Remarks at the USAID Seminar on Investment Opportunities in Feedlot Fattening Farms in Punjab

Justice (Retd) Khalil Ur Rahman Khan, Chairman Punjab Halal Development Agency; Dr. Saeed Ahmed, Deputy Governor, Islamic Banking Department, State Bank of Pakistan; Mr. Shaun O’Neil, Director, Chemonics International; Mr. Muhammad Junaid, Chief of Party; ladies and gentlemen; distinguished guests– good morning.

It is an honor for me to be here with you at the investment opportunities seminar on livestock feedlot fattening farms in Punjab organized under our Punjab Enabling Environment Project with support from the Punjab Halal Development Agency and the State Bank of Pakistan.

Today’s seminar highlights the importance that the United States places on leveraging new investments for Punjab’s livestock sector, which will unveil areas for commercial expansion led by the private sector, boosting investment mobilization and encouraging new business start-ups.

As Justice Khan explained, the meat industry in Pakistan suffers from underinvestment; resultantly, the quality and production of beef is lower than it might otherwise be. Investments in feedlot fattening can help raise male calves as per best practices for quality beef production and help increase meat exports from the country as well as supply of quality meat to the domestic market.

Islamic financing from the commercial banks can help farmers purchase animals and bear rearing expenses. Feedlot fattening is part of the halal value chain and closely linked with the mandate of the Islamic banks. The role of the State Bank of Pakistan will be crucial in working with the Islamic commercial banks to develop feasible financing schemes and oversee investment mobilization in this particular sector.

Today’s seminar is a great platform for all those present here, and will give us all an opportunity to reflect on Pakistan’s current business environment and explore investment opportunities in Punjab’s livestock sector. Deputy Governor Ahmed’s announcement today of a halal export unit within the State Bank suggests that environment is become more conducive than ever before.

This platform is a unique forum for networking and developing linkages between potential investors, existing feedlot farmers, and public and private commercial banks to offer bankable financing schemes.

The United States is doing its part too. USAID, through its Punjab Enabling Environment Project, is providing technical advice for the livestock, dairy and horticulture subsectors to help boost investments. The U.S. Government is fully committed to helping Pakistan’s economy grow stronger through its multiple programs under its economic growth chapter.

We are confident that the Punjab Enabling Environment Project’s focused interventions will improve the business environment by influencing policy and regulatory reforms through consultative mechanisms. These reforms are expected to spur investments in the target subsectors leading to fast-paced employment generation while making a huge difference for the economy.  Through this project, we are also helping improve the institutional capacity of public and private sector organizations to influence and sustain policy reforms.

Through such programs, the U.S. government aims at working in partnership with the private sector entrepreneurs, business service agencies, public sector, civil society organizations and academia to create an environment that is more conducive to the growth of the livestock, dairy, and horticulture subsectors in Punjab.

I acknowledge and appreciate the support of the Punjab Halal Development Agency, State Bank of Pakistan and all participants in bringing us together today. Your dedication and interest are critical for promoting the economic prosperity of the communities associated with livestock in Pakistan.

I also appreciate the Livestock and Dairy Development Department Government of Punjab for their continued support to our Punjab Enabling Environment Project.

This is an exciting time for us. But our work is not yet over. I would like to assure you that USAID will continue to support the people of Pakistan, and we will continue to take our reform and investment promotion efforts further, to strengthen Punjab’s agriculture and build a brighter future!

Thank you and Khuda hafiz.