FAISALABAD – Indonesian Ambassador Adam M Tugio said on Friday that Indonesia will launch joint ventures in collaboration with local investors to ensure the balance of trade between his country and Pakistan.
He was addressing an international seminar on âSustainable Vegetable Oils: Opportunities for Healthy Diets and Increased Bilateral Tradeâ, jointly organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and Faisalabad University of Agriculture (UAF ) here. He said the two countries signed a PTA (Preferential Treatment Agreement) to promote bilateral trade in agricultural products at reduced tariffs. He said Indonesia imported Kinnow and mangoes instead of its palm oil.
However, the volume of imports is strengthened to ensure the balance between imports and exports. He added that the Indonesian government is also helping Pakistan switch to palm cultivation, which could lower its import bill to a substantial level. However, in this regard, the University of Agriculture must play a proactive role and develop new varieties of palm trees that are adoptable in the local environment and could give better returns economically.
He especially mentioned the similarities between the scenic valleys of Pakistan and Indonesia and said that Indonesia has developed its tourism sector on modern scientific bases and is now ready to share its experience and expertise in this field with Pakistan. He said the two countries should also start immediate negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) to improve their bilateral trade in the years to come. Atif Munir Sheikh, president of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), said edible oil is a major component of our diet.
âThe per capita consumption of edible oil in Pakistan is around 24 kilograms (kg) per year,â he said and added that despite this fact, we locally produce a small amount of edible oil from of our traditional crops like sunflowers, canola and other oils. seeds. Therefore, we have to depend on imported edible oil which has become a permanent burden on our scarce financial resources. He added that we import 90% edible oil from Indonesia worth $ 4 billion per year.
He said that our government is making tremendous efforts to increase the national production of edible oil and in this regard a subsidy is distributed on the cultivation of traditional crops. He also pointed out that cotton is a major crop after wheat in Pakistan, but current varieties contain negligible amounts of oil and our main goal is to consume this crop for yarn production.
He said our agronomists need to develop new varieties of cotton that could provide us with a long fiber base with seeds enriched in oil. “If we manage to evolve these varieties, it will not only reduce our imports of premium cotton, but also help us sustainably reduce the overall bill for edible oil imports,” he added.