Pakistan, US for enhanced agri cooperation

ISLAMABAD: Ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the United States of America, the two sides discussed measures for enhancing cooperation in the agriculture sector.

In a meeting, Minister for National Food Security and Research, Muhammad Mehboob Sultan and US Ambassador Paul Jones agreed that the forthcoming visit would be very important to highlight the preferred areas of cooperation especially in the field of agriculture.

Mr Sultan highlighted that the scope of Pakistani mangoes to the US market could be enhanced since the product meets all the international standards and is exported to almost 48 countries after vapour treatment.

This will give a great boost to mango exports and US could also work in collaboration for value-addition of mangoes in Pakistan which will be mutually beneficial. Mr Sultan further said that dates from Pakistan may also be granted market access in US. In view of the visit of the prime minister, dates and other products may also be granted market access on reciprocity.

US ambassador was of the view that Pakistan could import meat from the United States to which the federal minister explained that it could be explored after mutual consultation.

The agriculture minister said the two countries must explore venues for mutual cooperation especially when the prime minister’s agriculture emergency programme has already been launched.

He said the present government is making every effort to strengthen the agriculture sector, especially after the devolution. The government has identified few areas to be developed on priority and important of those areas are agriculture mechanisation, to augment the yield of cotton, development of oil seed and decrease the import bill.

He said the government as well as the agriculture ministry is open for cooperation from all provinces and friendly countries for mutually beneficial work in the agriculture sector.

Ambassador Jones said the United States is well aware that Pakistan is an important agricultural country, and exchange of technologies in the field of agriculture including cooperation in value-addition, and public-private partnership would be welcomed by both the sides.