Considering CPEC as a game changer in the area, it is believed that CPEC will also have vital impact of CPEC on agriculture sector. The China Development bank and the national development and reform commission has described the agriculture sector a major part of CPEC which not only connect Khunjerab to Gawadar but also will elevate country’s economy in several ways.
The major benefit will be received by ones relying on primary industry as the transportation and delivery time to urban centers and market will be reduced considerably. Despite the fact that agriculture is the major contributor in GDP, agriculture sector has faced ignorance in firs phase of CPEC.
However, agriculture farmers have received benefits from ongoing energy projects as tube -wells have been converted from costly fuel diesel to cheap solar and electric power. The initial outcomes of CPEC development has indicated the existence of opportunities to maximize country’s exports to China. Pakistan’s agriculture imports can be maximized by improving production and quality.
China Development Bank has initially developed a long term plan for several areas of cooperation and investment on the behalf of Chinese Govt. The proposed main areas in agriculture development are strengthening and upgrading the agricultural infrastructure adjoining the route of CPEC.
Technical exchange and cooperation for crop seed production, livestock and poultry breeding and production technology, agriculture products processing and post harvest handling have been aimed to be enhanced as a part of CPEC.
China’s agriculture imports mostly include oils, grains, sugar, cotton, fruits, vegetables, meat and hides. The largest import sub-category is soybean and oilseeds that account for 39.6% of the agricultural and food imports. Soybean category has set up a record 93.5 MMT of oilseed imports of China.
Punjab Government has already started some great initiatives in the agricultural sector for improving productivity and strengthening farming sector by introducing modern production technologies giving easy and affordable access to farmers. Although Punjab has set up a goal of increasing agricultural growth but main focus has been given to wheat, rice, maize, sugarcane and cotton.
Keeping in view the potential and growing market demand, country’s focus should be shifted on other agricultural commodities such as horticultural crops and oilseed crops not only for domestic need but also for export purpose. To achieve targets of high quality and yield, it is highly needed to introduce advanced production technologies and new cultivars to the growers.
Moreover, mitigation of climate changes through innovative research is necessary to avoid yield loss and quality for the sustainable agriculture production. Therefore, the trade of agricultural commodities between Pakistan and China can be increased by collaborating in the areas of research as well as production technology.
MS in Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences from Texas A&M. Working as a Research Fellow at Ministry of Planning Development and Reform Pakistan (Food & Agri)