ISLAMABAD: Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Wendy Gilmour called on Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan here in Islamabad today.
Pakistan and Canada’s bilateral relations have good future prospects not only in bilateral trade context but in getting mutual benefits in agro research and development. Pakistan trade of agro commodities has been influenced by SPS measures of the developed countries. The procedural formalities like pest risk analysis and stringent conditions make trade difficult. In this situation the Ministry of National Food security is trying to get maximum market access for agro-commodities.
Pakistan imports mostly Pulses and Canola seeds from Canada, during last year Pakistan imported 880525 metric ton (0.94 MMT) of oil seed and pulses, whereas the volume of Pakistan export to Canada is 14521.36 Metric ton (0.88MMT).
Federal minister for National Food Security Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan said that bilateral trade between the two countries could be accelerated through harmonization of SPS measures between two countries; moreover the vibrant liaison between importers and exporters of agro commodities is essential.
The Minister further said that cooperation in technical assistance to improve alignment of National SPS and quality infrastructure with international standards, it is also in the interest of both the countries to specify mutual areas in research for long term implications in existing and potential trade agreements in future. Seminar and frequent sessions to increase awareness and understanding of issues of the relevant markets.
Mehboob Sultan said Pakistan could benefit from Canada to minimize post-harvest losses of perishable food items, constructions of packing houses and cold storage equipped with state of the art technology, so that the fruit and vegetables may be saved from wastage and same may be exported. Mehboob Sultan added that we could jointly work in establishment of pest and disease free areas across Pakistan, which will not only minimize the risk associated with our agro commodities export but will reduce the post-harvest cost of plant and plant material and this will give sound footings to Pakistan in international market.
Mehboob Sultan said that both countries should jointly work for intensive cooperation in value addition of projects to increase the production of agro commodities based on general crop production practices and using scarce resources efficiently. The Minister added that we could jointly work on efficient plant breeding technologies to introduce pest and disease resistance and water use efficient varieties of crops for better production.
Canadian Ambassador Wendy Gilmour said that Canada is eager to explore new areas of cooperation and she further said that we believe in scientific rigor and we support that any modification should not harm human beings or animals, Canada is always ready to share information. Ms. Ambassador said that canola is the major import of Pakistan from Canada and Pakistan imports worth 800 million (0.8 billion) US$ agro products from our country. She further added that Canada is greatly benefiting from Pakistani Canadians who are contributing a lot in Canada.
Federal Minister expressed his desire that Canada must consider and proceed forward to open its market for Pakistani Mangoes and Rice which are of exceptional quality, currently Canada is exporting these food products from Mexico and Brazil, Canadian ambassador agreed to look into the proposed import from Pakistan. She added that it is a tremendous opportunity between the two countries and we are cognizant of best practices which are conducive to human and environment friendly.
Federal Minister welcomed the high Commissioner to Pakistan and reiterated that both we shall move together to facilitate the trade as per international best practices.
Federal Secretary NFS&R Hashim Popalzai and other officials of the Ministry were present.