ISLAMABAD - In order to expedite export-led value chain development for employment and growth, Pakistan needs to organise dairy, horticulture, fisheries and light engineering sectors.

The speakers at Stakeholders’Consultative Forum, organised by the Federal Ministry of Industries and Production, recommended that since about 70 percent of population lives in rural areas, therefore development in dairy, fisheries, horticulture could generate employment opportunities in the country.

Light engineering was recommended as it is almost 50 percent of total world trade. Pakistan’s light engineering sector only contribute around one percent of total country’s trade.

The participants discussed that how the light industry, fisheries, horticulture and dairy can be converted into export oriented sectors and could provide jobs.

According to participants, the UNIDO project was ending on mid of this year. The workshop will identify the areas where the international organization could provide assistance.

Federal Secretary for Industries and Production Muhammad Arif Azim inaugurated the dialogue. Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA), CEO Muhammad Alamgir Chaudhry presented his department’s sector wise studies.

He said by obtaining international certifications country’s light manufacturing industry could compete in international market.

“There is a tremendous opportunity. We have a cutlery, surgical, auto parts and fans industry but the only problem is that the industry is not technically compliant with international standards,” Chaudhry said.

European Union Delegation to Pakistan’s representative Johan Sorensen highlighted the impact it would have if the issues were effectively resolved on overall economy of the country.

The speakers acknowledged that the 13 sectors identified by SMEDA for generating new space for exports and employment generation could play pivotal role in raising national exports and job opportunities in the country.

The speakers recommended applying authority’s proposed development strategy, which is targeted to generate 10 million new jobs with an addition to the exports worth $36 million within five years.

Many agreed on a cluster based development approach to promote economic development of the country by improving the competitiveness of designated business sectors including logistics, allied services, gems and jewellery, horticulture, construction, fisheries, energy, dairy and livestock and engineering .

The forum has also recommended making small and medium enterprises more competitive through common facilities, training centers, and benefits of the clusters’scale by resolving the issues to be faced in financing and marketing.

Some mentioned that in order to make SMEDA more effective more money and human resources allocation is required. They said the Turkish industry development authority, which has been taken as a model, has a budget of $3.50 billion budget and 2500 employees, but SMEDA’s budget is only Rs 200 million and its employees are only around 100.