Pakistan and China have strong trade ties. China is the 4th largest export market of Pakistan. Agriculture is a vital industry in China, employing over 300 million farmers. Although accounting for only 10 percent of arable land worldwide, it produces food for 20 percent of the world’s population. Pakistan will get an opportunity to cooperate with China in the field of agriculture at the platform provided by SCO.

During the three days visit of the H.E. Vice President of the People’s Republic of China to Pakistan on 26th to 28th May, 2019 two Agreements/Memorandums were signed, one was “Framework Agreement on Agricultural Cooperation” and the other was “Memorandum on the Requirements of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) free zone where Vaccination is Practiced”. China imposed a ban on import of Pakistani rapeseed meal into China three years before due to SPS issues. The ban will hopefully be uplifted once a Protocol proposed by the Chinese Government will be signed between the two Governments.

The framework agreement on Agricultural Cooperation between Pakistan and China shall be executed and implemented through the Ministry of National Food Security & Research of Pakistan and Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs of China. This agreement holds an important position in the backdrop of CPEC and promotes cooperation in the areas of mutual interest in the field of agriculture.

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has already developed a strong base for mutual cooperation between the Parties in a variety of fields which include “Agriculture Development and Poverty Alleviation” as one of the long-term key areas of cooperation. The goals set in the Agricultural Framework Agreement will be achieved in next five years, the areas included in the agreement for cooperation are: Inputs and agricultural technology extension services; Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographical Information System (GIS); Food processing and pre-and-post-harvest handling and storage of agricultural produce; Genetic resources of crops, livestock and poultry; Selection and breeding of new breeds of animals and new varieties of plants; Feed Fisheries and aquaculture; Research and development of new high-yield varieties; Precision agriculture; Pest and disease control.

The Government of Pakistan through the M/o National Food Security & Research and provincial governments is focusing international halal meat market. To achieve the desired level of meat export, FMD free zones are to be developed, the Government is rigorously pursuing the target in extensive collaboration with FAO and it is a very proud moment for Pakistan and M/o National Food Security and Reasearch that the ministry has been selected as joint winner with Rwanda, of the Edouard Saouma Award for the development of the National Control Program for Foot and Mouth Disease in Pakistan funded by the FAO. The Award ceremony will be held on 26th June, 2019 in Rome. The MoU is signed between Ministry of Agriculture China and M/o National Food Security Pakistan for establishing FMD free zones for the purpose of export of animals and their products from Pakistan to China.

The purpose of the memorandum is the establishment of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Free Zone where vaccination will be practiced. The FMD free zone will be constructed within the territory of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan according to the agreed common requirements of the Parties, and the Chinese side will provide technical assistance and support.

Federal Minister for National Food Security, Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan briefed the media in a press conference about the importance of these two Memorandums/Agreements. By developing FMD free zones Pakistan would move from stage 2 to stage 3 towards the control and eradication of FMD. Not only this but to big meat markets of China and Indonesia would be opened for Pakistani meat. It is worth mentioning that China’s annual meat requirement is worth $ 12-15bn, entering into this profitable market will surely help Pakistan economy, currently meat from Pakistan is exported to Gulf countries, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Federal Minister said the Government is focusing on expanding the Pakistan’s meat market and this five years agreement with China will help us to achieve the desired results not only in the meat market but in agriculture sector and will be mutually beneficial.