CIFTIS 2023: Boosting Pakistan’s Agri Exports to China

Pakistan’s agriculture sector is poised for a boost in exports to China, through a renewed focus on standardization and quality control. After fulfilling China’s required standardization on meat, chili, and other commodities, Pakistan signed MoUs with China to export these products from Pakistan to China, said Ghulam Qadir, Commercial Counselor, the Embassy of Pakistan in China.

Speaking with a forum titled “International Forum on Standardization Development of Agricultural Products”, at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) on Wednesday, Ghulam Qadir said that China is helping Pakistan develop their standards for various crops, such as wheat, rice, cotton, and maize. This will involve defining parameters for crop quality, including size, weight, moisture content, and pesticide residue levels, among others.

“Both countries are working together to promote sustainable agricultural practices, emphasizing soil health, water management, and reduced carbon emissions. These standards aim to protect the environment while ensuring long-term food security. China is also helping Pakistan with the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, with a focus on minimizing the presence of harmful residues in food items,” he added.

He further said that over the past few years, Pakistan has made substantial strides in improving its agricultural production, with a particular emphasis on quality control and meeting international standards. These efforts are now paying off as the country aims to capture a more substantial share of China’s burgeoning agricultural market. He added that “we would get more support from China to ensure the standardization of the products if we want to improve our exports to China”.

“Pakistan’s agricultural exports to China have historically been limited to a few commodities, such as rice, sesame seed, and cotton. However, the landscape is evolving rapidly, as Pakistan diversifies its exports to include fruits, vegetables, and processed products. This transformation has been driven by a combination of factors, including increased investment in agriculture, improved infrastructure, and most crucially, adherence to international standards”, he added.

Qadir told the audience that Pakistani agricultural products now meet the stringent requirements of the Chinese market, ensuring food safety, quality, and traceability. This newfound reliability has increased Pakistan’s credibility as a supplier and built trust with Chinese importers.

“Meeting Chinese standards for meat and chili products is essential for gaining access to this enormous market. With proper standardization, Pakistani producers can confidently explore export opportunities and access a growing middle-class consumer base in China. Standardization assures Chinese consumers of the quality and safety of Pakistani agricultural products. This trust-building process will pave the way for long-term and sustainable trade relationships,” he stated.

“China’s growing middle class is showing an increasing appetite for high-quality agricultural products, including fresh produce, grains, and processed foods. This trend presents a golden opportunity for countries like Pakistan, which have the potential to meet China’s demands. By ensuring that its exports meet Chinese standards, Pakistan has positioned itself as an attractive source of agricultural products for its neighbor”, Qadir stated.