Call to remove export barriers
As agricultural goods export to China grows, stakeholders have urged the government to help farmers improve their capacity and remove the logistics and regulatory barriers.
Exports of agricultural products to China increased by 28.59% year-on-year and reached $730 million in January-August 2022, according to the Chinese Customs data.
Pakistan Businesses Vice President Jahanara Wattoo anticipated that exports of Pakistan's farm produce to China would surge to a record high of $1 billion in 2022.
“Though the farmers are hard-working who toil in fields in scorching heat, we lack access to modern technologies and latest research and development work,” she said. "That's the hinderance."
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) Pakistan- China Business Council head Javaid Ilyas, while talking to The Express Tribune, called China a massive market for Pakistan's export goods.
"China is near and we have friendly relations. Many agricultural products including apple, peach, Gawar Phali (cluster beans), etc have good demand in China," he said.
Gawar Phali is produced only in India and Pakistan and is used in a number of products ranging from shampoos to silky textile prints to ice creams to noodles.
"We face hidden regulatory barriers," he said, adding that Pakistan should also expand its products variety as the list did not exceed a dozen items.
"We cannot benefit from the access we have got to China unless the government helps and encourages all sectors as it does in the case of textile industry."
Explaining the barriers, Ilyas said that China was demanding hot water-treated fruits but Pakistan didn't have enough such plants. Similarly, "they ask for seedless kinnow, which we cannot supply."
"Over the last couple of years, there has been a visible increase in agricultural product exports to China, but the potential is still huge," said Wattoo.