Agriculture in Pakistan remains the biggest labour employer and is an essential sector from a social, livelihood and foreign exchange perspective. The country’s population growth and rate of urbanisation are influencing its agriculture sector to increase production and respond to a changing and diversifying food consumption pattern. Despite considerable public spending with assistance from development partners, the agriculture growth rate slowed from an average of over 4% per year between 1970-2000 to below 3% after that (World Bank,2022). Poorly functioning agricultural markets with significant government intervention and a pattern of public spending on agriculture described by inefficient and poorly targeted subsidies discourage a move to more water-efficient and higher-value agriculture.
To bring the country’s agriculture sector on its track, the Government of Pakistan has invited Saudi investors to invest in different sectors of Pakistan, particularly in agriculture and livestock. Recently, a delegation of businesspeople and investors from Saudi Arabia has shown a keen interest in investing in Punjab’s agriculture sector. Saudi Arabia plans to have chunks of agricultural land, cultivate various crops and meet the demand of its own country and other countries through exporting multiple products. It also wants to invest in technology-driven agriculture activities to stop the wastage of produce during harvesting seasons.
The use of technology will empower agriculture and livestock producers to ensure broader adaptation of climate-smart agriculture. Through these digital technologies, the food system becomes more responsive, resilient, and efficient, improving Pakistan’s food security issue. In addition, Saudi Arabia has also started seven projects (road infrastructure and parking plazas) worth Rs107 billion and ten projects of Rs95bn related to energy, health, tourism, roads, and water.
Pakistan has enjoyed warm relations with Saudi Arabia since the birth of the country in 1947. The concerns are rooted in the centuries-old religious, cultural, and commercial links between the two nations. Over the years, both the countries have made efforts to create an atmosphere of ease for the business community to promote public-private partnerships and business-to-business (B2B) linkages.