ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s food exports are faring well in the global food trade, when compared with the overall share of Pakistani exports in the global trade.
The size of global food export in 2014 was US$ 1486 billion whereas the Pakistan’s exports of food items in 2015-16 stood US$3.4 billion.
“Pakistan’s share in the global market of food products was 0.22%, which is better than Pakistan’s share in overall global trade i.e. 0.14%,” official source said.
The major sub-sectors in food sector are rice, fish and its products, fruits and vegetables, spices, animal feeds, seeds, molasses, guar and guar products, tobacco, wheat etc. However, the food exports from the country could be enhanced manifold provided a focus is shifted to resolve the issues faced by this particular sector.
The challenges include low productivity, post harvest losses, high cost of doing business, shortage of gas and electricity, use of old techniques of production as well as lack of food sector-specific initiatives.
The government has already introduced Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF 2015-18) to boost the share of Pakistani food exports in the international trade.
Under the framework, the government provided 50% support on the cost of imported new plant and machinery for agro processing SMEs in specified under-developed regions. It provided 100% mark-up support on the cost of imported new plant and machinery on all Pakistan basis.
The support for import of parboiling machinery has been included in the Technology Up-gradation Support envisaged in the STPF (2015-18) to enhance the export of parboiled basmati rice.
In addition, the government also introduced many general initiatives related to overall export enhancement envisaged in the framework including exploration of new markets for diversification of exports especially in Africa, Latin America and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
A three-pronged strategy of trade diplomacy in the multilateral, regional and bilateral arenas for increasing market access has also been introduced. An inter-ministerial working group comprising Ministries of Science and Technology, Commerce and National Food Security and Research will be constituted to work on quality standardization and harmonization of Pakistan standards, the sources added.
A matching grant would be provided to SME in export sectors under Brand and Certification Development Support, he said.
The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) also organized participation in 19th international exhibitions related to food sector during the fiscal year 2015-16 besides arranging visits of trade delegations during the year to promote exports of agro food products from Pakistan in the world market, official sources said.