Pakistan and Iran on Thursday discussed matters relating to enhance relations in the field of agriculture between the two countries.
The matter came under discussion when Mehdi Honardoost, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran called on Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan in Islamabad Thursday.
Both Pakistan and Iran share a geographical border that provides an opportunity to facilitate trade in agricultural products.
There are certain issues in export/import of agricultural commodities between the two sides. Both countries signed an Agreement in 2005 for issuance of SPS Certificate for export of Pakistani mango and citrus to Iran.
The scope of the Agreement was enhanced with the visit of the Iranian Quarantine Experts in 2015 as the number of Hot Water Treatment (HWT) facilities were increased from three to sixteen.
Federal Minister said that both countries share a long border and we should exploit the potentials of this long border and should not miss opportunities which this border offers.
Honardoost told the Minister that that meat and livestock is Iran’s bigger demand and it imports from Latin America and Brazil and it costs them immensely and besides Iran is aware of Pakistan’s potential in the field and is more eager to import from Pakistan.
Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan told the Iranian ambassador that Pakistan has a state of the art meat processing plant in Karachi and it has potential to export to Iran the required quantity of meat and it is fortunately equipped enough to export meat to any country of the world.
The Federal Minister asked the guest that Iranian team could visit the remarkable meat facility in Karachi. It was also proposed in the meeting that through a mutual venture an abattoir could be started at Taftan border for ready and fresh meat through Pakistan.
The matter regarding Punjab Agriculture & Meat Company (PAMCO) was also brought into the notice of Iranian side, Iranian government has 15% to 16% shares of the company and currently no export benefit is secured through the company and Honardoost said that we are eager to talk on every forum at their side to benefit from Pakistan meat.
Federal Minister also proposed that relevant delegation could also meet Punjab agriculture Minister in this regard for further detail of the matter.
Mehboob Sultan told the Iranian ambassador that Pakistani mangoes are exported to different countries across the world up to the satisfaction of importing countries, Iranian reservations regarding hot water treatment plants for mangoes could be removed and suggested that Iranian concerned officials/experts could visit the plants and they would witness that these Plants are working with state of the art technology and mangoes thus exported meet all international standards.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan has more than 34 hot water treatment plants and processed fruit is exported as far as to Australia.
The minister suggested that both countries should mutually settle all issues related to Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures. And National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO) of both the countries should have frequent collaboration to amicably resolve the quarantine issues to promote bilateral trade.
Federal Minister Mehboob Sultan said that both countries could cooperate in innumerable ways and it is in the best interest of both the countries to enhance their interactions and expand trade volume.
The minister told the Iranian Ambassador that we hope that Iran restarts issuing transit permit(s); (stopped some 3-4 years ago) for Pakistani goods i.e. fodder, wheat straw, carrot and garlic to be exported through Iran to Russia, Kyrgazistan, Iraq, Behrain, Oman and UAE.
These products of Baluchistan were exported through shortest land route through Iran but presently due to the non-issuance of Transit permit to our exporters the goods have to be exported through sea route which is expensive, expansive and cumbersome and due to the complexities involved few exporters even get discouraged.
The ambassador told the minister he will communicate to concerned quarters in this regard. The Iranian Ambassador further said that the Iranian Supreme leader directed that “all the doors should be open for Pakistan.”
He also expressed their side’s desire regarding overseas farming, to which the Honorable Minister said that Pakistan side will look into the matter and if such option is available it would be communicated to the Iran.
Federal Minister Mehboob Sultan said that we could promote bilateral relations through tangible means: trade and business and this will discourage the smuggling through Pak-Iran border; which in turn would benefit both the states. Both the sides expressed their resolve of enhancing exchange of delegations for better understanding and settlement of issues.