CABI is urging a range of key ‘actors’ in the food value and trade chain – including smallholder farmers, processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and exporters – to attend the Pakistan Horti Expo 2020 and help boost the country’s fruit and vegetable exports.
The event, which will take place at the Expo Centre, Lahore, from 22-23 January 2020, is being organised as part of the ‘Establishment of Model Farms’ project initiated by the Government of Punjab’s Agricultural Department.
It is hoped that around 15,000 stakeholders, including 5,000 farmers responsible for growing mangoes, citrus, potatoes, vegetables and other produce, will attend the Expo and help transform Punjab into a melting pot for worldwide exporting of fresh fruits and vegetables. This transformation is being materialised by inviting 35-40 renowned International Chain store buyers of different countries including Ukraine, Germany, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Maldives and Tajikistan.
The Model Farms project, implemented by CABI and Metro Group Company, Star Farm Pakistan, aims to increase exported produce through improved value chains. The Model Farms concept is helping farmers to build greater capacity in areas such as harvest and post-harvest handling of crops and will also see the creation of international certifications for farmers, producers and suppliers to ensure they comply with strict food standards including Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures.
Dr Babar Bajwa, Regional Director – CABI Central and West Asia, said, “The Model Farms Project is an innovative way in which we can increase the livelihoods of Pakistan’s smallholder farmers through an increase in exports as well as the food security of a nation whose population is currently the sixth highest in the world at 208 million.
“We encourage all actors in the food value and trade chain to come along to the Expo and find out more about the opportunities to get involved in the Model Farm Project and other initiatives which are ultimately aimed at making Pakistan’s fruits and vegetables more attractive to a global market.”
CABI is already active in Pakistan working with partners, including the Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, on projects to help strengthen the country’s food value and trade chain. This includes work to help fight fruit fly and mango hopper pests that can devastate crops if left unmanaged.
Other examples of CABI’s expertise in food value chains and trade linkages include a recent collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) to help Pakistan’s Ministry for National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R) enhance the country’s capacity to increase exports to China and other countries around the world.
The desire here is to enhance research and development – mainly in respect of increasing SPS measures to enhance its exports – as part of the Belt & Road Initiative that aims to improve regional integration, trade and economic growth between Asia, Africa and Europe.