Chairman Regional Standing Committee of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) on Agriculture, Ahmad Jawad has proposed that agriculture sector should be included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In a statement issued here on Saturday, Ahmad Jawad while pointing out an absence of the government strategy for production and export of crops oriented towards China and Central Asian countries, emphasised on preparing a long-term plan.
He said that kinnow, dates, mangoes, guavas, bananas, green chillies, tomatoes and cauliflower, among other fruits and vegetables, have a good potential in these countries. The chairman Regional Standing Committee of FPCCI said that Pakistan missed the GDP growth target of 5.5 percent in last fiscal year and the CPEC offers a unique opportunity to fix our persistent problems in the infrastructure and energy sector and perhaps the agriculture sector as well. Attaining food security remains a big challenge for the government and adding the sector to the list of CPEC related projects would prioritize it and give it the attention that it requires.
Jawad said in addition, the membership of Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) would provide Pakistan an access to a large market for its exports, and attract investments in the energy and infrastructure sector. “However, there is a difference between Pakistan gaining new markets for growth, and Pakistani farmers having to exit the market due to Chinese competition on Pakistan soil”.
“It is not clear what the CPEC polices will be, if agriculture is included. The gut feeling is that it should be left alone. The corridor is already very intrusive, and there is a clear feeling of dependency on China”; he added. The chairman FPCCI Regional Standing committee also said the government, may take measures for overcoming the problems of farmers and exporters as well.
He also asked the PARC and other research institutes to apprise our growers of the research and experiences in other parts of the world, so that our farmers, exporters and economy should not suffer any loss. Jawad also urged planning commission to devise a thorough business plan so that the CPEC may open new doors of co-operation in the agriculture sector, which would help in transfer of technology pertaining to agro-chemicals, pesticides, seeds and fertilisers.