Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Pakistan have meagre share in global horticulture exports worth $200bn ; Jawad



Karachi; FPCCI Former Chairman on Horticulture Exports and Vice President of Pakistan Businesses Forum, Ahmad Jawad on Friday says Pakistan yet to take appropriate pie from global cake at the account of horticulture exports; despite the fact that the global trade in horticulture had increase four times over two decades and stood at more than USD 200 billion in 2019.

The sooner textile industry was in hot waters, the country doesn’t have alternative plan for the continuity of the exports and in result even in the year of 2020 to cross $25 billion benchmark were difficult for us.

He said Pakistan retains only 1.5% share in world exports of citrus fruits and 2.8% share in world exports of potatoes; however through upgrading our production methods, seed varieties, processing infrastructure and produce quality, we could easily exported USD 2.2 billion worth of horticulture commodities in next two years.

Jawad told Egypt provides a good case study for Pakistan to learn from; by implementing a Sustainable Agricultural Development Strategy since 2009, Egypt has focused on capturing export markets for its horticulture commodities and currently exports about USD 3.2 billion worth of oranges, grapes, potatoes, strawberries and onions to the Russian Federation, European Union and the Middle East.

“Pakistan has the potential to export processed citrus products and potato fries and chips, however the unavailability of industrial grade varieties, surplus production, and processing capacity have been the binding constraints for making export quality food products”.

Pakistan needs to increase its output by improving yields and attaining exportable surplus crops. There is currently an emphasis on catering to the domestic market. India are one of the key players in this industry through value addition but in our last 70 years the concerned ministries didn’t work on it aggressively, the more down fall started when we devolve agriculture and its allied sectors to provinces through 18th Amendment.

Currently Pakistan’s horticulture suffers from low-yields as compared to its peer countries, unavailability of the necessary seeds for industry grade produce of fruits and vegetables, weak contract enforcement for contract farming, poor on-farm sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) enforcement, inadequate post-harvest infrastructure for packing, handling and transportation, lack of protocols for certifications of health and safety standards, and unassured supply of raw material to processors.

Under CPEC, China is potentially a large export destination for Pakistan’s fruit commodities, but exports are restricted due to stringent SPS compliance requirements enforced by China. For instance, citrus trade is not permitted via land and air routes to China, and therefore Pakistan has to transport its mandarins by sea to the eastern Chinese ports, increasing cost and time. It would be cheaper and easier to export via land which yet to pending a quarantine agreement between Pakistan and China.

Jawad also added Pakistan must tap Chinese market in the sector of fruits and vegetables which will be a great addition in our exports catalogue.

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