KARACHI: With the mango season around the corner, fruit exporters and the government have increased their efforts to make hot water treatment (HWT) compulsory for all mango exports to the European Union (EU). This would be to ensure that only quality fruits are exported.
Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) and Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFS&R) recently met at the ministry to discuss issues of the industry.
Recently, the EU decided to ban the import of five types of fruits and vegetables from India over issues of the presence of pests and fruit flies in consignments.
Industry officials say that since Pakistan exports almost similar types of fruits and vegetables to the EU, it should be more conscious in its product quality to remain in the market.
The industry proposals to Federal Secretary NFS&R were aimed at the standardisation and quality improvement through research and development (R&D) while making short and long-term policies to address issues related to the exports.
The members of PFVA, led by former chairman Waheed Ahmed, informed the ministry that precautionary measures are needed to be taken to avoid the possible restriction on Pakistani mango exports to the EU after the ban on imports from India.
The participants discussed how they could make HWT compulsory for mango exports to the EU from this season year to reduce the risks of fruit flies. The first move will be taken by the quarantine department, which will inspect the Hot Water Treatment facility in Punjab.
“The ministry can help facilitate exporters in using HWT facilities already existing in Karachi, where the government can provide around 50% subsidy to the exporters on using HWT facility,” said the former chairman.
At present, there are three HWT plants in Karachi in which two are private and one is public-private joint venture. These plants are internationally approved and they meet all quarantine standards.
He suggested the government to make it compulsory for the growers to hang fruit fly catchers in their farms to reduce the threat of fruit flies.
Exporters urged the government officials to make a common platform of all universities and agriculture research institutes in the country. This would help the industry to learn from new research and improve quality of fruits besides removing hindrances in exports and marketing of the perishable items, they added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2014.