Pakistan seeks EU’s technology to develop livestock sector

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday sought technical and financial assistance from the European Union (EU) to develop the country’s livestock sector through technology.

EU can support meat industry by allowing the import of other meat and chicken products, a statement said after a meeting between the Minister for Food Security Fakhar Imam and EU Ambassador Androulla Kaminara.

“EU is the main buyer of sheep casing from Pakistan. EU can help Pakistan to increase agriculture production and increase export of regulated goods,” said the ministry’s statement.

The meeting was told critical support in farming, technology and techniques would be imperative for the development of the country’s agriculture sector.

“Therefore, there is dire need of collaboration between the agriculture sectors,” said the statement. “The EU may provide technical and financial assistance in the livestock sector of Pakistan like risk-based foot and mouth disease control, virtual-based disease information and surveillance system and establishing foot and mouth disease free zones.”

Pakistan and EU signed strategic engagement plan last year for transfer of technology. Pakistan exports rice, mango, vegetables, spices and tobacco to the EU states. However, the current level of bilateral trade between Pakistan and EU countries does not fully reflect the potential of agro-products, which may need to be enhanced further.

Pakistan imports chickpeas, instant gum, potato seeds and other food stuff from the EU.

Imam said the menace of the desert locust has been brought completely under control in the country.

“The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations assisted Pakistan a lot in anti-locust operations,” he said.

Imam said the EU agriculture policy benefits the farmers to an exemplary scale.

The minister said Pakistan is focusing on developing phytosanitary system. Fruits and vegetables worth $700 million are exported from Pakistan.

The country also has a big livestock sector “but foot and mouth disease has handicapped us”.

The ambassador was told that a facility is under development in Bahawalpur for developing vaccine for the foot and mouth disease.

The minister said cotton is one of the major crops of the country and Pakistan needs a breakthrough in cotton sector. The interest was expressed in developing a niche market for floriculture in Pakistan much like the Netherlands.

Kaminara asked the country to develop its fisheries sector as there is a lot of potential for fish exports. The EU is the financier of FAO. Cotton is very much linked with generalised system of preferences plus status that allows tariff incentives to Pakistani exports to the 27-member countries bloc.

The meeting was told that the ministry of food security is implementing partner of Balochistan rural development and community empowerment program. It is a five-year plan, which also includes improvement in production of livestock.

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