Pakistan Fruits and Vegetable Exporters Association (PFVEA) is ready to fund new agricultural research in leading universities of the country to overcome the threats posed by fruit and vegetable diseases, PFVEA Chairman Waheed Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
This commitment from the private sector has come after recent meetings with academia and experts in which it requested their help in controlling pre-harvest and post-harvest problems, especially controlling diseases that were hindering productivity and exports of the food sector.
Leading exporters believe that the growing issues of the sector like diseases and low per acre yield are almost impossible to overcome without the help of latest research being done in local universities.
“Research is a costly subject, but we are ready to fund any research in local universities that can help improve working conditions and implement best practices in the fruit and vegetable sector,” said Ahmed.
Ahmed has recently met with the director general of Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) and chairman and faculty of Agriculture and Agribusiness Management Department, University of Karachi and shared concerns of exporters and growers. According to recent agreements, the academia will conduct seminars and workshops for fruit and vegetable growers, exporters and other stakeholders of the industry.
The biggest shock that jolted the fruit and vegetable sector came in late June this year when the United Kingdom’s quarantine department rejected numerous consignments of Pakistani mangoes due to the presence of fruit flies. Though, the issue of fruit flies and other such diseases is not new to Pakistan, the wakeup call from UK’ quarantine department made exporters realise that this is the time to act against food diseases or perish forever.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2013.