Agri zones along CPEC can fetch 15 billion dollars annually: FPCCI

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ISLAMABAD, Jun 18 (APP): The Federation of Pakistan Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) said Sunday said that agricultural
zones along China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) route could help
Pakistan produce products to be exported to China to fetch $12
billion annually.
China is importing agricultural products worth $111 billion
annually including $25 billion soybean oil and by-products in which
Pakistan can get a reasonable share.
“All the provinces should consider establishing agro-economic
zones along CPEC route to produce high-value agricultural products
that can be exported to China while Chinese investors can also be
lured into it”, said Atif Ikram Sheikh, Chairman FPCCI Regional
Committee on Industries.
He said that funds should be allocated for the purpose while
guidance should be sought from the province of Punjab which was best
suited for it.
Atif Ikram Sheikh said that such zones should become
successful if provision of ample water through harvesting rainfall
and other resources was ensured. Moreover, provision of quality
seeds, pesticides, urea should also be guaranteed.
Proper cold storage and warehousing facilities, olive oil
extraction and solar dehydration of vegetables should also be
promoted, he said.
Peanuts, grapes, olive, citrus, mango, citrus, tomato, guava,
strawberry, potato were some of the items which are in great demand
in China, he informed.
He said that overall agricultural system should be modernised
so that country could start exports which can jump to fifteen
billion dollars in few years.
At the time of partition share of agriculture in the GDP was
51 percent which has now reduced to 21 percent while the population
has jumped from 32 million to around 200 million, he observed.
He demanded that agricultural insurance system should be
improved while banks should be forced to finance communities
dependent on agriculture so that they could be saved from clutches
of middlemen.