Islamabad: In a notable development highlighting Pakistan’s increasing attractiveness as an investment hub, a distinguished contingent from Ireland’s dairy industry recently engaged with representatives of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) to discuss prospective investment opportunities in Pakistan’s flourishing dairy sector. This visit, supported by the Board of Investment of Pakistan, underscores the international acknowledgment of Pakistan’s robust dairy potential.
According to a news release by the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, the President of the ICCI, highlighted the integral role that the dairy sector plays in Pakistan’s economy. Notably, the economic value of the sector surpasses that of the nation’s significant wheat and cotton cash crops combined. Bakhtawari underscored that despite Pakistan’s impressive rank as the world’s fifth-largest milk producer, churning out over 65 million tonnes annually, a staggering 95% of this milk remains unprocessed, largely owing to technological shortcomings. This has been a missed opportunity for value addition and economic benefits.
Bakhtawari urged Irish delegates to bring their advanced technological acumen and dairy expertise to Pakistan, fostering an environment conducive to exporting value-added dairy products on a global scale. Such a move, he suggested, would be transformative for countless individuals in Pakistan who rely on the dairy sector for their livelihoods, particularly in rural areas. Additionally, he proposed that upping milk processing rates to even 15-20% could be a linchpin in steering Pakistan towards economic stability and growth. In support of these endeavours, Bakhtawari ensured the Irish delegation of the ICCI’s unwavering assistance in forging connections with suitable local partners.
Responding to the address, members of the Irish delegation emphasized Pakistan’s vast untapped potential in the dairy sector. They elaborated on Ireland’s global reputation in dairy, boasting annual exports exceeding €5 billion, renowned for their exceptional quality and standards. The delegation was inclined to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan primarily due to the prohibitive shipping costs of dairy products from Ireland to regions like South Asia. The Irish representatives also expressed their readiness to empower Pakistani farmers with knowledge in herd management, enhancing milk quality, and introducing value-added dairy products. Given that the dairy industry is a cornerstone of Ireland’s economy, contributing approximately €16 billion and offering employment to around 85,000 individuals, predominantly in rural areas, their interest in Pakistan can be seen as a strategic move.
In the discussions, Faad Waheed, Senior Vice President ICCI, pinpointed that the average milk yield per cow in Pakistan lags behind global standards. He was optimistic that with the establishment of state-of-the-art dairy facilities by Irish investors, Pakistan could become an export hub for premium dairy products.