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ICCI urges local investors to tap the agriculture potential of our nation as way forward January 17, 2014
Meeting at ICCI
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry in collaboration with Chakwal Chamber of Commerce & Industry organized a focus group meeting of agriculture experts with agro sector businessmen of Potohar region to identify potential opportunities for local and foreign investors in various varieties of agriculture crops and share ideas on improving agriculture productivity. 
Speaking at the occasion, Shaban Khalid, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Barani areas of Potohar region has suitable climatic conditions for agriculture and stressed that Agriculture Research Institutes should identify all potential varieties of agriculture and horticulture crops in this region to attract more local and foreign investment. These institutes should also cooperate with agro sector businessmen in value addition of such products in order to meet local needs as well as to increase exports of surplus crops. 
He said per acre yield of agriculture in Pakistan is quite low and research institutes should play their effective role in improving agriculture productivity. He said ICCI has taken initiative to take on board the regional Chambers of Commerce to promote linkages between agriculture research institutes and agro sector entrepreneurs. The purpose is to explore the potential of all varieties of agro products in this regions so that businessmen and investors could be encouraged to exploit all such investment opportunities. 
Dr. Muhammad Tariq, Director, Barani Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), Chakwal briefed the participants about various varieties of agriculture and horticulture products, which can be cultivated & produced in Potohar region. He said this region has special potential for various varieties groundnuts, pulses, vegetables, olive products, grapes, citrus & flora. He said out of total production of groundnuts in Pnjab, Barani areas produce 93.3% groundnuts. The excellent varieties of groundnuts have huge potential for export and 40% edible oil can be extracted from groundnuts of this area, which is very useful for health. The area has also huge potential for olive oil and its value added products while a model olive farm is available in this part. The high quality grapes and cut flowers of this region have also great scope for export to Europe.
He said the horticultural crops of this region including fruits and vegetables provide energy rich food with vital nutrients like minerals and vitamins and their regular use alleviates malnutrition. Horticultural crop production being labor extensive also creates more jobs and improves socio-economic conditions of the farming community. These corps fetch 10 times the gross income compared to other crops and thus are an important source of foreign exchange earnings about US$ 1500 per acre. 
Dr. Tariq said that BARI conducts research in various crops, develops high yielding, drought tolerant and disease resistant crop varieties, helps in standardization of appropriate production technology for fields & fruit crops and advises farmers for better crop, soil & water management. The businessmen were also apprised of the advantages of off-season vegetables production, tunnel farming, cotton production methods and drip irrigation for achieving better economic returns.
Sahibzada Abdul Qudoos, President, Chakwal Chamber of Commerce & Industry appreciated the ICCI initiative for bringing together the agriculture experts and agro sector businessmen of the region to share ideas on potential varieties of various crops. He hoped that collaboration of ICCI and Chakwal CCI would yield beneficial results for business community of both regions. Both Chambers reiterated their resolve to work jointly for the establishment of an industrial estate in Chakwal region. Mr. Munawar Mughal and Zafar Bakhtawari, former Presidents of ICCI also addressed the event.   

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