China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provides Pakistan an opportunity to modernize the processing segment of the agriculture sector and to radically reduce its huge trade deficit of around US$9 billion with China.
Addition of agriculture sector in the Long Term Plan, China would transfer its technology to Pakistan to increase per acre yield of various crops by exporting more value added agriculture products to China to punch its growing demand of food commodities.
The CPEC project provides a significant development of the agriculture sector of Pakistan. Pakistan can enhance its exports through various CPEC initiatives by patter into the growing import dependence of China.
The developments being made in the energy, infrastructure, and industrial sectors of the country under the CPEC project according to the “State of Economy 2017-18” functional by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
In agriculture sector, out of China’s global food imports of around $99.6 billion, Pakistan’s share is only around 0.37 percent (roughly $ 0.4 billion).
Along the CPEC Project the development of nine agricultural development zones made according to Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR).
By encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration, the zones could serve as platforms to develop clusters and infrastructure to nurture emerging rural businesses in an effort to produce commodities deemed exportable to China. These commodities include cereals, dairy, eggs, meat, honey, tobacco, seafood and fruits, and others.
In the crop sector, there is a focus on increasing the use of modern machinery and synthetic fertilizers to enhance the yields, while food storage and processing zones would be constructed to reduce significant post-harvest losses.
Similarly, the building of cold storage stations and meat processing plants is also being planned to enhance productivity of livestock and fisheries sectors besides making their output more competitive in the international market.
These developments hold the potential to not only boost the agriculture output of the country, but also to narrow the trade imbalance between China and Pakistan by expanding food exports to the former.
With the growing demand of processed food in China, the country has been planning to start investment in the agriculture sector in all the countries along its broader Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
China has so far invested $3.4 billion in agriculture sector abroad to increase supply of food products for the domestic market.
Meanwhile, according to Planning Ministry, a major progress is expected between the two countries a legal framework agreement may sign a number of projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor to bring investment in the sector, exporting surplus and the most important the agriculture sector would be finalized for the economical development.