




The History of this area is 3000 B.C remained war land of Turk, Arabs, Lodhi, Tughliqs, Mangols, Mughal Emperors, Marhattas, Sikhs, Hindu’s and later on also ruled over by Rajpoots till 1770 and then occupied by British in 1849. This area of land was raided by European and the Middle Asian INVADERS Just because it was situated in the ways of these areas which were rich, advanced and Geographically Politically, and militarily central cities of the sub-continent, and it was only because of those brave and freedom fighters who stopped Alexander the Great to advance in this Area and he had to go back defeated from this area of land.
This District has a PRIDE OF BEING MOST PROSPEROUS area where valorous people like Rai Ahmad Khan Kharl including Mehar Murad Fatiana and many other brave people fought against the British and defeated the British at a number of places in the freedom movement. History speaks there freedom fighters who were few in number and they put to death Lord Burkely and his fifty soldiers. Later on Rai Ahmad Khan Kharl had martyrdom at NEAR GOGERA the hand of British during freedom movement of 1857. There were some large Villages of considerable historical interests.


Hujra Shah Muqeem (Depalpur Tehsil) was the Head Quarters of a Tehsil in the time of Maharaja Rangit Singh and is said to had been founded by Hazrat Shah Muqeem, the grandson of HAZART MIRAN BAHAWAL SHER QALANDER. said to had migrated to the banks of the byes from GILAN in the time of AKBAR BADSHAH. Moza Akbar (a small town of Okara city is named after the name Akbar the GREAT (Mughal)


Okara has also many historical places & buildings like Satghara, (remained the capital during the period of Baluch leader MIR CHAKER RIND), Gogera, Depalpur, Head Sulemanki, Haveli Lakha, Basirpur, Mandi Heera Singh (Now Ahmadabad) Moza Akbar, Bhuman Shah and Hujra Shah Muqeem are the famous towns of Okara.


GOGERA had been the District Headquarters during the British rule (10 miles away to north of Okara city).


Okara is beautiful gorgeous city is often called Mini Lahore by tourists while the town of okara are a part of ancient history. Okara district is also called more ancient than Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Pakpattan, Khanewal and Kasur Districts etc, as the great Muslim saints including Hazrat Muhammad Ismail Shah Bukhari Alias HAZRAT KARMANWALA SHARIF of Okara, HAZART MIRAN BAHAWAL SHER QALANDER, HAZRAT SHEIKH MUHAMMAD BARI of Hujra Shah Muqeem, HAZART DAOOD BANDGI KIRMANI, HAZRAT MUHAMMAD ALI SHAH ABBAS of Sher Gharh, HAZRAT MUHAMMAD GHOUS, Hazrat Molana Ghulam Ali Okarvi, Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi Okarvi of Okara, Hazrat Molana Naeem Ullah Noori Naeemi, Hazrat Sain Abdul Razaaq and Mir Chakar Rind Baluch are the principal show places of Great Muslim Saints at Okara, where a number of BIG FAIRS are held annually and thousands of pilgrims are entertained by the Sajjada Nashin’s.


OKARA is a FAMOUS DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS far-thickly populated than that of Sahiwal and all surrounding / neighboring districts headquarters i.e; Pakpattan, Vehari, Khanewal, Bahawalnagar and District Kasur etc. It bounded on the East by Kasur and Sahiwal & Pakpattan on the west. District Sheikhupura and Faisalabad districts are on the north and Bahawalnagar, Vehari on the south. It consists of three big Tehsil Headquarters i.e; Tehsil Depalpur (including Hujra Shah Moqeem, Mandi Ahmadabad, Haveli Lakha and Mandi Basirpur) Tehsil Renala Khurd consisting Akhtarabad, Shergarh Town, Jaboka Town, Bamabala and Kissan Kohla Lasharian etc while Tehsil Headquarters Okara includes Okara City Gamber, Okara Cantonement, Young Pur, Fatehpur, Bilipur, Moza Akbar, Bahadarnagar Farms and famous Satghara and Gogera Towns etc.

In 1925 Sir Ganga Ram a civil Engineer and leading philanthropist of his time established Renala Hydal Power Station having capacity of 1 M.W situated on canal Lower Bari Doab about 10 kilometer away from Okara City which one may visit operational. It was established Municipal Board in 1937 and up graded to the level of Municipal committee in 1945 when it was considered Richest Municipal committee of the Punjab Province. in 1982 the city become the headquarters of the newly created Okara District.
Okara is situated on the Grand Trunk Road (G.T. Road) of the sub-continent and of the National Track of Pakistan Railways (PR) since 1892. Both Tracks of Road and Railway leads from Torkham to Gawadar and Quetta. The Indian Border also lies on the South-Eastern side of the District. Almost simultaneously, the track of northern western railway was also laid beside this inhabitation. The Okara Military Dairy Farms was already running here on about 22000 acres of land. A large number of Textile Mills are located in Okara. The Birla monument, the biggest Textile Mill’s of at least Asia was installed here as Sutlej Cotton Mills. The green fields around main inhabitation hand made this town a ROSE BUD heading out of hush. About 10 Cotton Ginning and Pressing factories along the railway track were profuse earning since pre-partition. The biggest cantonment of the country, i.e. Okara Cantonment is situated here and 70% of military dairy farms and dairy factories have been working here. An International recognized quality food processing industry namely Mitchell’s Fruit Farms also exist here.

1. The biggest Military Dairy Farms of Pakistan has been running here in about 22000 acres of agriculture land.
2. The Birla Monument the biggest textile mills of at least Asia was established/Installed here as Sutlej Cotton Mills, Okara.

THE ERA OF ITS JOURNEY TOWARDS ZENITH started when the British govt in India dug-up the lower Bari Doab Canal (LBDC) from the river Ravi, and in the in-habitation of Okara set-in growing in the lap of LBDC. Okara city was established in Nineteenth Century. Okara was declared as Notified Area Committee in 1918, which had provided slaughter House, Meat & Vegetable Markets, Hospitals, Schools, High Schools, Gents & Ladies Parks and a Town Hall.


Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI) is endeavoring to play its pivotal role as a major stakeholder of the country through assisting the concerned Government Departments Ministry of Industry and Board of Investment & Trade and the concerned Ministry for promotion of local and foreign investment for enhancement of private sector’s role in Industrial improvement in the operational environment of doing business should be a matter of top priority. At present there is more than 450 industrial units of heavy productive industry are in working. It is mentionable here that the manufacturing activities here still lingers around that traditional low quality and low value added industry hence it is recognized that sustainable improvement climate are the driving force behind growth, productivity with the member’s companies and think for the betterment of the business environment of the District.

With the passage of time industry of all types have been established in Okara. Furthermore, heavy productive industry is rapidly increasing in the area including Vegetable Oil & Ghee, Papers and / Board Mills, Packaging Industry, Sugar Mills,  Electronic Appliances ( including refrigerator, Air- conditioned, Deep freezer industry etc) Cotton & Textile, Surgical Cotton, Feed Mills, Flour Mills, Rice & Processing Mills, Environmentally protected poultry houses, export quality Crockery product manufacturing, services and professional Associations have also been developed in Okara. At present, about 250 environmentally protected Poultry Houses have since been established.

Present set up of industrial development is appended below.

  Industries 2011 2013
1 Sugar Mills 2 2
2 Cotton & Textile Mills 13 17
3 Vegetable Oil & Ghee Mills 2 4
4 Paper and Board Mills 2 4
5 Poultry Feed Mills 4 5
6 Flour Mills 6 8
7 Electronic / Electric Appliances 2 2
8 Dairy Products 3 3
9 Food Industry 6 6
10 Confectionary 19 20
11 Cotton Ginning & Pressing 29 27
12 Cotton Waste 8 9
13 Surgical Cotton/ Bandages 29 32
14 Dairy Farms 2 7
15 Rice Processing Units 13 16
16 Rice Mills (due to Power crises about 30 Rice Mills are partially in working) 122 124
17 Seed Processing 2 4
18 Foundry 22 30
19 Agriculture Implements 42 42
20 Unani (Herbal) Medians 3 4
21 Environmentally Protected Poultry 188 248
22 Soap/ Detergent 21 22
23 Sewing Machine 4 4
24 Ice Factory & Cold Storage 150 150
25 Shoe Manufacturing 49 51
26 Petrol Pumps 12 12
27 C.N.G Station Nil 11
28 Hatchery Nil 01

A detailed list of important industrial units is attached containing 20 Pages.



Rice, Maize & Potato are the main traditional products of Okara District. Okara is considered as HUB of Par Boiled Rice as well.

“Analyzing the level of production of Potato and Maize, Okara leads not only other Districts and Provinces in its 70% of total Potato and Maize produce in the country but also it equals in both Agriculture yields with India. Both these products have gained a traditional status for Okara District as in the Top Agriculture list as a Yield producing and profit raising areas of the Sub-Continent”.


Being the land of farmers, its milk production is at No. 4 in the world. Poultry, Environmentally protected protein Farms, Cattle, Fish Farming and Gardening have been the ride businesses of the farmers ever since. The yield of Maize, Potato, Sugar-cane, rice, wheat, vegetables here shies eastern Punjab in India.

As already stated Okara has fertile land with enormous potential in agriculture yield. It meets the major food requirements of all kind of grains, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, meat, beef, poultry and confectionary. The yield of maize, potato, sugar-cane, rice, wheat, vegetables here shies Eastern Punjab in India. The district-wise production of Potato and Maize, Okara leads not only all other districts but also provinces with its contributions bout Agriculture equal to 70% of the total yield and it also equals in both agriculture produce with Indian Eastern Punjab. Maize for which Okara District is in the top agriculture produce list, the Region is used to manufacturing Cooking oil (Corn oil). Thus both of the Agriculture produce have gained a traditional status for Okara, and also are in the top Agriculture list as a yield producing and profit raising areas of the sub-continent. Its grain Market was planned and constructed for before of the partition. Is one of the biggest grain market of the sub-continent too.


It is an admitted fact that par boiled rice of Okara is considered best rice in the world and Par-boiled Rice is one of the major traditional product of Okara which production has so much potential to compete the best from any other country of the world. Okara district has more than 130 Rice mills and Rice Processing Plants producing the best

Par-Boiled rice and earning huge foreign exchange and significantly contributing towards economy of the Pakistan. A huge amount has been invested in this industry of the Area, which is not only providing Staple Food to the nation but also earns a major part of foreign exchange of the national exchequer. Okara is called “HUB” of the Par-Boiled industry. A number of Rice Mills Owners member companies of Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI) have been exporting (Par-Boiled Rice) to various countries in the world including United Kingdom (UK), Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (Middle East), Central Asian States, Iran, Afghanistan, Mauritius etc. THE RICE EXPORT FROM OKARA HELPS TO ENSURE WIDE SPREAD GROWTH OF THE COUNTRY ECONOMY. The Development and upgrading of existing Par-Boiled rice industry by restructuring this sector providing requisite facilities and services across the rice industry through enhancing competitiveness innovation and research as well as to promote technology development, stream lining, acquiring and up gradation across rice industry value chain.

According to the Objectives of the OCCI, it is facilitating for establishment of modern latest technological industry and development of the whole industrial sector through special initiative and strategy working group formulation such as,

Program of improvement and progress of rice export sector for which

  1. Recognition of Rice industry as “INDUSTRY”.
  2. Upgradation and promotion of existing more than 140 rice mills through latest and modern technology use.
  • Establishment and Development of Rice processing plants of modern technology.
  1. About 15000 MT Par-Boiled had been exported from Okara by the member companies of the OCCI to various countries in the world during the year 2012-13.

District-wise comparative statement of Rice Production Area Sown (in Thousand Hectares)

 Area Sown Under Rice

Name of District Year 2010-11 Year 2011-12 Year 2012-13
OKARA 122 111 125
SAHIWAL 27 21 20
PAKPATTAN 47 40 41


District-wise Rice (cleaned) Production (Thousand Tons)

Name of District Year 2010-11 Year 2011-12 Year 2012-13
Okara 287 256 288
Sahiwal 55 36 35
Pakpattan 115 91 95


A huge quantity of Par-Boiled rice that is 52000 ton had been exported to Middle East, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Canada, Iran and Afghanistan by the member companies of the OCCI during the last two years.


At present, Pakistan potato is the fourth most important crop with the respect to its production. The share of Punjab in terms of area cultivated of potato is 88%. Province wise in production major contributor was Punjab with share on 94.79%. Share of Okara District in total potato area in the Punjab province was found to be 24.24% with a share of production of the potato is more than 47 % as compared with the whole province.


During the last two years 2011-12 and 2012-13 a heavy quantity of potato and its processed products had been exported to Central Asian States by the member companies of the OCCI.


Maize ranks with “WHEAT” and “RICE” which consider as one of the worlds chief grain. Maize is also known as “CORN”. Maize is the most important raw material for industrial starch. It is a major crop used to make food, Animal feed and Industrial products. This is the only variety to be considered for cornstarch manufacturing. Now a day, the finished Corn Oil finds uses as food and cooking oil. Refined corn oil has a pleasant taste and does not develop off-flavors in cooking and frying. The high content of polyunsaturated fats is a nutritional. Maize production in Okara has increasing and guessed as 1.87

million tons in 2009. The adoption/cultivation of spring maize has significantly been increased especially since the active involvement of multinationals in Pakistan, which accounts for 12.50% of the total area and almost 30% to 35% of the total annual production. An annual increase of 20% to 25% in the maize are during spring has been observed, which is mainly because of very good yield (6.8 tons/ha). In brief, spring maize is one of the success stories in Pakistani agriculture. It is mentionable that the markets are not stable and have uncertainty due to lack of drying and grain storage facilities, as a result, maize grain in poultry feed is one of the increase in the area i.e, is up to 60% in 2009. In brief Rice, Potato and Maize are the most profitable, stable a dependable agriculture crops of Okara District which have vast scope of raising sustainable industrial development/progress in this area.

District-wise RABI CROPS of MAIZE

Name of District Year 2010-2011 Year 2011-12

(000 Hect.)


(000 Tonnes)


(000 Hect.)


(000 Tonnes)

Okara 32.3 172.6 113.3 810.3
Pakpattan 39.6 157.5 94.8 650.1
Sahiwal 30.3 176.0 72.1 526.0



According to final estimate of Sugarcane crop in the Punjab, 2012-13, the area is placed at 1897 thousand acres (767.67 thousand hectares) as compared to 1881 thousand acres (761.20 thousand hectares) planted previous year. Growers almost retained acreage in main growing districts due to low return of Cotton (Competitive crop).Share of Okara in production of sugarcane as compare with the adjacent districts is given as under:

Final District wise Estimate of Sugarcane Crop for the Year 2012-2013

Name of District Year 2011-2012 Year 2012-13

(000 Hect.)


(000 Tonnes)


(000 Hect.)


(000 Tonnes)

Okara 17.40 858.65 14.16 696.29
Pakpattan 4.45 234.03 3.64 189.8
Sahiwal 8.50 403.67 7.28 343.98



From E Date Value Quantity (Unit) Total     (Cartons)
07-Jun 2014 P    89760 240              MT 6000               Bags
05-Apr 2014 $    176850 235.8           MT 11790             Bags
22-Mar 2014 $    291500 578.5           MT 28935             Bags
11-Mar 2014 $    391050 711.0           MT 35550             Bags
11-Mar 2014 $    130350 237              MT 11850             Bags
20-Dec 2013 $    570, 950 716.625       MT 19885             Bags
19-Dec 2013 $    202980 238. 8          MT 11940             Bags
12-Dec 2013 $    215865 239.85         MT 6330               Bags
21-Nov 2013 $    101935 119.925       MT 2655               Bags
21-Nov 2013 $    101935 476.075       MT 73375             Bags
18-Nov 2013 $    404660 119.925       MT 2665               Bags
17-Oct 2013 P    59615 118.35         MT 2630               Bags
17-Oct 2013 $    81985 118.35         MT 2360               Bags
09-Oct 2013 $    197710 232.6           MT 5815               Bags
22-Oct 2013 $    101745 119.7           MT 2660               Bags



There is village namely Thatta Ghulam Ka Dheroka a place where Rai Ahamd Khan Kharl broke famous Jail during Freedom Movement 1857 and British extra Assistant Commissioner (Lord) Berkley was defeated and killed by resilient locals. The unique claim of the village to internal fame is the dolls & toys made by village women that are collectors delight all over the world. Dolls made in the village have travelled to international Dolls Museum in Amsterdam and also have been put on display “Theme-Park” at Expo 2000 in Hanover (Germany) as one of the 767 world wide projects an example of thinking for 21st Century. Earlier, the dolls participated in International Toy Fair in Hamburg. These dolls show culture goals beyond simple work of art and become collaboration among applied and natural sciences as well as other forces that affect our lives.


In pursuance of the constant efforts of the Okara Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI) and as a result of activities and business plan of the office-bearers and members of the OCCI a comprehensive quantity of Chicken Industry has been increased rapidly during the last three years in Okara District. At present more than 250

Environmentally Protected Controlled Sheds (Proteins Farms) are operational and producing huge quantity of 22.1 Million Kg Chicken per month. This area has great potential to attract foreign investment for promotion and development of protein farm industry by establishing modern chicken processing and packaging plants/industries like K & N’s. In this regard the OCCI has completed a Study and various investors have been contacted for the purpose. As soon as the Agro-Industrial Park is set up, these industries could be established there.