CPEC & food security

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AS Pakistan has started facing critical shortage of wheat, sugar and some other agricultural products, officials have expressed the confidence that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will help address the looming food security challenge of Pakistan by introducing modern farming to enhance the country’s yield through agricultural cooperation.

Secretary Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, told Xinhua news agency in an interview that as a part of improving food security, this year more investment is being made in the water and agriculture sectors to increase our yield … all these sectors are strengths of China, which has shown great performance and productivity.

Despite the fact that China has the world’s largest population and only 7% of the world’s cultivable land, it has been able to feed its population – thanks to the agricultural development and growth sparked by reforms carried out since 1978.

In the 1990s, China’s agriculture and rural economy faced unprecedented difficulties and challenges but now China leads the world in output of grain, cotton, oil plants, fruit, meat, eggs, aquatic products and vegetables.

Experts say that China has made notable progress over the years in the modernization of the agriculture sector, having enhanced productivity while focusing on quality yield.

Pakistan has a lot to learn from the Chinese experience for the growth of its agriculture sector as harsh weather, unscientific farming systems and expensive inputs have marginalized the sector, which resulted in food insecurity in the country.

Luckily, China has repeatedly expressed its willingness to share its experience and transfer technology and know-how to Pakistan to help the country exploit the maximum potential of its agriculture sector.

It is a fact that Pakistan is one of the largest producers of milk, vegetable and fruit, but a huge chunk of it goes wasted due to the unavailability of processing units and the supply chain.

Agricultural cooperation under CPEC will further enhance value addition processing to help more Pakistani products meet the international standards.

It is for the relevant ministries and departments to analyze the situation and formulate plans for concrete cooperation between Pakistan and China in the agriculture sector but the two countries need to work together in the fields of seed technology, agricultural material and machinery, agricultural product processing and supporting service systems to promote the transformation and upgrading of the agriculture sector.

Per acre yield in Pakistan is much lower than China and introduction of high quality seed, technology and best agricultural practices could bring about a fundamental change in the overall situation.

Cooperation in the field of modern agricultural equipment, seed industry, food processing and storage and animal and plant disease control has already helped improve the quality and production of various valuable crops and livestock products in Pakistan but the scope and magnitude of the cooperation needs to be expanded significantly in view of growing shortage of food items.

 

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