Pak-China Economic Corridor will open up new avenues of co-operation in agriculture sector as it would also pave the way for transfer of technology pertaining to agro-chemicals, pesticides, fertilisers and seeds.
This was upshot of speeches delivered at the opening ceremony of 1st CAC Pakistan Summit jointly organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and CCPIT Sub-Council for Chemical Industry with the support of Punjab government here on Tuesday.
Provincial Minister for Agriculture Dr Furrakh Javaid, LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari, Vice-Chairman CCPIT Sub-Council for Chemical Industry Ma Chunyan, LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Tariq Misbah, Vice President Kashif Anwar, Chairman Standing Committees Sheikh Muhammad Arshad and Jawaid Saleem Qureshi were the main speakers.
There was consensus among the speakers that ‘Pak-China Hybrid Wheat Industrialization Co-operation Agreement’ would greatly help develop Pakistan’s agriculture sector through new varieties of seeds. Speaking on the occasion,
Provincial Minister for Agriculture Dr Furrakh Javaid said the CAC Summit and Exhibition is a unique opportunity for our agriculturists as it would enable them to learn about Chinese expertise in the agriculture sector. He said Chinese co-operation in all fields of the economy is matchless.
The Minister said the Punjab government is striving to educate the farming community as the research in agricultural field would remain useless if it does not reach the farmers. He said Punjab government is taking every possible step to strengthen agriculture sector that is evident from the fact that it has given flat rate of Rs 10.35 per unit for the tube wells.
He also expressed the resolve that a subsidy of Rs 14 billion for the agriculture sector would be disbursed after consultation with stakeholders so that the benefit could reach the quarters concerned.
Vice Chairman CCPIT Sub-Council for Chemical Industry Ma Chunyan said that trade of pesticide has an important role in the total two-way business of $12 billion. She said in 2013, pesticides amounting to $172 million were imported from China while import of fertilizer remained at $309 million.
Ma Chunyan said China is the largest exporter of pesticides chemicals as it exported 300 million types of pesticides in the year 2013. She said 2,400 Chinese enterprises are directly linked to this sector.
She said the Chinese co-operation with Pakistani agriculturists would write new success stories in coming years. She said the CAC Exhibition has in its fold chemical, machinery, seeds, pesticides and fertilisers, etc. She also thanked the Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif and LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari for extending unmatched support for the successful happening of this mega event.
The LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari in his address stressed the need for Public Private Dialogue as a pre-requisite to revolutionise the agriculture sector that holds the key to progress and prosperity. He said it is the only area where a little attention could do miracles as it does not need that amount of electricity required to run the industrial wheel.
He said Pakistan is the only country of the South Asia to have CAC exhibition that would certainly strengthen the country’s agriculture sector.
He also called for construction of water reservoirs as shortage of water may pose a serious threat to the agriculture sector in coming years. “This is white oil but, unfortunately, we are more focused on black oil instead of taking care of our future generations that are likely to suffer because of water shortage,” he said.
Chairman Standing Committee on Agriculture Jawaid Saleem Qureshi urged the government to form task force to deal with the regulatory and marketing issues of the agriculture sector. He said Punjab’s agriculture sector could generate extra revenue of over Rs 100 billion if agro-input prices are controlled.
He said the subsidy allocated for the agriculture sector could be utilised to provide cheaper fertilisers and pesticides to the farmer by paying GST to the government. Elaborating the point, he said if the government pays the GST on pesticides and fertilisers through the subsidy it would enable the farmers to have cheaper inputs.