Pakistan can boost its food exports to ECO countries as it now leads this 10-nation economic bloc for the next five years and as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor opens up a lot of fresh opportunities.
According to an old study conducted by the ECO secretariat, out of the 15 top items that Pakistan can export to ECO countries, five fall into the food category. These are: fruits and vegetables, rice, cereals cereal preparations, animal and vegetable fats and live animals.
“Food exports must be prioritised in all our efforts to increase overall exports to ECO countries, because, except in the case of Turkey and to some extent Iran, our key exports to ECO fall into the foods category.”
Afghanistan is already one of the country’s biggest food exports market. Food exports to Iran are growing after the lifting of US-led international sanctions on that nation. Chances for boosting food exports to Turkey have also brightened after the establishment of a Halal certification authority in Pakistan.
“And, food exports to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are expected to rise as they have start realising that trading with us is easier and strategically important in the CPEC era,” says a senior official of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.
“Already 80pc of our total exports to these countries fall into the foods category and demand keeps growing.”