Food for thought:
- We export about 230 million US dollars worth of produce every month. That is cereal, grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, meat products and other allied food groups. For years we couldn’t get the storage, packaging and distribution right. Add two nationwide wholesale distribution chains pulling a Costco in Karachi and Lahore and you have plugged in the missing piece. In another two years when Makro and Metro are fully integrated with the local supply chain, we would have learnt how to store, package, ship and brand in bulk across large distances. It is already transforming the suburban agricultural communities in Karachi, Malir and Lahore. A technology transfer that no government in three decade was able to achieve, two commercial warehouses and whole sellers will deliver in less than two years through commercial interaction.
- What happens when you add value to 2.5 billion dollars of commodity exports? What is the payoff on investment that reduces spoilage by 35% and increases shipped volume by the same amount and at a 30% better price?
- What does this do to food security debates in this country? In the region?
- Remember the best part about commercial interaction: Once it gets going the public sector cannot role it back. The partners involved in growing, harvesting, distributing and shipping to Metro and Makro will figure it out between them because there is a commercial incentive to deliver. It really won’t matter who is in charge and what they believe in.
And that’s just food.