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Pakistan: Japan investing in Gilgit-BaltistanJapan is going to provide somewhere in the region of Rs437 million ($4,820,000 US) to Gilgit-Baltistan for the development of the fruit industry in the region.
A senior official of the Planning Commission said, "The main strength of the economy of Gilgit-Baltistan is fruits and horticulture and Japan International Cooperation Agency has extended the firm commitment to fund value addition of apples and apricots," he said.
The total cost of the proposed project stands at Rs465.966 million with a local investment of Rs28.533 million and foreign aid of Rs437.433 million.
There seem to be huge opportunities in the region and they're not limited to just apples and apricots - peaches, mulberries, honey-dew melons, almonds, walnuts, dates, mangoes, plums, cherries, blueberries and watermelons are all cultivated in the area.
Harvest Trading CEO, Ahmad Jawad says there is also the possibility of developing a successful organic sector in the region.
"Climate and abundant water resources make it ideally suitable for the marvellous growth of this sector, where immense potential is yet to be exploited for export."
He said the people in the region tend to lean towards traditional agricultural practices and, therefore, do not use a lot of fertilizers, pesticides and technology.
However, Jawad also conceded that there is lack of facilities, such as cold storage and of export quality packaging material, which hampers the sector from expanding further. This is why international investment is key if the region is to realise its full potential.
Publication date: 4/20/2012
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