Pakistan’s corporate sector has banded together to reinvigorate the country’s crippling agriculture sector by doubling cotton production and ramping up rice exports above $2.5 billion per year.
The Pakistan Agricultural Coalition (PAC) has brought together banks, insurance companies, fertilizer manufacturers, and food companies, among others, reported Express Tribune.
PAC Strategy Adviser Kazim Saed said during a media briefing on Monday that the country has to fix the agriculture sector to achieve food security, ensure import substitution, and increase exports of cotton, textile, and rice. He explained that Pakistan produces three major crops worth $12 billion per year: wheat, rice, and maize, but due to a lack of suitable storage capacity and supply chain issues, it suffers post-harvest losses of slightly more than 8 percent or $1 billion.
To meet the needs of the export-oriented textile industry, the country is forced to import cotton worth around $2 billion this year. Textile is the most important export sector, accounting for 60 percent of total export earnings.
Saeed said PAC has devised a plan to establish Pakistan’s first world-class cotton seed company, which will provide farmers with high-germination, high-yielding, highly pure, pest, and insect-resistant cotton seeds. The PAC executive said different varieties have nearly 100 percent purity, and their commercial-scale cultivation already hit 80,000 acres in 2022.
Rice makes up nearly 10 percent of Pakistan’s total exports. Last year, rice shipments totaled nearly $2.5 billion, but yields are still lower than the global average of 39 maunds per acre. In this regard, the PAC adviser informed that the agri coalition has been working to develop and implement a multi-year program to increase rice exports.
It bears mentioning that PAC has raised $2 million in equity for Naymat Collateral Management Company Limited which has entered into agreements with several banks to provide farmers with collateral-based lending services. Storage facilities have also been accredited, and Pakistan’s first electronic warehouse receipt has been issued.
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