KARACHI: The lack of vision and knowledge is the main reason that Pakistani exporters have yet to reach out to many untapped markets which have high potential for fruits and vegetables, according to Harvest Tradings Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jawad.
Harvest Tradings is a Pakistan-based professional exporter and supplier of agriculture products which specialises in mangoes, oranges, dates, rice and vegetables. The company is the first firm to acquire rights to export mangoes to the United States.
In an interview with The Express Tribune, Jawad said: “Pakistani agriculture products are the best in the world, but due to uneducated people in this industry, the sector has not excelled as required.“ He ranked Pakistan as the fifth largest producer of mangoes, fourth largest producer of dates and sixth largest producer of citrus.
“I established Harvest Tradings due to the enormous potential of Pakistan's horticulture products in the global market, especially in the light of the impact of globalisation and World Trade Organisation regime,“ Jawad explained.
The firm specialises both in local supply and export of agricultural products and has the ISO 22000 certification for processing according to international standards. “By the end of this year, we will get ISO 9000 and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification as well,“ he added.
Referring to international deals, the CEO informed that his firm was continuously striving to reach out to new markets. “In the beginning of this month, I met with ambassadors of Venezuela, Brazil and Paraguay. After successful talks, I am sure very soon we will be entering the Venezuelan market with our wheat and the Brazilian market with mangoes,“ he shared.
He said the company has already covered all of the Middle East and Malaysia and is currently working to venture into European, US and Canadian markets.
Speaking about exporting mangoes to the US for the first time, Jawad said, “We did not focus on this market before, but after the success of mango diplomacy, US buyers started corresponding with us for importing the fruit. Now this summer we plan to export a huge quantity for US citizens.“
“We have also proposed to the International Mango Organisation based in California to establish a joint venture with us from production to packaging,“ he added.
When asked about top competitors, Jawad said that Egypt, Australia and the US were the biggest competing countries for citrus fruits, while India and Yemen are competitors for mangoes and Bangladesh, Brazil and India challenge Pakistan in rice markets.
To a question, Jawad said that while he has not faced any obstacles in operating his business, the lack of development loans by the government, lack of initiatives by relevant export trade bodies and insignificant promotion efforts by commercial attaches based in foreign countries were a hindrance for firms keen to expand in global markets.
Jawad said that the company's future plans include expanding within Pakistan with a new product line, Harvest Vitals, and opening up more operations in all four provinces. At present, it is based in Islamabad.
The firm also plans to create strong linkages for mango and rice exports with Australia, Paraguay and other Latin American countries.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2011.
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