(CRIME): Setting of fruit processing Industry in GB is vital to boost horticulture exports

KARACHI:,,, Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) on Friday said climate and fertile soil of Gilgit-Baltistan offer ideal environment for producing fruits like apples, peach, cherries, almonds, apricot, etc. As farmers in Gilgit-Baltistan produce over 100,000 tonnes of fresh apricots a year. “Setting up the fruit processing industry in the region would help boost the country’s fruit exports”.

While talking to delegation of Gilgit Chamber of Commerce, PBF Vice President Ahmad Jawad said low volume of trade between Pakistan and China is not reflective of the economic size of two neighbouring countries. This indicates there is a huge untapped trade potential in both countries, which can be utilized mainly to enhance welfare of the masses and Gilgit Baltistan would be key gateway to strengthen bilateral trade.

Initially the CPEC plan does not really benefit GB in the short-term, since no direct industrial projects are being established. However, if we take a look at the long term perspective, with the establishment of businesses, telecommunication networks and infrastructure projects, GB will start to benefit economically. Therefore, ‘there’s a dire need for the policy makers in the government to develop plans in GB of think-tanks to focus on the core issues directly’. Jawad said.

Similarly various training programmes should be introduced across Gilgit-Baltistan to tap the opportunities. This may include high level technical skills such as information technology, information management, international trade laws and marketing as well as other technical skills like cargo management, transport management, hotel management and tourism promotion.

He also said due to shortage of arable land and freshwater resources in China, the country needs to import land-extensive crops (such as wheat and rice) to feed its population.

Further, with rising living standards, the Chinese demand for agricultural imports is gradually moving up, which is likely to create agro-based trade opportunities in countries having substantial potential in agriculture produce.

As China’s demand for cotton yarn and rice imports is met by the emerging economies of Asia, such as Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand and India. However, the relative share of China’s import of these products has witnessed some changes recently.

Meat production and processing facilities in KPK would also required and Setting up of meat production and processing facilities in KP would help increase Pakistan’s meat exports to China, as well as, to Afghanistan and Central Asian markets.