Fruits and vegetables export : Exploration of new markets proves beneficial

* Exports reach $625 million in 2013
Fruits and vegetables export : Exploration of new markets proves beneficial

KARACHI: Exploration of new markets for fruits and vegetables of the country has elicited positive results as evident from the fact that country's export has made a substantial jump of 16 percent during the last one year. 
According to former All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters Association (APFV) chairman Abdul Wahid, never before such a steep increase was witnessed in the export volume of fruits and vegetables in a one-year period as the total value of export stood at $625 million. The increase may be attributed owing to export to new valued markets of South Korea, Mauritius and Japan regarded as rewarding markets for the Pakistani exporters.
Besides export of potato, regarded as one of the most essential kitchen items, also took off for Middle East after a yawning gap of seven years from the current season and is expected to increase manifold in coming days ahead as the quality and nutritional value of the vegetable was highly appreciated by the importers which speaks volume of its future demand. The total export volume of potato was recorded at around 300,000 tonnes, which may be regarded as an achievement and herald better future for the growers and farmers who are receiving healthy rates for their hard work.
During the year 2012-13 new records were set for the export of kinnow, potato and onion as after a three years' gap, the export target for kinnow was also realised. Previous year the kinnow exporters had suffered colossal financial losses on account of fruit's poor yield and its high rates making its uncompetitive in the international market. 
Similarly a very high volume of around 2.5 million metric tonnes of onion was also exported to traditional markets across the globe and this can be attributed due to bumper Sindh crop which helped the exporters fulfil their commitments with foreign buyers.
The former PFVA chairman informed that with a view to improve the annual yield of all fruits and vegetables varieties and sustaining export goals over the period of time, the association realising the significance of research and development in this regard has started preparation of a national level roadmap in collaboration with all stakeholders including all agriculture universities of the country and concerned government departments.
In this regard several meetings had been held with Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial research and agriculture department of Karachi University for realising the goal of enhanced work in research and development sector, which would ultimately herald revolutionary changes in decades-old system of agriculture practices. 
Another major fruit exporter termed drastic and revolutionary measures for enhancing Pakistan's fruit export to substantial level as the need of the hour claiming exports of majority of fruits are disproportional compared to their annual yield.
Despite high demand of two major fruits of the country in overseas markets including kinnow and mango, their export figures manifest a dismal figure which is stagnant hovering around 200,000 to 300,000 metric tonnes for the last many years and there have been no substantial increase witnessed in their export volume. 
In many countries across the globe including India, Australia and Germany, the fruit export constitutes around 30 to 40 percent of total annual yield which is far high as compared to 10 to 12 percent of Pakistan's produce.
According to him, lack of support at the government level to augment efforts of exporters to enhance their export volume, short shelf life of majority of fruits in overseas markets, higher air tariff for mango and kinnow charged by the foreign airlines and complete monopoly of foreign shipping lines on Pakistani sea routes are identified as major deterrent factors hampering significant increase in export volume.
Furthermore exporters should undertake sustained marketing efforts in high-valued markets specially Japan and European countries where Pakistani fruits would receive higher reward as compared to Gulf-based markets where exporters prefer dumping their fruits in bulk. 

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