CPEC refreshes Punjab economic outlook

Over the past decade, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is reshaping development landscape of Punjab, the most populous and agriculturally rich province of Pakistan.
The collaboration between China and Punjab in the agriculture sector has played a crucial role in boosting agricultural productivity, improving farming techniques, and increasing the quality of agricultural products. This not only supports local food security but also positions Punjab as a potential exporter of high-value agricultural commodities to China and other international markets. 
The integration of agriculture and industry in Punjab creates a robust supply chain and value-added opportunities, further strengthening the province’s economic prospects. Chinese assistance in intercropping, high-yield seeds, pest control, and agri machinery training contributed to this success.

Through investments and technology, China is promoting Punjab’s agro-processing units, individual quick freezing, potato powder/flakes manufacturing, dehydration, olive oil extraction, and solar dehydration of vegetables. These initiatives aim to reduce post-harvest losses, enhance shelf life, and boost product value. By collaborating with China, Punjab is advancing its agricultural productivity and ensuring food security for the future. 

Additionally, the possibility of collaborating with Chinese experts to control foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and other animal illnesses is being considered by the Punjab government. This collaboration signifies significant opportunities for the livestock sector in Pakistan and reinforces the strong relationship between China and Punjab in agriculture and livestock-related initiatives.

Punjab is known for textiles, engineering, chemicals, automotive, and other industries. CPEC’s focus on industrial development and establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Punjab, such as the Allama Iqbal Industrial City in Faisalabad, leverages the existing industrial base, attracting local and foreign investment, creating employment opportunities, and boosting exports.

The Chinese government and intellectuals are also helping in establishing Chinese Study Centers across the most of the Universities in Punjab, which will not only increase people to people exchange but will also promote Chinese culture in the province. 

Similarly, China has also shown it’s commitment to help Punjab in coping with Smog crises and has pledged full assistance in improving health facilities for the people of Punjab.

CPEC has prioritized several projects and initiatives in Punjab, ensuring the province’s active participation and substantial benefits from the corridor. The development of energy projects, including the Sahiwal Coal-fired Power Plant, the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, Karot Hydropower project and the upcoming Azad Pattan hydropower project in Azad Jammu Kashmir and Punjab region, addresses the energy needs of Punjab, ensuring a stable power supply for industries, businesses, and households.

Transport infrastructure development in Punjab under CPEC is significant. The Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (Multan-Sukkur Section) and the Orange Line Metro Train in Lahore are flagship projects that have improved connectivity within the province, easing the movement of people and goods. The Cross Border Optical Fiber Cable project enhances communication networks and digital connectivity, benefiting Punjab’s IT sector and facilitating e-commerce and digital services.

China is also contributing in Electronic Vehicle industry in Punjab. CPEC’s railway upgradation project focuses on Punjab’s railway network. Moreover, Chinese companies have expressed interest in investing in diverse sectors in Punjab, such as steel, agrochemicals, spinning machinery, chicken farms, meat processing factories, and more.