Islamabad, 3 March 2023 (TDI): A symposium on agriculture investment was conducted in Islamabad to bring together key players, including financiers, policymakers, farmers, development partners, and researchers.

The objective was to share ideas, information, and experiences in order to promote investment in the agricultural sector.

The conference, which attracted over 300 attendees, offered a venue for networking and examining the potential for individual investors and financial institutions to make investments in the agricultural industry.

Booths for business-to-business (B2B) meetings were put up, giving investors a way to get in touch with agricultural enterprises and share expertise and access to choices for innovations and bankable products.

At the B2B meetings, a number of memorandums of understanding were either committed to or signed.

The symposium was jointly organized by the Federal and Provincial Boards of Investment (BOI), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Asian Development Bank (ABD), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Minister Ahsan Iqbal
Minister Ahsan Iqbal

It sparked investments, partnerships, and collaborations for sustainable and inclusive growth in the sector while leveraging digitalization and mitigating the negative effects of climate change.

Federal Minister for Planning of Pakistan, Professor Ahsan Iqbal urged financial institutions, private investors, and government agencies to cooperate and work together in the agriculture sector.

He enunciated that the agriculture sector has a significant potential for economic gains and poverty reduction. He also thanked FAO for its efforts.

Further, he emphasized that cluster-based development was a crucial component of the government’s Vision 2025 to maximize agriculture, which was informed by Michael Porter’s seminal book “The Competitive Advantage of Countries.”

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According to Mohamed Manssouri, Director of the FAO Investment Centre, the center also collaborates with partners in the private sector through financial institutions to entice bigger and more ethical private agri-food investment.

In order to increase investment and have a bigger impact at the national level, it serves as a bridge between members and financial partners.

Symposium in Islamabad boosts agriculture investment for sustainable growth
Symposium in Islamabad boosts agriculture investment for sustainable growth

To entice private investors, the investment potential and economic advantages of eight agricultural commodities—including apple, beef, chile, date, mango, onion, rice, and tomato—were highlighted.

The living Indus Initiative’s identified financial needs for irrigated agriculture sustainability were also shared.

This country’s strategy aligns very well with the FAO’s Hand in Hand (HIH) Strategy, which encourages the transformation of agri-food systems to eradicate poverty (SDG1), end hunger and malnutrition (SDG2), and lessen inequality (SDG10).

Other speakers at the opening session, included Florence Rolle, a representative of the FAO, Khalid Gardezi, the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research & Zeeshan Sheikh, the Country Manager of IFC.

While Mohammad Farooq, the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Climate Change, Yasmin Siddiqi, the director of ADB, and Aamer Irshad, the head of the program, highlighted the difficulties facing the agricultural sector and suggested various reforms.

ADB and IFC facilitated two interactive panel discussions on the symposium’s theme where successful entrepreneurs discussed their experiences in attracting investment and utilizing digital technology to boost agricultural competitiveness.

In his concluding remarks, Jamil Qureshi, Executive Director General, Board of Investment (BOI), Government of Pakistan, outlined the future directions and wrapped up the event.