Islamabad—Economic renaissance in Pakistan is totally dependent onagriculture growth,” and as such Pakistan urgently needs an agricultural infrastructure to improve the balance of trade and put the economy back on the track.
The Finance ministry may allocate at least Rs 15 billion to this sector in the upcoming budget said CEO Harvest Tradings Ahmad Jawad on Saturday.
Speaking at Workshop, he said our agriculture sector faces huge post-harvest losses of 40-80 per cent when compared with global benchmark”, he stated.
Currently, Pakistan’s sugarcane yield is 40 percent lower against global benchmarks, wheat yield is 20 percent lower, non-basmati rice yield is 40 percent lower, cotton yield is 20 percent lower and milk yield per animal is 90 percent lower. Low output also adversely affects the farmers’ earning capability.
However, export of Pakistani dates, if properly processed and packaged, could fetch between 200 and 240 million dollar per annum.
Currently, Pakistan earns around $28 million per annum from dates export because of a lack of infrastructure.
Last year, 135,000 tons of mangoes were exported against a normal target of 150,000 tons, which generated revenue of just $39 million only.
It could exceed too as much as $100 million but here again, the issue of infrastructure proved a big impediment, Jawad informed.
He said over the past five years, an average of 2,960 tons of apples with a retail value of about Rs6.7 billion were exported on an annual basis, and that constituted just 0.5 percent of the total production in Baluchistan, as thousands of tons of apples to wasted in Swat because of absence of technical expertise and infrastructure, while the production also remains limited, he said, adding that Pakistan is one among top apple producers in the world.
Ahmad Jawad said that Baluchistan, annually, produces more than a million tons of various varieties of fruits, 90 percent grapes, cherry, and almonds; 60 percent peach, pomegranate, and apricot; 34 percent apples.
The province is the fifth largest producer of dates with an estimated production volume of 583,000 tons but, again, its exports suffer because of non-availability of infrastructure.
“It needs of the hour that establishment of modern cold storages, testing labs & conduct local trainings to curtail post harvest losses & proper rooms for wheat storages at production hubs in the fiscal year of 2013-14.”