ISLAMABAD: Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam on Monday stressed for exploiting untapped trade and investment opportunities existing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, particularly in fields of agriculture and livestock for promoting bilateral trade and investment relations.
Addressing the session on trade and investment opportunities in agriculture, food, livestock and mineral sectors in a two-day ‘Pakistan-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Forum 2020’, he said that existing Pak-Afghan trade volume was far below then its actual potential.
Pakistan’s export to Afghanistan was recorded at Rs three billion and imports Rs
one billion only, whereas the volume of Pak-Afghan transit trade reached to $ 5.6 billion, he added.
The minister said there was a dire need to enhance people to people contacts, exchange of research faculties, students and investors for mutually benefiting by sharing the knowledge and experiences of both the countries.
Fakhar Imam said the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan was striving to strengthen its relations with neighbouring countries, saying China Pakistan Economic Corridor Project was an example of it.
vThe multi-billion dollars development project with China had entered into the second phase, he said adding that it has seven components related to agriculture and livestock sectors development that would help in transforming the local agriculture sector.
He informed that work on on-farm water management in collaboration with China was in progress as the country was switching from flood irrigation to drip and sprinkle irrigation systems to save water.
Imam apprised the forum that Pakistan had harvested bumper crops of rice, sugarcane and maize during current Kharif season, besides abundant quantum of pulses also produced.
The minister said the development of phytosanitary labs to meet with international standards for enhancing exports of meat, meat products, fruits and vegetables required.
Speaking on the occasion, Commerce Minister of Afghanistan expressed the desire to learn form the experience of Pakistan to enhance its per-acre crop output of wheat and other crops.
He said many Afghan students were studying in several agriculture universities in Pakistan, adding that it would help share the knowledge and experiences for establishing research centres for the development of agriculture sector there.
He said Afghanistan has vast rangeland with huge potential of organic livestock farming and asked for rising livestock farms as joint ventures to fulfil the demand of organic meat.