KARACHI: Director Harvest Tradings, Ahmad Jawad, has said that investing in horticulture is seen to offer the best potential for increased small producer incomes, new employment opportunities in production and processing, improved resource productivity, and enhanced micro-nutrient availability in the market.
Speaking in a seminar at a local hotel, he said, “Horticulture is largely unregulated that includes more private-sector actors than the major crops and had received little donor attention in the past”.
“Despite declining productivity growth, Pakistan is among the top 20 global producers in over 48 different agricultural commodities. “The country produces over 108m tonnes of agricultural commodities each year worth more than $13 billion in which kinnow enjoys major share in the produce.”
However, “It is unfortunate that kinnow growers, the real stakeholders, are not given the proper price for their products and every year, they were dependent on exporters mercy. Besides, the cost of inputs, especially fertilizers and pesticides, is unpredictable. High cost of electricity with heavy load shedding, they held, is another headache for them.
In spite of that last year mostly farmers were given Rs 500 per maund of the kinnow against the set price of Rs 700 by the exporters. “Regardless this year growers get good crop but failed to meet expenditures. “I think they would go to cultivate other crops if the situation remained the same. “This merits mentioning here that Pakistan, though a major kinnow producer, is still lagging behind in modern techniques when it comes to enhancing the value of kinnow exports,” he remarked.
Jawad further said to make exports sustainable we need to explore every year new markets with the help of government so that horticulture sector growers may get good rate for their product and accordingly they do more efforts for better quality.
He suggested we should learn from Australian Citrus Boards who developed a vibrant citrus industry in shortest period of time from farm to exports, he remarked. “As Australian expertise could be utilized to introduce and evaluate new varieties and in kinnow marketing strategy as well,” he added