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Agri sector included in CPEC for growth: Sartaj

From Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz yesterday said keeping in view the importance of agriculture in the national economy, food security and alleviation of poverty, the sector had been included as an area of cooperation in the Long-Term Plan of China Pakistan Economic Corridor to ensure sustainable economic growth in the country.

He was presiding over a meeting with a Chinese delegation led by Dend Ben Tai, Vice Chairman of Standing Committee on Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.

Sartaj Aziz said it was good time to enhance the level of cooperation in various sectors, including agriculture, which had great potential, under the on-going CPEC projects.

Previously, he said, the agriculture sector was over 50 per cent contributor of Pakistan’s GDP and now it was around 20 per cent with average growth rate of over 4 per cent in last 40 years. Irrigation system and green revolution played an effective role in maintaining high growth rate and it helped Pakistan in self-sufficiency of food, he added.

Sartaj said in the 21st century and onward the growth momentum had not been maintained largely due to low investments and technology penetration.

He said that Pakistan had great potential to export dairy products and meat to China to help meet its high food demands.            In that regard, China could facilitate in production and processing of food items as per their requirement and need by emphasizing on livestock and horticulture sector.

Pakistan, he said, also wanted to develop overall agriculture with the technical assistance of China to achieve productivity as per potential of the sector.

Dend Ben Tai said that China was also interested in enhancing level of cooperation in the agriculture sector with Pakistan and the recommendations would be forwarded to the joint working group of CPEC to proceed further in the sectors.

It would enable both the countries to start working together to achieve the set goals, he added.

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