The Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said Sunday said that agricultural zones along China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route could help Pakistan produce products to be exported to China to fetch $12 billion annually. China is importing agricultural products worth $111 billion annually including $25 billion soybean oil and by-products in which Pakistan can get a reasonable share.
“All the provinces should consider establishing agro-economic zones along CPEC route to produce high-value agricultural products that can be exported to China while Chinese investors can also be lured into it”, said Atif Ikram Sheikh, Chairman FPCCI Regional Committee on Industries. He said that funds should be allocated for the purpose while guidance should be sought from the province of Punjab which was best suited for it. Atif Ikram Sheikh said that such zones should become successful if provision of ample water through harvesting rainfall and other resources was ensured.
Moreover, provision of quality seeds, pesticides, and urea should also be guaranteed. Proper cold storage and warehousing facilities, olive oil extraction and solar dehydration of vegetables should also be promoted, he said. Peanuts, grapes, olive, citrus, mango, citrus, tomato, guava, strawberry, potato were some of the items which are in great demand in China, he informed. He said that overall agricultural system should be modernized so that country could start exports which can jump to fifteen billion dollars in few years.
At the time of partition share of agriculture in the GDP was 51 percent which has now reduced to 21 percent while the population has jumped from 32 million to around 200 million, he observed. He demanded that agricultural insurance system should be improved while banks should be forced to finance communities dependent on agriculture so that they could be saved from clutches of middlemen.