KARACHI - ‘Pakistan’s share in the world’s agricultural and food exports depends on its ability to increase agricultural productivity, to identify strategic market opportunities, and to compete with other suppliers,’ said US Consul General William Martin in his opening remarks at the two-day’s workshop on Friday.

The US Government inaugurated a two-day workshop to help increase Pakistan’s agricultural exports. The workshop will bring together Pakistani government representatives, private business and farmers to discuss international standards for agricultural exports and identify ways for improved manufacturing, processing, and packaging of agricultural goods for international markets. The two-day workshops have been organised in Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta and Karachi.

“The US Government is committed to work with the people and government of Pakistan to unleash Pakistan’s potential for agricultural export growth.” Suhail Akbar Shah, Secretary, Agriculture Department, Government of Sindh; Mehboob ul Haq, Director, Investment Department, Government of Sindh; Daudpota, Director General, Agro Foods, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Karachi; and Junaid Mansoor, CEO, TradeKey also spoke at the opening of the Karachi workshop.

William Martin further said that the United States people, through USAID and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working hard to improve agricultural production in Pakistan and the country’s agricultural exports. We want to enhance overall economic growth, create jobs, and increase prosperity here.

As you know, nearly 2/3rd of Pakistan’s population is directly or indirectly linked to agriculture for their livelihood. The country has the world’s largest canal-based irrigation system. It is plan to see that a huge potential exists to increase the variety of agricultural products.  Regrettably however, this sector accounts only for 21 percent of Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product. Similarly, agricultural exports constitute less than 18 percent of the country’s total exports. It is unbelievable to me that Pakistan’s share in the world’s top five markets for agricultural goods is only point 1pc.  That is 1/10th of one percent.  These statistics show the tremendous potential for growth, both in agricultural production and in exports, US CG said.

‘We recognise that Pakistan’s share in the world agricultural and food exports markets depends on its ability to increase agricultural productivity; its ability to identify strategic market opportunities; and its ability to compete with other suppliers. We believe that this workshop and other United States Government projects will give Pakistan this ability’.

He adds, ‘Pakistan’s agriculture sector faces many challenges in its path to become a competitive supplier of food both domestically and internationally. The sector needs to upgrade its practices and technologies, improve quality control, diversify products, expand access to markets, and adopt international standards. But I believe that with strong leadership and commitment in both of the public and private sectors, these challenges will be overcome’.