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Monday May 20, 2024

Pakistan agricultural startups seek investment to boost farm sector

By Our Correspondent
April 21, 2024
Arif Nadeem, Chief Executive Officer of the Pakistan Agricultural Coalition (PAC). — PAC website
Arif Nadeem, Chief Executive Officer of the Pakistan Agricultural Coalition (PAC). — PAC website

LAHORE: Pakistan's first-ever agricultural startups are set to showcase their plans for attracting investment next week in a groundbreaking event, coupled with pitching some of the most promising innovative business ideas for developing the farm sector on modern lines.

The Pakistan Agricultural Coalition (PAC) will present its commercially scalable business models with a view to fueling growth in the agriculture sector of the country. The aim of the whole exercise will be to transform agriculture to increase exports, reduce imports, and improve farmer profitability, said Arif Nadeem, Chief Executive Officer of PAC, while talking to a group of journalists on Friday.

He added that leading businesses of the country will demonstrate their innovation and leadership in agriculture to all stakeholders, while keynote speakers will present on various topics at the two-day conference.

On the sidelines of the event, structured connections will be made between investors, farmers, start-ups, government entities, donors, experts, etc. Finally, for small agri-startups, Agri-Connections 2024 will feature ZarZaraat, a Shark Tank-style competition being held in collaboration with the Bank of Punjab,” said Kazim Saeed, Strategy Advisor to the Pakistan Agricultural Coalition.

He explained the 'Shark Tank-style' segment of Agri-Connections 2024 in line with the overall theme of the conference, which is to make it clear that the corporate sector of Pakistan is already investing in agriculture.

“Through the ZarZaraat segment of Agri-Connections 2024, our goal is to highlight that Pakistan has many exciting new ideas that can change the face of agriculture in the coming few years, given the right enabling environment and investment.

We received thirty-five applications within the deadline and, with the help and expertise of our Knowledge Partner A.F. Ferguson & Co., we were able to shortlist seven applications for our jury to review,” said Saeed.

“We hope that when these finalists pitch to investors at Agri-Connections 2024, the audience will realize that something significant is likely to materialize in Pakistan’s agriculture sector if any of the finalists receive funding.”

PAC chief Nadeem said that the conference is being organized by the Pakistan Agricultural Coalition (PAC), which was established in 2013 to transform Pakistan’s agriculture sector with a vision of making it private-sector-led, technology-driven, entrepreneurial, and globally competitive.

“PAC derives its strength from key industry linkages, public sector access, relationships with leading farmer organizations, and most importantly, its patrons, which are Pakistan's leading business groups and have a cumulative turnover of over $10 billion,” he said.

He added that PAC focuses on developing business models and fostering ecosystems that are conducive to the progress and growth of Pakistan’s agri sector.

“It does so by assembling relevant market players, piloting various models, and then developing them into commercial ventures. In addition to this core activity, PAC is also sought out by government, development organizations, and the private sector to advise on matters related to Pakistan’s agriculture sector,” said Saeed.