Ensuring more inclusive trade will require enhanced agribusiness and agro-industry development in developing countries, according to Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, Minister of Commerce and Textile of Pakistan.
The Minister spoke at a working session jointly organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the delegation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States during the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Public Forum.
Minister Malik stressed the need to make agricultural trade a more dynamic contributor to GDP in developing countries and to ensure that its benefits are widely shared.
Agricultural trade is the lifeline of current economic engagement in Pakistan, with more than 70% of the population being active in agriculture and allied industries.
To ensure deeper integration in international trade and increase the benefits of that engagement, there is, however, a need for increased investment and technological development in the sector.
As an example, he referred to one of the country’s largest Foreign Direct Investment deals in recent years, a partnership in the dairy sector between Pakistan’s Engro Corporation and Netherlands-based Friesland Campina.
Zubair Tufail, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, fully concurred with the need for increasing value addition and mobilising more investments in agro-industry so that agricultural trade results in greater benefits for developing economies. Referencing the fact that Pakistan is the 4th largest milk producer in the world, but only 3-4% of milk is processed in the country, he highlighted the need for close public-private partnerships to expand agribusiness opportunities.
Carolyn Rodrigues Birkett, Director, FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations at Geneva, underscored the critical role that enabling policies and support to sustainable agribusiness and food value chains play in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. Birkett further noted that concerted international efforts will enhance the synergies among various partners in technical cooperation, financing and knowledge management. She used the example of 3ADI+ (Accelerated Agribusiness and Agro- industries D.