PAMCO'S ROADMAP FOR AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT
Within six months of its inception PAMCO is on the move to fulfill its assigned role with the aplomb of its professional management team.
FROM KHALID BUTT, LAHORE
Feb 27 - Mar 05, 2006
Punjab Agri Marketing Company (PAMCO), a public-private sector undertaking created by the Punjab government in 2005, is one of the most significant moves made by the present Chief Minister Ch. Pervaiz Elahi. The Chief Minister is credited with his progressive vision to launch the province on a path of economic and social uplift.
Among his many initiatives are his revolutionary plans of mass literacy (Parha Likha Punjab), schemes of poverty alleviation, subsidized power supply for tubewells to uplift agriculture and PAMCO marks as an important step to leapfrog agrarian economy of the province whose mainstay and dependence was on agriculture. Yet agriculture had been inexplicably the most neglected sector and an area once known as the 'food basket' had suffered long due to this apathy.
With the advent of PAMCO, under a dynamic and youthful CEO, Mansoor Arifeen, a long felt need to address this shortcoming seems to have been finally addressed. PAMCO has also been provided with an umbrella of a high-powered board studded with some outstanding men of proven merit and worth. The result is that barely within six months of its inception PAMCO is on the move to fulfill its assigned role with the aplomb of its professional management team.
Mansoor Arifeen, the PAMCO CEO, with an impressive track record of his stints in the private sector and multinationals and degrees of Economics, Law, International Finance and Diplomacy from Fletcher School, Tufts, Berkeley under his belt, is upbeat on the role and future of the fledgling outfit. Talking to PAGE, he outlines his vision and seems determined to revive agrarian economy of Punjab to its pristine glory. "We have to make up for the time lost and to work hard to rope in the private sector, big business and leading industrial houses to involve them in agri business." This he strongly feels will be for collective good of all and for the overall economy. "The whole world has changed all around us but here we are sitting smugly as an old nation. There are rich pickings to be made and the sector offered boundless opportunities once the ball is set rolling." Mansoor is brimming with ideas and plans and speaks wistfully of some of the headway already made by PAMCO in its ambitious roadmap for future.
He speaks about important MoU's (Memorandums of Understanding) signed with JSCM (Jahangir Siddiqui Capital Markets Ltd), LUMS, LCCI (Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry), FCCI (Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and lately with SMEDA, designed to attract private sector investment to PAMCO sponsored projects in the agri-business sector of Punjab.
Each of the above MoU was specifically targetted to achieve its set goals ranging from promoting and projecting the growth of agrarian economy and the related projects undertaken by PAMCO. This is a big task but PAMCO management is headlong into this task without any loss of time.
In this regard, PAMCO has started a programme of seminars in collaboration with Lahore University of Management Sciences, focussing on agribusiness developments in Pakistan. This initiative is designed to upgrade the knowledge and technical knowhow of individuals and institutions involved in this sector. First seminar in this series was conducted at LUMS on January 21 on SAFTA and attended by leading lights from both public and private sector as well as senior officials of the Federal Government. Second seminar is scheduld on March 6, 2006 at LCCI, titled: "Attracting and sustaining private sector investment in agribusiness."
As part of dairy development, PAMCO is finalising proposals with private sector milk producers and Tetra Pak Ltd, for enhancing fresh milk collection capacity through private sector investment in the establishment of chilling units at collection centres as well as refrigerated milk collection vehicles.
PAMCO, according to its CEO, is an autonomous and independent organisation established by the Punjab government. It is controlled and managed by the private sector and mandated to facilitate trading and investment opportunities in the agriculture sector of Punjab.
The main objectives of PAMCO are to provide investment opportunities in agribusiness, provide market access, add value to farm produce, make farm products competitive and reduce post harvest losses. The scope of operations of PAMCO is towards following areas of agriculture:
— Fruits and vegetables
So with its mandate clearly defined PAMCO recently took a step to enter into an agreement with Citropak, which doubled the production volume of the company. Citropak would have to lift another 35,000 tons of processing grade Kinnow from the farmers and is now lifting a total of 70,000 tons of fresh fruit, for which financing was arranged through Bank of Punjab with PAMCO's facilitations. PAMCO arranged Rs 50 million through BoP.
CITRO plant, a state-of-art plant, is located near Sargodha and Punjab Minister for Agriculture Marketing Malik Qasim Noon, President of BoP Hamesh Khan and PAMCO chief along with some other leading lights of Agri sector were present at the recent ceremony held to sign the tripartite agreement.
PAMCO is now reportedly engaged in finalising a similar agreement for the uplift and expansion of mango production in the province. However, its investment priorities are focussed towards speedy development of cold chain infrastructure, specialised processing units and proper marketing of the products in the province.
PAMCO now actively engaged in its thrust to attract private sector investment and involvement in the agribusiness is launching a media campaign and a programme of making presentation to the trade and commerce associations throughout the province.