A little-known but significant part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement is boosting agricultural trade between the two countries. It has been a longstanding plan to bolster food security through CEPEC, but the plans to launch agricultural trade between China and Pakistan have long been in very nascent stages.
One of the two initial projects was focused on chilis. In June 2021, an initial pilot project to test the feasibility of growing chilis in Pakistan with the intention of exporting them to China was successfully completed. The former head of the CPEC authority Lt General (Ret) Asim Saleem Bajwa, announced the experiment on 100 acres of land had been a great success.
More than a year later, work in this sector has picked up pace steadily. At the meeting of the JWG on Tuesday, the 20th of September, several investment initiatives were reviewed as part of the first batch of CPEC projects to boost agricultural trade and expand economic activities between the two countries.
The Sichuan Litong Ltd. and China Machinery and Engineering Corporation have started chili contract-farming in Punjab and Sindh on 400 hectares. The company provides local farmers with the technology and training to grow high-quality chilis. It has planned to expand this operation to 10,000 hectares and also establish a chili processing plant.