KARACHI:The Argentine envoy, Leopold F Sahores said, “Our main focus is the agriculture and livestock sector. We want to see how we can partner and encourage joint ventures with the Sindh government and the business community of this province.” “As Argentina is an agricultural country, we can offer a lot.
During his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Tuesday, Sindh’s agriculture and livestock sector, despite being severely impacted by the recent floods, has managed to pique the interest of the Ambassador of Argentina.
The producers and farmers of Sindh can learn from our experience and expertise to become more efficient,” he added. Sindh Abadgar Board (SAB) Senior Vice President, Mahmood Nawaz Shah noted that after the flash floods, both crops as well as livestock have been affected.”
Crop loss has somewhat stalled, however, our livestock is still affected as there is no fodder to feed the animals and the cattle are facing diseases owing to malnutrition.
We can benefit from Argentina’s advanced agriculture and livestock in the long-term. Through joint research and development, technology transfers and sharing of technical experience, we can improve our agriculture, a sector that has a significant role to play in the growth of our economy,” explained Shah.
The ambassador emphasised that “Argentina’s agriculture sector has become more efficient via the adoption of technology, particularly bio-technology. We are also interested in helping Pakistan in grain storage which is crucial in terms of food security.
From a technological perspective, we need better irrigation methods, better seeds and more research and development (R&D) for increased yields,” said JS Global Agriculture Analyst Waqas Ghani Kukaswadia. “The trade volume between Pakistan and Argentina is less than $170 million which is significantly lower than its potential. Both countries need to make a collective effort to find creative ways to increase trade.
Enhanced interactions, business-to-business contacts and exchange of trade delegations to both countries would help in understanding each other and explore possibilities of enhanced cooperation,” urged the envoy. He underlined that as Karachi was the financial hub and engine of Pakistan’s economic growth, and “The Argentinian embassy is keen to explore possibilities for trade enhancement and investment cooperation between the business community of Karachi and its Argentinian counterparts.”
“Pakistan can offer lucrative opportunities to Argentine businessmen as there is a lot of potential to supply commodities not only in the Pakistani domestic market but also to Central Asia from Pakistan because it is very well positioned in this region,” he added.
The ambassador also extended his full support and cooperation to Karachi’s business community to enhance interactions to pave the way from improvement in bilateral trade and investment relations. KCCI President, Tariq Yousuf stressed the “need to strengthen Argentina’s trade and investment cooperation with Pakistan, particularly with the business community of Karachi”.
Agreeing, Union of Small Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) President, Zulfikar Thaver said that a lot could be accomplished with of Argentina and other countries as well. “Our floodhit areas can benefit from their expertise in drainage and the plantation of seeds according to the local climate of Sindh,” added Thaver.
“One advantage is that after the flood, the soil becomes more fertile. However, SME farmers are in distress due to the nonavailability of seeds, fertilisers, tractors and farm equipment which have either been washed away or damaged.
Even livestock has been lost which means that farmers have to begin from scratch,” he elaborated. The KCCI president suggested that Argentina look into the possibility of undertaking joint ventures in the dairy sector of Pakistan which has been underperforming mainly due to a lack of value addition. “
As Argentina’s dairy sector is more developed, this is an area where the Argentinian business community can collaborate with their Pakistani counterparts to improve yields and add value to Pakistani dairy products.”
“Pakistan’s dairy sector can learn a lot from Argentine expertise in processing milk products,” added Yousuf, extending his support and cooperation to the Argentinian embassy in all its initiatives focused on the promotion of bilateral trade.