KARACHI: A lack of interest, information and prevalence of stereotypes about Russia kept Pakistani exporters from entering Russia. It was precisely around time the Europeans, Americans and even the Chinese moved back in and completely captured the Russian market.
The Russian governments decision to ban fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the United States and imposition sanctions by European Union, Australia, Canada and other countries on Moscow is a great opportunity for Pakistani exporters to enter into Russian food market.
Pakistan could become a major exporter of kinnow, mango, potatoes, rice and processed food and fruit juices.
Russian imports included food products from UK, USA and EU worth $10 billion and the Asian countries especially Indian firms are rushing towards Russian market to fill the gap.
Farooq Afzal Chairman Pakistan Russia Business Council (PRBC) of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry said a visit to any supermarket in a Russian city would show how much the country depended on imported food.
One would be hard pressed to find anything of Pakistani origin besides certain rice and kinnow.
Pakistani exporters of food products would be well served to get in touch with knowledgeable (PRBC) of FPCCI.
Many members of PRBC in the Russian capital have their counterparts and have a great degree of expertise about the complex market.
For Pakistani food products to do well in Russia, a combination of good marketing and attractive packaging is important along with quality products.
PRBC has worked out a strategy to export 8 items, Russia usually buys from the US and European Union. These include fruits, vegetable, sports items, sports garments, leather garments and products pharmaceuticals and textiles etc, said Afzal.
He suggested a trade route Pakistan along with the two countries could push for marked progress on the North-South Transport corridor. The corridor project envisages a rail and road route that connects ports on Pakistan south coast to China Karakorum Kashghar and former Soviet republics right up to Russia.
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