KARACHI: Pakistan has decided to send mangoes to head of states of existing countries and those that could be potential markets.
Apart from strengthening diplomatic ties, the initiative is aimed at introducing the fruit to new international markets in a bid to further boost export of Pakistani fruits and vegetables and highlight investment opportunities in the horticulture sector.
Pakistani mangoes can be effectively promoted through commercial attaches and Pakistani embassies operating abroad.
This was discussed during a high-level meeting chaired by President Arif Alvi. Federal Minister for National Food Security Fakhar Imam was also present in the meeting apart from other high-ranking officials.
Also participating in the meeting, a delegation of All Pakistan Fruit & Vegetable Exporters, Importers & Merchants Association (PFVA) briefed the meeting about production, quality and issues related to exports and supply chains.
PFVA Patron-in-Chief Waheed Ahmed also informed the president about the challenges with regards to enhancement of export of Pakistani mangoes.
He explained the current state of horticulture exports and why Pakistan’s share in the international market stands at less than 0.5% for this sector.
The officials were told that international trade of fruits and vegetables was worth around $200 billion, while Pakistan’s exports in this sector had stood at $651 million in 2018-19, which is just 0.33% of the total revenue.
Interestingly, Pakistan ranks sixth in the world in terms of mangoes production and fifth in terms of mango exporting countries in the world having around 5% share.
During a comprehensive presentation focused on export of mangoes, Waheed said that Pakistan exports mangoes to 40 countries of the world and by adopting meticulous planning and removal of barriers restricting exports, Pakistan can gain access to bigger and high value international markets. The anticipated international markets are USA, Japan, China, South Korea and Australia.
The climate changes, scarcity of water, lack of research and development, primitive agriculture practices, inadequate cold storage facilities and transportation issues were highlighted as the major challenges facing the sector.
Waheed stressed the need for formulating a special forum that could work to evaluate the issues related to the horticulture sector and find realistic solutions in addition to ensuring provision of facilities.
He quoted recent example of successful coordination among the concerned ministries, which promptly resolved a serious issue of opening of the Pak-Iran border in the shortest time period of just three days, facilitating export of mangoes to Iran.
The formation of proposed special forum would play a vital role in speedy implementation of timely decision taken by the forum to ensure facilitation of exports. It was also suggested during the meeting that realistic policies be developed for airlines and shipping agencies so that exports’ consignments can be promptly taken care of and timely transported.
Capacity building of Plant Protection Department and effective utilisation of its capabilities, launching of promotional activities through sponsorship of PFVA, activation of PHDEC (Pakistan Horticulture Development Company) and payment of pending claims of DLTL through approved funds were also part of the suggestions in the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2020.
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