KARACHI AUG 1 (TNS): The factor contributing to decline in overall exports of fruits and vegetables in 2016-17 has been the drop in exports of kinno, mango, onion and potato.
According to the figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), fruit exports stood at 645,304 tonnes fetching $382 million in 2016-17 as compared to 676,531 tonnes earning $427m in 2015-16. Vegetables exports fell to 623,626 tonnes ($186m) in 2016-17 from 701,050 tonnes ($213m) in 2015-16.
Waheed Ahmed, Patron-in-Chief, All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchants Association (PFVA), said vegetable growers have changed the onion variety in Sindh which has definitely improved production but has reduced shelf life, leading to quality issues.
Also, cheaper Indian onion is also giving tough time to local produce. He said potato could not be exported to Russia as the country is farming the tuber while it also imported the vegetable from rival countries where prices are lower. The share of kinno and mango in total exports is $275m. Exports of kinno start from Dec 1 and end in March/April.
Waheed said exports of the cultivar dropped while bad weather had also affected its quality. Iran, despite being a lucrative market for Pakistani kinno, did not issue the import permit, he added. The government is also considering cancelling the Preferential Trade Agreement with Indonesia and that may lead to closure of yet another big market, he said. Uncertain political turmoil in the Middle East also poses an alarming situation.
Mango exports in June 2017 also suffered due to slow shipments in the Middle East, Qatar and Oman, he added. Waheed said pronounced currency devaluation of Morocco, Egypt and Turkey and financial assistance extended by their governments to the horticulture sector has endangered survival of Pakistan’s $200m kinno exports in the international market.
He said for the first time, kinno exporters and stakeholders had developed a strategy in Bhalwal recently in view of stiff competition in the international market. The strategy includes purchasing kinno on an appropriate rate from the local market, making growers’ quality conscious and creating awareness about good agriculture practices and seeking assistance from the government for developing new varieties through R&D.
Waheed said growers should provide kinno at reasonable prices to exporters enabling them to compete in the international market. Instead of short-term “seasonal gains”, long-term benefit shall be given preference, he added. Purchasing process of kinno and fixing its rate by the management was critically analysed in the meeting which recommended that rate of the fruit be fixed subject to its quality.
In order to guarantee effective implementation of the recommendations, a six-member committee comprising of Ahktar Saeed, Chaudhry Naseer, Aqeel Gul, Sarfaraz Ranjha, Javed Rawana and Haji Yunus was formed.