ISLAMABAD: President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari on Saturday said that agricultural sector can play a very key role in increasing exports, reducing imports and achieving sustainable economic growth in the country.
He expressed these views, while talking to the members of the Agro Committee of the Chamber, which met him under the chairmanship of the Convenor Committee Chaudhry Sohail, said a press release.
In the last one year, the trade deficit has reduced from $17 billion to $3 billion because of measures taken by the government, he said adding that in order to completely eliminate the deficit, attention should be paid to increase the export of fruits, vegetables and other agricultural commodities.
He said that the promotion of research is necessary to increase the efficiency of the agricultural sector and urged the government to mobilize embassies to promote Pakistani products to new markets of the world.
Being an agrarian economy, agriculture is the lifeline for Pakistani economy, he said adding that Pakistan achieved a record production of 27.5 million tons of wheat this year despite the devastating floods.
Similarly, Pakistan ranks fifth with 88.7 million tonnes of sugarcane output, 10th with 9.3 million tonnes of rice, 20th with 10 million tonnes of maize, 5th with 2.3 million tonnes of mango and sixth with 2.1 million tonnes of onion production, he remarked.
Pakistan should take steps to take its agricultural products to traditional as well as non-traditional markets, focusing on Central Asian countries, he added.
For the agriculture sector, the results of the Prime Minister Kisan package given by the government have been seen this year in the form of record production of wheat, he said and urged the government to not only extend this package but also increase the incentives.
He said that like other industries of the country, the fruit and vegetable industry is facing problems due to high production cost.
Fruit orchards in Pakistan have become very old, which has affected the production and on the other hand, due to the decline in quality, there are problems in exports, he added.
He urged the government for allocating funds for cold storage development, besides provifing electricity on affordable prices for the cold storage industry.
Speaking on this occasion, Convener Agro Committee Chaudhry Sohail said that we want to take steps to increase the export of fruits and vegetables from this region through the platform of Islamabad Chamber.
He urged the government for ensuring the exhibitions of the agricultural sector at the local and international level.
He said that this sector is facing severe shortage of cold storage, cold storage and warehouses and urged the need to built such facilities at all airports for the storage of Pakistani agricultural commodities. (APP)