HCCI President urges govt to boost agriculture sector, destroyed by recent rains, floods

HYDERABAD:The President Hyderabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Adeel Siddiqui has urged the government to prepare a comprehensive food security policy and boost the agriculture sector on a war footing basis which had been destroyed by the recent unprecedented rains and floods in the country.

The recent unprecedented heavy rains and floods had destroyed rice crop of the country by 50 percent, whereas cotton crop had been washed away which caused a direct loss to the cotton exports.

Talking to a delegation of importers and exporters here at HCCI secretariat on Tuesday, he said that Pakistan was the fourth largest country that exports rice and added that Pakistani rice was famous for its aroma and nourishment. He said rice exports constitute $2 billion, adding that the climate change driven weather patterns had caused massive rainfall leading to damages to rice and cotton crops.

Siddiqui said that cotton exports were badly affected besides the spinning industry. He expressed concern over the fact that this would affect Pakistan’s exports and the rupee would face devaluation. The damages to tomato and onion crops would also lead to increased burden on imports, he added.

He said that ensuring a balance between imports and exports was indeed a challenge for the government.

The HCCI President said that the government should use its full energy in increasing the country’s exports and assistance should be sought from the commercial consulates of Pakistani embassies in the world. He said that even after the $1.6 billion tranche’s approval from IMF, 7 percent depreciation in Pakistani rupee was a matter of concern.

He said that the conditions of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank should be satisfactorily met so that further loans could be obtained for ensuring stability in US dollar’s rate saying that dollar’s rate had made business very difficult. He said that opening of letter of credit (LC) had become a challenge therefore, the dollar’s rate should be stabilized for growth in businesses.