Horticulture industry: FPCCI stresses R&D to push exports to $7b

Pakistan’s share is only 0.3% in global horticulture exports

Our Correspondent December 19, 2016

KARACHI: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Monday challenged claims of the Ministry of Commerce which said that the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) had recently been restructured.

“TDAP has become an event management company and a source of foreign trips for bureaucrats of the commerce ministry. It has lost its relevance because of the country’s changing export base,” the FPCCI said in a statement.

FPCCI’s Horticulture Exports Head Ahmad Jawad said, “Practically, we don’t see any improvement.”

He added horticulture exports could grow to iconic proportions and touch $7 billion in the next decade if research and development (R&D) was vigorously pursued and required infrastructure was built. Pakistan’s share in global horticulture exports is just 0.3%, which he said was highly unfortunate due to low priority attached by the TDAP and Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company.

“Pakistan’s fruits and vegetables have great export potential that needs to be harnessed to capture world markets where our mangoes, dates and kinnows, in particular, are in great demand,” he said.

Similarly, in rice trade, exports originating from Sindh and Punjab were also neglected.

He suggested that the only way to capture the global market was to process, add value and improve the shelf life of perishable commodities, which would also benefit small farmers.

“I urge that the FPCCI and other departments play a prominent role in enhancing exports of the fresh produce to increase export volumes,” he said.

According to Jawad, apart from the few unexpected challenges like floods, the main cause of import of fruits and vegetables is the lack of attention to infrastructure and R&D coupled with the tradition of resolving problems only when they get out of proportion.

He asked the Ministry of Commerce and Planning Commission to draft and implement the horticulture export policy for 2015-20 on priority and make allocation for the industry in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).

Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2016.

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