Kinnow has become a major export item of Pakistan but it has largely failed to reach its true potential because of a lack of proper focus and research. The potential is tremendous as Pakistani kinnow is the only fruit whose juice costs as little as a cup of tea said CEO Harvest Tradings and Member Export, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) Ahmad Jawad.
Ahmad Jawad said that kinnow has already been introduced in more than 20 countries of the world, but Pakistan has failed to capitalise on this because of a lack of proper marketing and lack of research into new varieties.
“Pakistan loses 40 percent of the citrus production in the post harvest process due to poor harvest practices, harvest delay, lack of disease management and extreme weather conditions. The annual production of citrus on an average is estimated about two million tons, of which 90% is kinnow,” said Jawad.
At present, there is little or no government intervention and assistance. There are no export zones, no dry ports, and not even adequate natural gas to power factories. The lack of planning is a key issue. “In 20011-12 export of Pakistani kinnow is expected to be around two million tons against a target of three million tons,” said Jawad.
Currently, the world market for citrus is valued $2.135 billion in which Pakistan’s share has remained $33 million per annum, just around 2.5 percent.
Jawad also said “Pakistani kinnow has so far failed to make a foothold in European markets because of its high seed content and has consequently been limited to lower end markets.”
Jawad said, now that Pakistan has been able to develop new varieties of seedless kinnow there should be a positive impact on export numbers. “We are hoping for at the most three to five seeds per fruit compared to the current 20 to 25 seeds,” said Jawad.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2012.