FPCCI Emphasizes On Getting Full Benefits From CPEC Including Agriculture

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Karachi: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has urged the Planning Commission to a business plan through which would benefit Pakistan from China’s expertise in the agricultural sector.

FPCCI Standing Committee Head on Horticulture Exports Ahmad Jawad said that, “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) may open new doors of cooperation in the agriculture sector, which would help in transfer of technology pertaining to agro-chemicals, pesticides, seeds and fertilizers.”

He added that the size of the Chinese economy is bigger than Pakistan however it is not clear what the CPEC polices would be if agriculture is included? The gut feeling is that it should be left alone. The corridor is already very intrusive and there is general perception of dependency on China.

The membership of Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) provides Pakistan access to a larger market for exports and attracts more investments in the energy and infrastructure sector.

He said Pakistani kinnows, dates, mangoes, guavas, bananas green chillies, tomatoes and cauliflower and various other fruits and vegetables, have good potential in these countries once CPEC would be operational.

He said, “With the establishment of an agro-business development center, Pakistan would not be able to enter the Chinese market with finished agricultural products, besides adding more value to its own commodities.”

Chinese businessmen started negotiations with their Pakistani counterparts to also start the horticulture trade from 2017. Pakistan has the eye catching opportunity to promote its horticulture products through CPEC route on economical rates.

Though Pakistan produces precious fruits starting from Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) to Balochistan, there needs to be a setup controlled atmosphere (CA) stores where public private partnership mode along the CPEC routes can be facilitated to produce fresh exports especially in G-B and Balochistan.

Jawad suggested that setting up agro-business centers that may be developed on the way of Kashmore, Shikarpur, Jhal Magsi and Khuzdar, where a variety of agro-commodities are marketed. Also, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh and Rajanpur are potential markets for crops like wheat, pulses, cotton, sugarcane, rice and fruits such as mango, watermelon, besides vegetables, livestock and dairy.

Pakistan has not benefitted from free trade agreement signed between the two countries, but the Chinese have taken full advantage of the concessions they have gotten under FTA from Pakistan he added.