EXPANDING AGRI HORIZONS

Creation of Agricultural Marketing portfolio in the Cabinet to give the sector the much-needed boost was a step in the right direction

From KHALID BUTT, LAHORE
Nov 28 - Dec 04, 2005

The present leadership is credited with taking some unique initiatives for the uplift of the economy, education, industry, and notably the agriculture, which happens to be its backbone.

The creation of a special portfolio of Agricultural Marketing in the cabinet to give the sector the much-needed boost was a step in the right direction. Another milestone was the recent creation of PAMCO (Punjab Agri Marketing Company) headed by a dynamic Mansoor Arifeen, a US educated business executive destined to break fresh ground in this hitherto neglected area. With postgraduate degrees in Finance and Law from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Tuft, Mansoor was assigned the task as CEO of PAMCO with a mandate to establish an effective marketing infrastructure in Punjab for perishable agricultural produce some six months ago. The imaginative and resourceful CEO of PAMCO finds his task set out in clear terms to give the agriculture sector a kick-start with his modern concepts it has been long denied. He has identified the high potential projects in this regard. These include cold chain infrastructure to set up cold storages in farm areas near transportation facilities like airports, railway stations etc., and in urban areas. Also provision of Reefer Transport - Refrigerated vans and Refrigerated railway cars. Another aspect is setting up of processing units, which will include mango pulp processing, potato processing/dehydration, citrus processing/concentrate, onion processing/dehydration and tomato preservation.

All these steps involve not only value-addition but also cutting down the huge losses and waste resulting from the perishable nature of these produces in Punjab.

In today's global business economy, integrated supply chains are one of the most powerful competitive tools. PAMCO, Mansoor Arifeen says, was established to address the need for more effective cooperation within agricultural production chains.

As a connecting partner PAMCO, he said all is set to participate with the private sector in making investment, through, Venture Capital, Direct Equity, Joint Venture Participation, Feasibility Report, Development Marketing Initiatives, Cost Sharing, Technology Transfer Agreements and Intellectual Property Rights (branding).

PAMCO's aggressive CEO is fortunate to have the support of a carefully chosen Board of Directors. The board includes Hamesh Khan, the President of Bank of Punjab. It is BOP, which under his progressive leadership had launched several innovative schemes in the agriculture sector and no doubt PAMCO would benefit from this experience and vital support.

PAMCO has been quick to sign a MOU with JSCM (Jahangir Siddiqui Capital Market), over the weekend; designed to bring private sector investment in PAMCO sponsored projects in the agri-business sector of Punjab. Jahangir Siddiqui Capital Market, has undertaken to explore investment opportunities with PAMCO for the development of sectors like fruit, vegetables, dairy and livestock etc.

Punjab Agri Marketing Company is a private sector-led organization formed by the Government of Punjab under the public-private partnership concept. Its main objective is to attract and promote private sector investment through projects and initiatives focusing on removing the supply side constraints in the sales and marketing of agriculture commodities facing post harvest losses, quality issues and marketing problems.

Jahangir Siddiqui Capital Markets Ltd. is a part of JS Group, involved in strategic investments, asset management, aviation, insurance, sugar and banking. The group has made substantial investments in new and emerging opportunities in the Pakistan economy including agriculture. The MoU with PAMCO is expected to provide substantial impetus for increasing investments in the agriculture sector.

The above development has also resulted in Jahangir Siddiqui Capital Market, making its welcome foray into Punjab by formally opening its offices in Punjab Capital.

G.M. Malkani, the seasoned CEO of JSCM, was upbeat about their new initiative and saw Punjab as opening up of whole new world in their rapidly expanding and successful group. He underlined their already deep contacts here and range of diversification undertaken by them to enlarge their horizons.

According to him "JS Capital Markets was incorporated as a private limited company in Pakistan under the Companies Ordinance on 28 June, 2000 under the name of JSCL Direct (Pvt.) Limited. However, the operations of the company started in May 2003 under the name of Jahangir Siddiqui Capital Markets (Pvt.) Limited, subsequently, it became a public limited company on February 7, 2005.

Presently, it holds a long term credit rating of AA- ("Double A minus') and a short term rating of Al + ('A one plus") by Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (Pvt.) Ltd.

JS Capital Markets Limited (JSCM) is a JS Group company. JS Group is one of the largest and most diversified financial services groups in Pakistan, involved in investment banking, fixed income and equity securities sales & trading, asset management, insurance and Shariah finance. The Group is also a private equity investor in the country's Sugar, Media, Textile, Telecom, IT, building materials and Oil & Gas sectors through significant holdings in industry leading companies in these sectors. The principal activities of Jahangir Siddiqui Capital Markets are share brokerage, money market and foreign exchange brokerage, equity research, advisory and consultancy services.

"Equity sales team provides the clients with service in all aspects of equity markets. This ranges from the timely analysis and processing of information through our Research Department, speedy execution of client orders and prompt settlement of all trades. We have retained our unique ability of being able to understand and provide information from a perspective that can be understood by domestic and foreign clients alike."

For their outstanding quality of services, the group has been the proud recipient of Asia Money's Excellence award for being the "Best Domestic Equity House". They have also one of the largest Fixed Income Sales teams in the industry that serves over 100 institutions. Clients include commercial banks, investment banks, leasing companies, mutual funds and gratuity funds/pension funds and provident funds. The company is intending to introduce advanced means of resources not only to improve the quality of service but also to maintain it's business."