January 30, 2014
Pakistan is agriculture ‘superpower’ in many ways but the country is still not able to reap maximum benefits, said Greg Giokas, Canadian High Commissioner, here on Wednesday. Addressing the members of English Speaking Union (ESU) of Pakistan along with ESU President Aziz Memon, Honorary Consul General of Canada, Byram D Avari and others, Giokas said Pakistan in world average yield stood at the bottom in the production of wheat, sugarcane, cotton, etc.
He said, “Pakistan should be ambitious to bring improvement in agriculture sector as it creates livelihood opportunities and turn economic activities around.” Instead of inviting big international chains like Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Metro, etc, for investment in Pakistan, he suggested to bring business community and other stakeholders together to explore opportunities in agriculture sector.
The Canadian HC said: “Pakistan has lot of potential in agriculture sector as it contributes 20 percent to the GDP and generates over 40 percent of employment in the country.” He said, “Agriculture sector is a more protected sector compared to other sectors as it brings investment, security and confidence for the economic growth. Pakistan can turn its economic condition around through this sector.”
For this purpose, a comprehensive policy has to be evolved in consultation with all relevant groups to attract investment in this sector, he maintained. He said the government had to work on three basic components – take business community into confidence for investment, evolve a comprehensive policy and consult relevant groups to develop agriculture sector.
“We are confident that with the right direction and policies based on consultations with all stakeholders, the agriculture sector can play an important role in the development of Pakistan’s economy and promote regional prosperity and stability. By increasing agri yield and reducing wastage, employment and livelihoods can be provided to millions of people besides improving food security.” The High Commissioner pointed out that Canadian agriculture exports had reached $47 billion. This success was achieved through policy development, business investment and in consultation with stakeholders, as well as opening up trade relations with big competitors.
Earlier, ESU President Aziz Memon said: “Pakistani business community wants trade with India and was ready to face the challenge.” He complained that the Canadian government failed to provide a level playing field to Pakistani business community, with the result there’s severe decline in trade volume, almost zero from $300 million.