Islamabad — Support for Pakistan’s agriculture development is a priority for the United States and it will continue to contribute to the growth of South Asia’s second-biggest economy, Gregory Gottlieb, Director for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) said.
“Working together with a strong cadre of local farmers, agribusiness and policymakers, the United States and Pakistan’s joint efforts in agriculture development will contribute to a stronger, brighter future for all Pakistan,” Gottlieb said at the inauguration of the Pakistan Agriculture Conference and Exposition 2015 in Islamabad on Feb. 27.
The U.S. agriculture assistance has helped nearly one million farmers increase productivity and helped Pakistan directly generate over $45 million in domestic sales and $28 million export sales during the past five years, according to a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Pakistan.
An approximately 800,000 farmer families have increased their income through the U.S.-Pakistani cooperation. Agriculture employs 44 percent of Pakistan’s national labor force and contributes 21 percent to the country’s gross domestic product.
The two-day exposition will showcase latest technological advances in the agriculture industry and provide government agencies and the private sector a forum to discuss agriculture engagement strategies.
The United States has contributed a five stall pavilion to exhibit the agriculture development efforts supported by USAID in Pakistan.
The U.S. is Pakistan’s single largest trading partner with two-way trade touching $5.33 billion mark in 2013. U.S. companies have invested $1.3 billion in the Pakistani economy in the last seven years.
The U.S. assistance in the agriculture sector aims to increase employment and incomes for 1.1 million rural families, or approximately 7.5 million Pakistanis, by 2018 by irrigating one million acres of land, improving agriculture processes and connecting small famers to major agribusinesses.