Board sought to overcome bottlenecks in citrus export


LAHORE: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Standing Committee on Horticulture & Agriculture Produce, Chairman Ahmad Jawad has said that citrus is major contributor in the Pakistan horticulture exports which requires a professional board to work with the private sector and also helps overcome the bottlenecks and give due recommendations to tap the potential.

Chairing a meeting, Jawad said, we need such body under public private partnership, which actively lobby on issues such as export market access and development; biosecurity and quarantine; industrial relations, development and promotion, breaking down barriers to export markets; facilitating new National Internal Maturity Standards for the whole of industry; and developing more effective domestic promotion programs.

As almost 21 million metric tons of citrus was being produced from over 450,000 acres in the province of Punjab, out of which District Sargodha was producing almost 1.1 million metric ton from over 224,000 acres in which Kinnow field was being cultivated at over 154,000 hectares of land which was almost 84pc of the whole citrus fields while the kinnow production was over 1,876,000 metric tons.

In this regard, the government must take steps to bring improvement in this sector and make the farmers prosper. Elaborating the details on the upcoming Kinnow season, Jawad told with quantity and quality improving, by and large upcoming season will be good for kinnow exports. Farmers and exporters are optimistic that the total quantum may cross a healthy figure of 300,000 tonnes.

Though major boost in export came from the Afghan market last year, which is estimated to have consumed half of foreign sales of kinnow this year. Though officially bound for Afghanistan, many consignments went right up to Central Asian state. Afghanistan became the transit for supplies to the former Soviet states. But Russia remained an attractive market. The presence of Pakistani exporters is increasing there.

This year’s private sector has fully demonstrated that the foreign markets have appetite for quality fruits and are ready to pay for it as well. As one billion dollars worth export of kinnow, introducing new varieties and value-added products is not a big task in near future, provided the required steps are taken, he added.