Govt may appoint CEO PHDEC from private sector

KARACHI: Chairman Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Standing Committee on Horticulture & Food Exports Ahmad Jawad said that government may appoint CEO Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) from the private sector in order to address and resolve horticulture export sector problems as per its mandate.

Jawad said though the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is to increase the country exports up to $ 50 billion, but without horticulture sector it may be impossible to achieve. It is very unfortunate that Pakistan contributed only 0.3% in global horticulture exports in a billions dollar trade sector, despite we have an independent organization of the horticulture sector in the form of PHDEC.

Pakistan horticulture exports stood at $ 400 million only, where as India were at $ 2.5 billion and China were $ 18 billion in this sector. We must learn from our neighbors who performed so well, Jawad remarked.

The PHDEC has role of a facilitator to lay down export strategy, create linkages, capacity building of the exporters and product development but unfortunately we never saw these types of initiatives .

It is interesting to know that PHDEC had been created due to the enormous potential of Pakistan’s horticulture products to the global market.

Jawad briefed that in the absence of a single ministry or institution responsible for development at all levels of the horticulture value chain, it was considered important to set up PHDEC, which was formerly known as PHDEB to uplift this sector, especially in light of the impact of globalisation and WTO regime.

But PHDEC has failed to capitalize due to internal rifts within the organization and as result, private sector and exports would suffer. Even Exporters had no other choice to look towards TDAP for their issues, he added.

If we look on the export potential we see even European Union (EU) is one of the most attractive markets for Pakistani fruits and vegetables because of its size and the paying capacity of its consumers. Within the EU, countries like Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands are major importers of fresh Pakistani fruits and vegetables. We are one of the largest producers of dates, mangoes and kinnow, but our export volumes are negligible. We may understand the private sector and associations have limited role for policy making. This is the responsibility of the policy makers that they draft and implement through the help of private sector. “I feel it is high time PHDEC needs to be restructured and government may appoint a competent CEO, who must have the related background to run the organization effectively,” he added.

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