ISLAMABAD: Agri-business Support Fund
(ASF) has successfully produced British Retail
Consortium (BRC)) professionals in the agribusiness sector
This is a unique initiative, undertaken for the first time
in Pakistan, keeping in view the growing demand by the
Pakistani exporters of fruits and vegetables to European market,
says a statement of the ASF issued here Thursday.
Khalid Khan, Chief Executive of ASF, further informed that
under its 'Capacity Building' programme, ASF has been striving
to promote consultancy business in the agribusiness sector
and has contributed significantly during the past two years
in producing trained professionals in different
export certifications throughout the country.
“Realising the growing demand”, elaborated Mr. Khan “and feeling
a dire need to fill the demand and supply gap, two individuals
who were already in the advisory/consultancy business were
approached and encouraged to participate in the training
programs conducted by BRC in the UK.
ASF approved Rs. 0.26 million in favour of the two applicants
to attend a 'trained-the-trainer' programme and
a 'third-party-auditor' programme.
In this regard, ASF shared the complete course fee, return air fare,
accommodation and other associated expenses with the applicants
on matching grant basis. Very recently, both the applicants
have returned from the UK after completing the training and
passing the exams in distinction”.
The BRC is the trade association that represents the whole range
of UK retailers including large multiples, department stores
and independent shops, selling a wide selection of products.
The objective of BRC Global Standards is to specify safety
and quality criteria required to be in place within
a manufacturing organization to supply product to UK Retailers.
Exporters of fruits & vegetables into the European market
are now required to acquire BRC certification before
shipment of consignments.
Mr. Khan said “we are very happy to have produced qualified
& trained professionals in the market and now it is up to
the business community to take full advantage of the locally available
professional services at fairly reasonable cost”.
He said he was confident that such a unique initiative by
ASF would help the exporters of fruits & vegetables penetrate
further into the European market, get better market price
and generate considerable foreign exchange for the country.
Agribusiness Support Fund is a not-for-profit Company,
established by the Ministry of Food Agriculture & Livestock
(MINFAL) and supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB)
under the Agribusiness Development & Diversification Project (ADDP).
ASF extends its support in the shape of matching
grants to agribusiness concerns in the Horticulture and
Livestock sectors. While having its office at Lahore, ASF is also represented by the offices of ADDP, located in the four
provinces as well as FATA, FANA and the AJK.