LAHORE - Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) President Mian Nauman Kabir said on Monday that Pakistan had great economic credentials like growing potential of the local market, availability of rich natural resources, a liberal investment regime and growing potential of the local market which made it a great place for trade and investment.

He expressed these views while briefing a high-powered Malaysian delegation about investment opportunities in Pakistan here at LCCI office. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, Trade & Investment Counselor of Pakistani Embassy in Malaysia Shafqat Ali Niazi, LCCI EC Members Naeem Hanif, Ahmad Elahi, Shamim Akhtar, Chaudhry Wajid Ali, Mardan Ali Zaidi and former Senior Vice President Ali Hassam Asghar also spoke on the occasion. Mian Nauman Kabir said that foreign investors should come forward and avail unique trade and investment opportunities through joint ventures with their Pakistani counterparts.

He said that Pakistan is blessed with a variety of fruits and vegetables which have their distinctive color, taste and tang. “It is because our country is gifted with abundant natural resources and fertile terrain,” he added. He said that the most common fruits which are produced in Pakistan include mangoes, citrus, grapes, guava, apple, banana and plum etc. In addition to this, some other fruits which make it to the list are strawberry, cherry, peach, pear, apricot, lychee, papaya, and pomegranate. He said that the most common vegetables grown in Pakistan are potato, tomato, peas, different kinds of gourd, cauliflower, spinach, onion, garlic, cucumber, carrot, eggplant, pumpkin and cabbage etc. The LCCI president informed the delegation that the large amount of fruits and vegetables are consumed domestically and less than 10 percent of total production is exported. The export earnings from this sector have been following increasing trend since 2019 whereas Pakistan fetched 493 million dollars and 314 million dollars by exporting fruit and vegetables respectively in 2021.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that because the food processing industry in Pakistan is still at primary stage so very smaller amount of fruits and vegetables are processed into value-added products such as pulps, juice, concentrates, frozen/preserved items like beverages, jams, jellies and pickles etc. He said that the top five commodities exported from Pakistan are citrus, dates, mango, potato and tomato which account for nearly 80 percent of the horticulture sector’s overall exports. Pakistan exports fruit and vegetables to many destinations across the globe, primarily to the United States, Europe, the Middle East, the Far East and the South Asia etc. “We are not only looking for new importers for our fruits and vegetables but also interested to find foreign investors to expand and modernize the network of food processing industry in Pakistan,” the LCCI president said and added that it is needless to mention that organizations like Punjab Board of Investment & Trade, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Punjab Agriculture Department must come forward to act in unison so that we could market the untapped potential of horticulture sector to the foreign investors.

He also congratulated the entire management of Punjab Agriculture Department who did wonderful job and made every possible effort to ensure that Pakistan Agri Expo 2022 would achieve greater success than the previous three editions. These efforts will surely reflect in further increasing the food exports of Pakistan that reached 4.9 billion dollars in eleven months of current financial year showing nearly 25 percent growth over the preceding year.