- China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will help Pakistan address its impending food security challenge, says official.
- Pakistan has recognised food security as an important component of national security, says Syed Zafar Ali Shah.
- Says agribusiness is being promoted through increased investments.
ISLAMABAD: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will help Pakistan address its impending food security challenge by introducing modern farming to increase the country’s yield through agricultural cooperation, says a top Pakistani government official.
A top official in Pakistan’s ministry of planning, development, and special initiatives, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, told Xinhua in a recent interview that Pakistan has recognised food security as an important component of national security, and agribusiness is being promoted through increased investments in the agriculture sector, which will be further enhanced under the CPEC framework.
“As a part of improving food security, this year we are investing more in the water sector and the agriculture sector to increase our yield … all these sectors are strengths of China, which has shown great performance and productivity,” he added.
Speaking of the country’s agricultural potential, the Pakistani official stated that it is a large producer of milk, vegetables, and fruits, but a large portion of it is wasted due to a lack of processing units and a supply chain.
He believes that Chinese investors can capitalise on the sector’s potential by investing in other sectors.
The secretary stated that Pakistan is committed to CPEC, and that regardless of which political party is in power, there is a shared belief that the project is critical to Pakistan’s economic development.
CPEC is a multifaceted programme that caters to Pakistan’s needs, including the most urgent and pressing demand to meet the country’s electricity needs, which were facing up to 18 hours of load shedding when CPEC was introduced, he said.
Shah stated that CPEC has given new life to Pakistan’s economic development by attracting large amounts of foreign direct investment (FDI) through various projects.
In terms of CPEC’s role in Pakistan’s overall development, he stated that it began with infrastructure and will be followed by a new phase of industrialisation in the special economic zones (SEZs) established under the framework of CPEC.
“FDI in SEZs has played a great role in the countries which were short of capital … China being one of the largest investors in the world is our close friend, so we are hopeful that the Chinese investment will contribute a lot to the economic development of Pakistan,” Shah said.