Pakistan and CPEC:

The untapped potential of Balochistan

Balochistan, the biggest province of Pakistan, is also called ‘the fruit-basket’ of that nation, producing 90 percent of its cherries, grapes and almonds and 60 percent of pomegranates, apricots and peaches. Balochistan also produces 34 per cent of Pakistan’s apples.

Furthermore, the province has remarkable characteristics on account of its geo-strategic location, natural resources, and the port of Gwadar. It is the gateway to South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will further accelerate the significance of Balochistan.

Pakistan is well-known for the production of dates; ranking fifth in the world. The coastal strip of Makran produces 0.5 million tons of dates annually, of which only a few thousand tons are exported. By virtue of the CPEC, Pakistan’s connectivity with the rest of the world will boost the export of dates to the rest of the world. 

According to the Pakistan Observer, this export will eventually eliminate the marginalisation of the people of Balochistan. More government subsidies are necessary and currently water scarcity is a problem as date farmers are dependent on rainfall for irrigation.

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