CPEC provides Pakistan a godsend to enhance its agriculture exports to China

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 1 (APP): Federation of Pakistan Chambers of
Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Regional Chairman on Horticulture Exports
Ahmad Jawad has said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provides
Pakistan a godsend to enhance its agriculture exports to China.
“China is the world’s largest importer of agricultural products and we
have to grab our due share through the revisit of FTA between two countries
which is mandatory for us,” he said in a statement issued here Friday.
Jawad said that in 2015, China imported $160 billion worth of
agricultural products. However, Pakistan’s share in these exports was
minuscule – less than half a percentage point – despite having a large
agrarian base and a shared border with China.
With a population of 1.3 billion people, China consumes almost $1
trillion worth of food every year, he said and added that with increased
urbanization and rising incomes, Chinese consumption patterns are also
changing, and demand for high quality imported food items is growing at a
pace much faster than population growth.
He said the domestic consumption is expected to grow by another $500
billion in the next 10 years.
According to FPCCI official, it takes about one acre of arable land to
feed an average US consumer. With present population, China only has about
0.2 acre per citizen, which is going to be far short of future requirements,
considering the evolving demand.
He said the world is therefore keenly focusing on China, with
international conglomerates and food giants making long-term China plans.
They expect the country is going to be the biggest growth driver in
future.
Similarly China, the world’s largest importer of vegetables, gets 50
of these imports from the US and Brazil.
“In the world of international trade, shorter distances can provide a
strategic advantage through lower transportation costs. But for perishable items like food, such proximity can translate into yet another edge. During transit over long distances, food items face higher risk of spoilage and contamination.
Because of this, not only additional cost is incurred for preservation
and packaging but often exporters have to make use of extra pesticides to
increase shelf-life of food.
“Pakistan, being China’s neighbour, therefore enjoys a unique
advantage and CPEC provides an unprecedented opportunity to capitalise on
that”.
Jawad further mentioned Agricultural development is one of the seven
areas of cooperation under CPEC, wherein China is specifically interested
to explore areas like cotton productivity, efficient irrigation and post-harvest infrastructure along the CPEC route.
The private sector and agri-entrepreneurs should become the
trailblazer and start exploring viable market opportunities in the Chinese
market and forge partnerships with international firms to get a foothold.