Business community calls for maximum cooperation with China in agriculture sector


KARACHI (INP): Pakistan can strengthen agricultural and food cooperation with China to maximize its export contribution. These collaborations can focus on niche products, partner on climate-resilient crops and drought-resistant technology, agritourism, private sector collaboration, which will deepen ties, diversify exports, and ensure long-term food security for both nations.

This was stated by Rafique Suleman, Convener FPCCI Rice Export Committee 2022-2023 and Ex Chairman, Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan.

In an exclusive interview with Gwadar Pro recently, Rafique Suleman pointed out that China and Pakistan boast of strong cooperation in agriculture and food, focusing on technology transfer, joint ventures, market access, knowledge sharing, which has helped strengthen Pakistan’s agricultural and food capacity and expand its exports.

The agriculture and food exports in Pakistan jumped by 64 per cent during the first half of the current fiscal year 2023-24 (FY24).

The official data showed the country’s total agriculture and food exports reached $3.847 billion during July-December 2023 against $2.345bn in the same period last year, an increase of $1.502bn in absolute terms.

Visibly, the country is relying more on agri-food to achieve higher growth in overall exports. It also helped reduce the trade deficit by 34.3pc to $11.14bn in the first half.

The country exported rice worth $1.64bn during the first half of FY24 against $841m in the same period last year, an increase of 96pc.

The rice exports may surpass the $3bn mark during the current fiscal year.

Commenting on the surge in Pakistan’s food exports including rice, Rafique Suleman lauded the outstanding performance of rice exports in the first half of this year, making it one of the top earners of the country.

He explained that long grain basmati and non-basmati rice of Pakistan is highly preferred by rice buying countries. Further, the prices in Pakistan are cost effective compared to other competitors.

Rafique Suleman added that by ensuing long-term soil health and resource management, investing in quality, technology, and marketing to stay ahead, Pakistan can maximize its potential, achieve sustainable export growth and solidify its position as a major rice exporter.

Pakistan’s rice and other agricultural exports to China are also promising, as China is a major food importer and offers great opportunity for diversified exports beyond rice, noted him.

He pointed out several agricultural and food products hold promising export potential for Pakistan besides rice.

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