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Pakistan to export 4800 tonnes Afghani pomegranates

KARACHI (October 05 2007): Pakistani traders have started export of Kandahari Anaar (pomegranates) with an export target of around 4800 tonnes worth over $4.08 million from September 20, 2007, exporters told Business Recorder on Thursday.

Thousands of tonnes of Kandahari Anaar, which is informally brought into Pakistan through land routes, are sold by the Afghan traders in the local markets on a 7 percent commission, they said.

`They (Afghan traders) pay a nominal duty ranging from 1 to 2 rupees per kilogram for their huge consignments of pomegranates on the Pak-Afghan border and sell them in Pakistan charging a 7 percent commission`, the exporters added.

They said the countries and regions, which have submitted their import orders for the Kandahari pomegranates, include Sri Lanka, Dubai, Europe and Far East while Bangladesh would also import a small quantity.

Exporters said that Sri Lanka, Dubai, Europe and Far Eastern countries would import around 1300 tonnes worth $1.105 million, 2000 tonnes worth $1.7 million, 500 tonnes worth $0.425 million and 1000 tonnes worth $0.850 million of pomegranates from Pakistan respectively.

`We would export the Afghani pomegranates to these countries at an average rate of 850 dollars per tonne`, they said. They said that pomegranate exports from Pakistan had been started from September 20 and it would last till November this year.

`So far we have exported around 300 tonnes of pomegranates to Sri Lanka, Dubai and a very small quantity to Bangladesh`, said the exporters. They said that since the pomegranates` trade is conducted in an informal way both the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan possess no record or data of the across-the-border trade.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Iqbal, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board (PHDEB) in a telephonic talk from Lahore told this scribe that the countries with shared borders always keep some `loose arrangements` for border trade.

`The pomegranate trade via Pak-Afghan border can not be termed as illegal as such kind of trade transactions are undertaken under the loose arrangements the bordering countries usually keep with mutual consensus`, the COO, PHDEB said.

On the status of pomegranate exports from Pakistan he said the export which is made in a very low quantity is legal. `The government does not put any restrictions on this sort of exports as traders buy the exportable commodities from formal markets`, he added.

The COO, however, proposed that the government of Pakistan should take appropriate steps to encourage the farmers and ensure that the Kandahari Anaar, which has an extensive demand in the international market, is grown in the country. `In view of an extensive international demand for the Kandahari Anaar Pakistan should itself promote the growth of this variety`, he added.

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