LAHORE (PR) – The South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC) organized an inception seminar yesterday at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), in order to sensitize the potential investors about the business opportunities in the forestry sector.
The seminar began with a welcome address by LCCI President Abdul Basit, who thanked the participants and urged the business community to invest in the forestry sector for a sustainable future.
According to him, forest-based investments can lead to tremendous growth and create opportunities that are essential for competing in an interconnected world. “The chamber will play its role in promoting this idea and advocates any policy solutions that drive economic growth, spur innovation and create jobs,” the LCCI president added.
It was followed by a presentation delivered by SPFC Chief Executive Officer Tahir Rasheed, on Investment Opportunities in Forestry Sector in South Punjab. He informed the participants about the eco-regions of Pakistan and quoted the 2015 study by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), according to which, Pakistan has a total area of 1,472,000 hectares (ha) and witnessing deforestation, at an alarming rate of 2.1 per cent from 1990 to 2015 on an average.
“SPFC aims to afforest the 134,995 acres of allotted land in D.G. Khan and Bahawalpur Civil Divisions, which comes under Punjab Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Department. By promoting commercial forestry in the area, green jobs in rural areas will be created and logging pressure on existing forests will be reduced,” Tahir Rasheed said.
He further informed sustainable forestry investments offer low risk with high returns. “The sustainably farmed wood can be supplied to the national wood-based industry, which will subsequently reduce dependence on imported wood, eventually reducing the budget deficit.”
The presentation was followed by Q&A session. The LCCI members questioned if the SPFC land may face any threats from the timber mafia. Responding to the question, Tahir Rasheed fully assured that SPFC will ensure that the land is free from any encroachments and timber mafia.
The seminar also aimed to incorporate the views of LCCI representatives to make the process inclusive, which can be incorporated in the upcoming feasibility study.