Islamabad is seeking Beijing’s help in national food security through the inclusion of agriculture in the ambitious $61 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) program.
According to the Tribune Express, the cabinet of ministers said that support was being sought for corporate farming as well as joint farming. In March, during President Alvi’s visit to China, Islamabad and Beijing signed an agreement for enhanced bilateral cooperation in science and technology, as well as agriculture.
This week, the minister for national food security and research told the cabinet that his team was working on raising wheat productivity for which timely announcement of support price and availability of quality seed was crucial. He requested the prime minister direct provinces to keep an appropriate quantity of good quality wheat which will be used as seed.
The PM directed the food security minister to prepare short, medium, and long-term plans for achieving food security and enhancing crop productivity. He emphasized that a shortage of wheat could not be allowed in the country under any circumstances as it is a staple. Around 0.5 million tons of imported wheat will be available in the country in September, data showed.
China is Pakistan’s largest trading partner, and the CPEC project is expected to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries. It aims to improve Pakistani infrastructure, create nearly 700,000 new jobs, and add up to 2.5 percent to Pakistan’s annual growth rate.
The project has been called a game-changer for Pakistan because it will link China with markets in Central Asia and South Asia. It aims over 15 years to create an economic corridor between Pakistani Gwadar Port to China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang through a 2,700km highway from Kashgar to Gwadar, railway links for freight trains, oil and gas pipelines, and a fiber-optic link.
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