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June 3, 2018

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Government’s policy measures to boost agri sector under CPEC

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Food Security and Research has evolved comprehensive policy measures for the development of agriculture sector under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to boost exports of agricultural products, enhance per acre yield of major crops, and produce high-tech value-added products of international standards, sources said on Saturday.

The measures are part of the first-ever "National Food Security Policy" announced by the ministry last week.

Under the policy measures, the ministry will prepare feasibility reports of tradable commodities for each subzone along the corridor, and will do pilot testing of rural businesses for the identified commodities and coordination for development of business zones along the corridor, the sources said.

They said the government will also arrange a series of training programmes aimed at capacity building of rural entrepreneurs and agricultural service providers.

Similarly, innovations for quality production, post-harvest handling and processing will be introduced and investment portfolios will also be developed for public private partnerships to promote rural businesses.

Business models will be developed to promote value-added agriculture all along CPEC route, whereas special focus would be given on modern production and market infrastructure development for grain and fruit crops, fisheries, livestock and livestock products.

China is second largest importer in the world with overall imports of $1966 billion, including food imports worth over $100 billion, the sources said.

Pakistan’s share in Chinese imports is only $2.93 billion, while in food imports, the Pakistani share is only around one percent.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has provided an opportunity to increase trade on the principles of complimentary advantages and mutual benefits, they added. The key areas for agricultural, economic and technical cooperation between China and Pakistan will be determined by fully considering the comparative advantage and cooperation needs, they said.

The sources also said there will be an opportunity to produce high-tech value-added agricultural produces at international standards for different potential markets. The commodities that can be potentially exported to China included cereals, dairy eggs, honey, live animals, tobacco, and meat.

The CPEC crosses through the nine agro-ecologies, and On the basis of these agro-ecologies, the corridor is divided into nine sections, each of which possesses distinct opportunities for establishing zones along CPEC in collaboration with the Chinese counterparts that can help achieve food sovereignty, benefiting farmers and rural communities, smarter food production and yields, biodiversity conservation, sustainable soil health and cleaner water, ecological pest management, and resilient food systems, the sources added.

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