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Agriculture can bridge Pakistan’s trade deficit, concludes PAC agri investment conference

12:11 AM | 17 Mar, 2023
Agriculture can bridge Pakistan’s trade deficit, concludes PAC agri investment conference

KARACHI - Agriculture is now center stage as the sector that can help salvage the economy by wiping out Pakistan’s trade deficit, said former Governor State Bank Syed Salim Raza.

 Leading corporates, business houses, and financial institutions congregated at Pakistan Agricultural Coalition’s inaugural Agri-Connections 2023 conference and exhibition which was attended by over 275 leaders of the industry, finance, government, donors, academia/international experts, global investors and the farming community.

Seed emerged as a key theme raised by many speakers. The legal and regulatory framework for seed must be improved, said National Foods CEO Abrar Hasan.

Meskay & Femtee CEO Shahid Tawawalla spoke against relying on subsidies as a policy instrument since they can only bring temporary relief. Subsidies are important but must be focused on improving the productivity of farmers rather than just for inputs. Speakers were of the view that important needs such as crop insurance and technology upgrades should be supported by the government.

Pakistan Agricultural Coalition CEO Arif Nadeem said that while finance is about taking risks and managing risk, in Pakistan’s agriculture sector, the farmer is the only one who is shouldering most of the risk. Bank of Punjab President Mr Zafar Masud said that the absence of development finance institutions is a critical problem that requires resolution at the systemic level.

Water reliability is the highest priority of the farmer. Water should be metered and priced to at least recover the operational expenditures of the irrigation system.

The panel on maize was in consensus that GMO technology must be introduced to rapidly increase yields. Mr Khalil Sattar stated that many food products in the USA and Europe are based on GMO crops and there are no problems with their consumption.

Dr Ishrat Husain, the former advisor to Prime Minister, stated that government should get out of the way, particularly away from defining prices and over-regulation.  

Pakistan Agricultural Coalition Strategy Advisor Kazim Saeed said that to realize the potential of agriculture, it is important to listen to the farmer—both the individual farmer and the corporate farmer.

Eleven leading industrial groups from banking, insurance, textile, and agribusiness sponsored this event organized by Pakistan Agricultural Coalition. PAC is a non-profit sponsored by leading sector stakeholders, focused on creating private sector-led, globally competitive and sustainable agriculture models, to catalyse Pakistan’s agriculture sector.

The author is working as Editor Digital Media for Daily Pakistan and can be reached @ItsSarfrazAli.

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Pakistani rupee exchange rate against US dollar, Euro, Pound and Riyal - 20 Feb 2024

Pakistani currency remained largely stable against US dollar and other currencies in the open market on February 20, 2024 (Tuesday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.05 for buying and 282.1 for selling.

On Tuesday, Euro stands at 301 for buying and 304 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352.4 for buying, and 355.4 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.55 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.2.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 20 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.05 282.1
Euro EUR 301 304
UK Pound Sterling GBP 352.4 355.4
U.A.E Dirham AED 76.55 77.25
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.2 75
Australian Dollar AUD 180 182
Bahrain Dinar BHD 743.12 751.12
Canadian Dollar CAD 206.5 208.5
China Yuan CNY 38.84 39.24
Danish Krone DKK 40.24 40.64
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.74 36.09
Indian Rupee INR 3.48 3.59
Japanese Yen JPY 2.10 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 906.33 915.33
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.6 59.2
New Zealand Dollar NZD 170.1 172.1
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.43 26.73
Omani Riyal OMR 725.75 733.75
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.76 77.46
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 207
Swedish Korona SEK 26.85 27.15
Swiss Franc CHF 315.64 318.14
Thai Bhat THB 7.93 8.08

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