CPEC phase II Agri development in budget 2021-22
Yasir Habib Khan
In connection with CPEC phase II tech-savvy Agriculture cooperation between Pakistan and China, Punjab budget 2021-22 is going to have double allocation for agriculture projects with emphasis on improving the quality of seeds and agricultural services to boost production.
Inspired by incentives given by China to farmers and implementing new priorities laid down in CPEC phase II, Punjab budget 2021-22 is ushering in a new era of agriculture taxes to boost agro-based initiatives as well as corporate farming.
The tax rate on agricultural services is being curtailed to 1 per cent from 16 per cent for the corporate sector in order to make the sector attractive for investment.
CPEC authority Chairman Asif Saleem Bajwa in a media talk said that efficient and corporate farming is going to be introduced for the first time in the country in cooperation with China under CPEC. “Model farms are going to be started on vast areas of land under CPEC from the next crop, and a 25-percent enhancement in local yields is expected under the guidance of Chinese experts on the farms,” he said.
In order to make Budget farmer-friendly, many measures have already been taken and whose fruits are quite visible now. Numerous private companies interested in corporate farming have applied. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) registered 50 companies regarding corporate agriculture farming in May 2021. As many as 18 projects worth around Rs83 billion have been identified in the agriculture sector under the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project, with an aim to exploit its true potential and modernize it for sustainable economic growth.
About twelve short, medium and long-term projects identified by the China-Pakistan Joint Working Groups (JWG) are related to Livestock Wing, Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) and Livestock and Dairy Development Department. Six projects are related to research and development to be executed by Pakistan Agricultural Research Council while one project has been identified for the establishment of Aquaculture Park in Costal Areas of Pakistan.
Through these projects, both countries would cooperate in the areas of capacity building, germplasm resources, agriculture product processing and technology extension.
The other identified projects included uplifting of the local agriculture sector including fisheries, establishment of foot and mouth disease free zones, and market information as well as agricultural trade, he added.
The short-term projects would be completed in two years' time whereas the and medium as well as long term projects would be completed in four to five years timeframe.
Besides, the two sides have also signed various agreements and protocols to facilitate cooperation in trade and research, an MoU on Strengthening of Cooperation on Plant Pest and Disease Control was signed during the visit of the President to China in March, 2020.
Both sides agreed to establish the center for sustainable control of plant pest diseases in Pakistan (Karachi) for which the Department of Plant Protection will be the lead Executing Agency.