LAHORE: A number of Italian companies belonging to the agriculture sector are ready to initiate joint ventures with their Pakistani counterparts, stated Raffelo Delchima, head of an Italian delegation, while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Wednesday.
He said that both the countries have a lot in common in terms of production, especially in the areas of horticulture, fisheries, floriculture, food processing and dairy.
Delchima said that Italian businessmen were very much interested in doing business in the province of Punjab as it has marvellous opportunities in the agriculture sector.
He said that Pakistani agriculturists could increase agriculture production with the help of Italian technology, guidance and expertise.
He said that a better collaboration between the two countries would be highly beneficial for all the parties involved, ensuring better profits and opening of new markets for goods and products.
“Strengthening of the agriculture sector would have a very long-lasting impact on the local economy,” he added.
LCCI Vice President Faisal Iqbal Sheikh said that Pakistan’s agriculture sector was in dire need of collaboration with international companies for technology. He said that the LCCI would play its role in bringing agriculture communities of the two countries closer.
He said that Pakistan had a comparative advantage in the region with vast cultivable areas and a strong potential for expansion of the agriculture base. He said that collaboration between Pakistan and Italy would go a long way towards addressing the issues being faced by the farming community of Pakistan.
Sheikh said that despite its critical importance to growth, exports, incomes and food security, the agriculture sector has been suffering from a decline. Growth in the sector, particularly in the crop sub-sector, has been falling for the past three decades, he said.
He said productivity remains low, with yield gap rising. Critical investments in new seeds, farming, technology and techniques and water infrastructure are not being made, therefore, there is a dire need of collaboration between the agriculture sectors of the two countries.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 17th, 2010.