Engro Fertilizers, Pakistan’s premier seed-to-harvest solutions provider, hosted an insightful dialogue at Expo 2020 Dubai to highlight the food security situation in the Gulf and the potential partnership opportunities with Pakistan to overcome the regional food security challenges.
The panel comprised global agricultural and industry experts including Dr. Abdul Rashid (IFA Laureate), Dr. Munir Jamil Al Rusan (Professor and Dean at Jordan University of Science and Technology), Charles Schneider (International Finance Corporation), Ayman Alwadhy (The Corporate Group, UAE), Wasim Halabi (Foodco National Foodstuff Co PJSC), Fredric Favre (MAS Seeds, France) and Khusrau Nadir Gilani (Engro Fertilizers).
The expert panel pointed out that food security in the Gulf region is a growing challenge due to high dependence on food imports, increasing water scarcity, climate change and supply chain interruptions. In 2020, the region’s share of the acutely food insecure global population was 20%, which is disproportionately high compared to its 6% share of the population. By forging partnerships in the agricultural sector with large established sustainable agri-base countries, like Pakistan, the region can benefit from enhanced agricultural output to overcome its food security challenge.
There is significant potential to increase Pakistan’s agricultural output with focus on modern technology, seed quality, balanced use of fertilizers, and uplift of infrastructure across the agri value chain. It was noted that if average farmer yields are brought at par with those of progressive farmers within the country, Pakistan will see a dramatic increase in wheat and rice production serving not only the needs for domestic consumption, but also create significant surpluses for exports to the Gulf-Region. The Government of Pakistan was also applauded for its efforts to improve water provision and farm economics, resulting in an increase of approximately 1.6 million hectares in area under cultivation with further growth anticipated with large irrigation projects underway.
According to Nadir Qureshi, “To bridge the agri yield gap and enrich crops with essential nutrients, Engro Fertilizers has introduced innovative products and seed-to-harvest solutions, farmer upskilling programs, access to expert advice by leveraging technology, and free of cost soil testing laboratories. We hope that this dialogue will serve as an initial step to encourage Pakistan, Engro and Gulf entities to work together to jointly develop innovative solutions and explore the scope for international partnerships in the agri space.”
The panel discussion concluded that the food and agriculture sector can be an engine of economic growth for both the Gulf region and Pakistan. Through the adoption of technological innovation and sustainable practices, the agricultural sector of Pakistan can be transformed to reduce dependence on food imports, create surpluses to drive significant exports and meet the Gulf regions’ dietary nutrition requirements.