Ensuring quality checks

Farmers need to be trained, told — again and again — about repercussions of their negligence to ensure quality...


Editorial July 23, 2015
t will need just two more similar interceptions for Pakistan to face a blanket ban on its mango exports, a fate similar to that of India. PHOTO: AFP

Despite the warning signs that should have been clear to Pakistan’s fruit exporters for some time now, they seemed to have paid little heed to them. They were unable to ensure that quality checks were in place at the farm level, resulting in three consignments already being intercepted on their way to European Union (EU) markets. It will need just two more similar interceptions for Pakistan to face a blanket ban on its mango exports, a fate similar to that of India, which found some of its fresh food exports slapped with a blanket ban last year.

As Pakistan already faces stiff competition from other countries, there is an urgent need to review the quality checks in place for our fresh food exports. The government and the relevant departments responsible for handling fruit exports have managed to make hot water treatment essential for all exports to the EU. As a result, only a few consignments were intercepted in 2014 after an unusually high number of 236 in 2013. However, this year Pakistan is in serious danger of losing one of its biggest export markets for mango. To be fair, all blame cannot be placed on the government as climatic hazards have disrupted production in Punjab. There has been a failure in placing quality checks at the basic farm level, with exporters relying more on checks placed at later stages. While the country’s fruit and vegetable associations, and the government can take some credit for the few quality checks that are in place, farmers, unaware of modern techniques and facing multiple threats ranging from unfavourable weather to floods, have been unable to fulfill their responsibility in this regard. Farmers need to be trained and told — again and again — about the repercussions of their negligence to ensure quality checks. While the government has a role to play here, the exporters should take some responsibility too and spend more money on ensuring quality at the farm level since their profit margins on exporting to the EU are quite high. All stakeholders need to play their due role to avoid a possible humiliation.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th,  2015.

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COMMENTS (1)

cautious | 5 years ago | Reply
there is an urgent need to review the quality checks in place for our fresh food exports
Sounds great .. rather vague and sounds a bit like finger pointing rather than a solution. . Visual inspection of fruit leaving the dock only accomplishes so much .. that's why countries that don't irradiate their fruit or impose water baths etc are likely to have issues. Further - it isn't an issue of "humiliation" and it's not the responsibility of the Pakistani govt to use taxpayer funds to address quality control issues that belong to the producers. If Pakistan wants clean Mango's then the people who grow mango's should step up and meet the QC issues associated with their product. Free market works .. try it.
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