ISLAMABAD - Canada and Tajikistan expressed on Wednesday their desire to increase volume of mangoes and rice import from Pakistan.

In separate meetings with Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan here, the Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour and ambassador of Tajikistan Jononov Sherali also agreed to coordinate concerted efforts for increasing the overall trade ties with Pakistan.

During the meeting, Mehboob Sultan said Pakistan could benefit from Canada to minimize post harvest losses of perishable food items, constructions of packing houses and cold storage equipped with state of the art technology, so that the fruit and vegetables may be saved from wastage and same may be exported.

"We can jointly work in establishment of pest and disease free areas across Pakistan, which will not only minimize the risk associated with our agro commodities export but will reduce the post-harvest cost of plant and plant material and this will give sound footings to Pakistan in international market," he added.

Mehboob Sultan said that both countries should jointly work for intensive cooperation in value addition of projects to increase the production of agro commodities based on general crop production practices and using scarce resources efficiently.

The Minister added: "We could jointly work on efficient plant breeding technologies to introduce pest and disease resistance and water use efficient varieties of crops for better production".

Canadian Ambassador said that Canada is eager to explore new areas of cooperation and she further said that we believe in scientific rigor and we support that any modification should not harm human beings or animals, Canada is always ready to share information.

The Ambassador said that canola is the major import of Pakistan from Canada and Pakistan imports worth $800 million agro products from our country. She further added that Canada is greatly benefiting from Pakistani Canadians who are contributing a lot in Canada.

Federal Minister expressed his desire that Canada must consider and proceed forward to open its market for Pakistani mangoes and rice which are of exceptional quality; currently Canada is exporting these food products from Mexico and Brazil. Canadian ambassador agreed to look into the proposed import from Pakistan.

Ms Wendy added that it is a tremendous opportunity between the two countries and we are cognizant of best practices which are conducive to human and environment friendly.

Meanwhile Ambassador of Tajikistan Jononov Sherali expressed his desire to enhance trade between the two countries as Pakistan produces world’s best kinnow and mangoes and Tajiks are eager to work on fruit production and Pakistani kinnows are already famous in Tajikistan.

He said that Tajikistan must consider the import of Pakistani mangoes as Tajikistan is already importing dairy products, sugar and potato from Pakistan.

Sherali said that Tajikistan is wary of “Shadow economy” which affects the trade between the two countries. He further said that if Pakistan exports its rice to these countries it would have no rival in the region and will rule the region.

The minister said that peace in Afghanistan would increase the volume of trade and we could do away with smuggling issues as well. He added that both countries enjoy great proximity in terms of culture and religion.

Mehboob sultan said: "As per the directions of Prime Minister we are going to revive and boost our agriculture and increase volume of our exports along with exploring new international markets. Hence we are more than eager to expand the volume of trade between friendly countries in the region".

The Tajik ambassador said that Tajikistan eyes to work on research and other joint ventures and said that there should be an exhibition of Pakistani mangoes in Tajikistan which could attract potential Tajik exporters.