Tapping potential for agri tradePakistan
THE low volume of trade between Pakistan and China is not reflective of the economic size of two neighbouring countries. This indicates there is a huge untapped trade potential in both countries, which can be utilised mainly to enhance welfare of the masses.
Due to shortage of arable land and freshwater resources in China, the country needs to import land-extensive crops (such as wheat and rice) to feed its population.
Further, with rising living standards, the Chinese demand for agricultural imports is gradually moving up, which is likely to create agro-based trade opportunities in countries having substantial potential in agriculture produce.
Pakistan can maximise its agricultural exports to China by improving production efficiency and quality
China’s demand for cotton yarn and rice imports is met by the emerging economies of Asia, such as Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand and India. However, the relative share of China’s import of these products has witnessed some changes recently.
Keeping in view the fact that agriculture sector accounts for around 20 per cent of Pakistan’s GDP and employs over 40pc of the country’s labour force, both Pakistan and China have agreed to enhance cooperation on agriculture under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Various agricultural projects have been initiated to get maximum benefit of the CPEC initiative, which include:
Fruit processing industry in Gilgit-Baltistan: The climate and fertile soil of Gilgit-Baltistan offer ideal environment for producing fruits like apples, peach, cherries, almonds, apricot, etc. According to an article published by the Asian Development Bank, farmers in Gilgit-Baltistan produce over 100,000 tonnes of fresh apricots a year. Setting up the fruit processing industry in the region would help boost the country’s fruit exports.
Sino-Pakistan Hybrid Rice Research Centre at Karachi University: Both countries have recently initiated research to produce high-yielding and high-quality rice. Setting up a rice research centre is a right step towards achieving the objective.
Meat production and processing facilities in KP: Setting up of meat production and processing facilities in KP would help increase Pakistan’s meat exports to China, as well as, to Afghanistan and Central Asian market.
KP-China Sustainable Donkey Development Programme: To increase the donkey population in Pakistan so as to ensure interrupted backward supply for export of live animals and raising income of donkey breeders and traders.
— SBP staff notes: ‘Dynamics of Pakistan’s trade balance with China’
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, October 16th, 2017