Dec 21 - 27, 2009

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Punjab and Malaysia to enhance cooperation in development of agriculture and livestock.

Secretary agriculture Cap (R) Arif Nadeem, Secretary Livestock Jehanzeb Khan, and Managing Director of Shah Zain Company of Malaysia Hashim Abdullah signed the document.

Punjab chief minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif and Malaysian minister for agriculture Datuk Seri Noh Bin Haji Omar were present during the signing ceremony.

Shahbaz Sharif said Malaysia and Pakistan are brotherly Islamic countries and there are deep-rooted relations between the two countries. There are vast opportunities of promotion of bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Malaysia in industrial, trade, agriculture, and education sectors.

He said Punjab is rich in natural resources and there is a wide scope of investment in livestock, dairy development, agriculture and other sectors.

He said that Punjab and Malaysia could launch joint ventures in livestock and agriculture. He said that Punjab could supply Halal meat to Malaysia and a joint venture is viable because Malaysia presently fulfills its demand of Halal meats by importing 60 percent from India and remaining from other countries.

He said that Punjab and Malaysia could start a joint meat processing project and public-private partnership could be promoted in this regard.

He said that Punjab government could supply high quality rice to Malaysia. He said Malaysia had made tremendous progress in various sectors during the last 30 years, for which the whole credit goes to its leadership.

He said Malaysia had made rapid progress in education and information technology, and is earning huge foreign exchange by sending its skilled manpower to Middle East and other countries. He said that Malaysia could cooperate with Pakistan in the promotion of modern vocational education in Punjab.

He said that Pakistani youth could play their due role in national development by acquiring latest vocational education. He said that Punjab government had taken revolutionary steps for the promotion of vocational education and information technology.

He said TEVTA had been reorganized for this purpose and a skilled workforce was being shaped in accordance with the market needs. He said IT labs had been established in 4286 schools first time in the history of the country and 3.4 million students would be the beneficiaries.

He said government had laid foundation of a revolution in education sector by setting up IT labs. He said position-holder students in different examinations were sent abroad on a study tour to renowned universities of Europe and he wanted to send such students to Malaysia in future so that they could personally observe the development of the brotherly Islamic country. He stressed the need for exchange of maximum number of students' delegations between Malaysia and Punjab for the promotion of bilateral relations.

He said Pakistan and Malaysia should cooperate in different sectors and benefit from each others' experiences. He said the agreement between Punjab and Malaysia in agriculture and livestock sectors would prove to be a milestone in cementing relations between the two countries and open up new avenues of bilateral cooperation.

He further stated that the agreements between private sectors of both the countries in agriculture and livestock sectors would yield far-reaching results.

Malaysian minister for agriculture, Datuk Seri Noh Bin Haji Omar said Malaysia would extend all-out cooperation to Punjab for the progress and development of various sectors in the province.

He said Malaysia was interested in joint ventures with Punjab in agriculture, livestock, education, information technology, and other sectors. He also invited traders of Punjab to participate in Malaysian Agro-Expo.

The Malaysian delegation headed by Malaysian minister also met Punjab chief minister. Matters to discuss cooperation in low-cost housing scheme, mass transit, and public transport and tourism sectors were discussed.

Secretaries of agriculture and livestock and chairman TEVTA gave a briefing to the delegation regarding scope of cooperation in different sectors.

The government has planned to enhance the growth rate of agriculture sector from 3 percent to 4.8 percent of the GDP.

Under a special plan, focus would also be given to increase the agriculture sector production specially the major crops like wheat, rice, and cotton. To achieve this objective, the growers would be given special incentives and facilities.

Under the plan, the production of wheat would be increased from existing 23 million tons to 30 million tons by the year 2015. The provision of fertilizers and seeds to the farmers would be ensured.

Under the proposed plan, the production of rice would be enhanced to 7.5 million tons from existing 5.9 million tons by the year 2015 and new markets for the export of rice would be explored.