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Kinnow export to Russia starts this week

KARACHI (November 28 2007): Following the lifting of ban by Russia last week, Pakistan will start exporting kinnow in a day or two, officials of Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board (PHDEB) told Business Recorder on Tuesday.

This would enable Pakistan achieve a record kinnow export target of 0.225 million tons this season. Last season, only 55,000 tons kinnow were exported to Russia as a ban was imposed when thrips and mite viruses were found in the fruit by the authorities in Russia. Officials said that the first container was almost ready to leave Bhalwal by Wednesday or Thursday. Bhalwal, in Sargodha district, is basically a kinnow growing area producing 82 percent of total fruit produced in the country.

PHDEB has taken good care to follow the strict quarantine requirements to meet the standards set by Russia.

A Russian team of experts, along with officials from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Minfal), PHDEB and Quarantine Department, is stationed at Bhalwal to ensure that virus-free kinnow are loaded in the containers. Once the container is loaded it would be sealed by both Russian and PHDEB officials.

The Russian team is likely to stay in Bhalwal for about a month to make sure that quarantine restrictions are followed in letter and in spirit. Pakistan, officials said, is likely to earn a record income from kinnow export, which formally started from October 27.

SOUTH ASIA, MIDDLE EAST: Far East and Central Asian Republic markets. Kinnow shipments have also started going to Sri Lanka, Manila, Dubai and Almaty.

The country should be able to export around 0.2 million tons kinnow, but with the lifting of ban by Russia the figure could stretch to 0.225 million tons. To save the image of Pakistan in international market, a permanent solution has to be found for viruses like thrip and mite, exporters said.

Pakistani kinnow, which has a remarkable appearance and taste, is already facing blemishes problem and the reputation damage would be awaiting if viruses go unnoticed, they warned. About the recently applied EurepGAP standard by some kinnow orchards, they said that the European quarantine standard covered 10,000 acres area, which is a small portion of the production area.

The PHDEB is in the process of putting up mechanism for pre-shipment inspection (PSI) to ensure that only quality kinnow, I standardised weight, gets to the foreign markets, which mainly are Russian Federation, Afghanistan, Iran, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

PHDEB is trying to develop PakGAP standards to prepare the horticulture sector for GlobalGAP (former EurepGAP) GlobalGAP is a single integrated standard with modular applications for different product groups, ranging from plant and livestock production to plant propagation materials and compound feed manufacturing.

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