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Horticulture sector: meeting of task force sub-committee held

ISLAMABAD (August 10 2007): The first meeting of the task force sub committee on finance and competitiveness of the horticulture sector was held here on Thursday.

The sub committee is meant to help task force on horticulture finance and competitiveness (TFHFC) to achieve its goal through co-ordinated actions in the banking and financial sector in addition, the sub-committee will pay special attention to export finance and insurance issues of the sector.

Chairing the sub-committee, Javed Malik, a senior official of the finance ministry said that sub-committee has to play in improving the competitiveness of the sector. He said `we have to look at the horticulture sector in terms of its entire supply chain and the value chain it is creating, to capitalise the potential of the sector we must create innovative financial tools for the sector. The committee will propose these new instruments to finance the horticulture sector in Pakistan`. He also informed the members that Pakistan should target $1 billion from the horticulture exports by 2012 from the current exports of $150 million.

The Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF) was earlier tasked by the Ministry of Finance to undertake a comprehensive study on competitive advantage of the food processing industry with focus on quality, safety and standards.

The sub-committee will work with the stakeholders in horticulture and in the financial sector to co-ordinate and facilitate for financing to the industry. It will identify areas that require further intervention and liaise with the relevant line ministries, agencies and institutions. The representatives of the banking sector informed the committee that a total of Rs 169 billion lending has been made by the banks in last 5 years.

The committee agreed to improve the competitiveness of the value chain in the horticulture sector and built consensus on identifying the importance of finance as the most critical requirement at all stages. The SC-F will establish the stages of the value chain that require the most financing and where the principle gaps in financing exist.

It will indicate various kinds of issues that relate to the different aspects of the industry; for example, the financing of crop inputs perhaps via the forward sale of the crop is qualitatively different from the kind of finance required for infrastructure or for export financing.

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