KARACHI: The Russian ban on fruit and vegetable imports from western countries is proving lucrative for Pakistan as it has already made 41% of oranges exports to Moscow during the current season.
Pakistan has exported 0.24 million tons – 80% of the 0.3-million-ton export target for oranges (kinnows) this year – since December 2014, the month when shipments formally started.
Of the 0.24 million tons, 0.1 million tons, that is 41% of exports, were sent to Russia where the citrus fruit had better demand in the wake of restrictions on the import of various commodities from European countries, said All Pakistan Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Importers and Merchant Association (PFVA) Research and Development Chairman Waheed Ahmed.
The cheaper price of the fruit was another reason for enhanced exports to Moscow this year.
He said that Pakistan was likely to meet the export target of 0.3 million tons and earn $200 million during the season. The expected export of 60,000 to 70,000 tons during the next 30 to 40 days will help in meeting the target.
According to Waheed, the horticulture sector is flourishing with the passage of time and by introducing research and development and new varieties of citrus fruits, the country may easily export oranges worth $1 billion.
For that purpose, the PFVA has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the internationally renowned research institute CABI and Pakistan’s Agricultural Research Council. Besides, the association is coordinating with various universities and research institutions to improve the quality of fruits and vegetables in the country.
He also appreciated the coordination and support of the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Federal Board of Revenue and customs authorities in reaching the export target this year.
PFVA has also decided to organise an award distribution ceremony in Sargodha to encourage the businessmen who has played an important role in enhancing exports of oranges this season.
Last year, the association had held a similar ceremony to give the award on record mango exports to the European Union (EU). Pakistan made record earnings on mango exports to the EU due to the trade bloc’s ban on imports of Indian fruit – the main mango exporter and competitor of Pakistan.
With Russia on the top, the Middle East, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, eastern Europe, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Canada, Mauritius and Malaysia are prominent buyers of Pakistani oranges during the current fiscal year.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2015.