FAISALABAD. CPEC is a golden opportunity for the overall development of this region and we should reorganize our agriculture sector to get a major share from $100 billion imports of agriculture produce by China, said Mr. Muhammad Mehmood Secretary Agriculture Punjab.
He was addressing a launching ceremony of a Study Report on CPEC-Prospects & Challenges for Agriculture’’. He said that one fourth population of the world lives in China alone and most of their exports will be routed through Pakistan in the coming year after the completion of CPEC. The containers full of exportable surplus will be sent to various international markets but on return back, these containers will be empty and we must exploit this opportunity to export our surplus agriculture produce to China. Continuing Mr. Muhammad Mehmood said that the per capita income of China is increasing substantially, bringing a visible change in their living style and food habits.
“Like other affluent societies, they also prefer rich and costly food and fruits”, he said and added that we must brace ourselves to get maximum benefit from this emerging change. He told that agriculture department of Punjab is fully aware of this situation and was taking necessary steps to harvest maximum benefits. “We are concentrating on high value crops and in this connection a 10 years comprehensive program has been evolved to develop one Lac Acre of land in Potohar region for the cultivation of grapes and other high value crops”, he said and added that major Chinese imports would also be invited to utilize this land for the cultivation of high value fruits in addition to developing agriculture processing sector on modern scientific lines. “Its trickling effects will provide an opportunity to our farmers to upgrade their technologies and develop agriculture as a profitable business by shunning century old practices”, he added.
He told that foreign consultants have been engaged to analyze that why Pakistan is unable to get its due share in Chinese imports despite of its friendly relations and close proximity. He said that we should renegotiate bilateral trade agreement and in this connection a meeting is expected during this or next month. After these meetings we would be in a position to decide that which strategy is suitable for Pakistan to enhance its shares in the Chinese imports. “I have already talked with commercial consular of China on this issue” he said and added that more deliberations are needed to finalize the renegotiated bilateral trade agreement.