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14 factories allowed to export citrus

LAHORE (December 19 2007): Russia has lifted ban on importing Kinnow from Pakistan and a delegation of its Quarantine Department currently visiting Pakistan has allowed 14 factories to start exporting citrus.

`The export has started from last week and so far 75 containers have been dispatched from Pakistan for Russia and reopening of this market will help Pakistan to cross export of 225,000 tons of Kinnow,` said Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board Chairman Saadat Eijaz Qureshi on Tuesday.

He told reporters that Russia had banned the import of all fruits and vegetables from Pakistan after finding `khapra beetle` in a rice consignment last year.

He said the board and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock had tried hard in convincing Russians to send a delegation of its Plant Protection Department to see that this beetle had nothing to do with citrus. The eight-member delegation spent a month in Pakistan, checking the whole chain from product to its processing and packaging, he added.

Qureshi said that the board had submitted a list of 30 factories out of which the Russian delegation approved 14 to restart exporting since these had all the necessary facilities meeting the Russian standards.

He said that Russia had a 20 percent share in total Pakistan`s export of kinnow and approval of quality standards being maintained by these 14 factories by Russian delegation would help Pakistan to cross 225,000 tons mark this year expecting to fetch around $40-45 million in total.

About other markets, he said Pakistan this year would also export 40,000 tons of kinnow to Iran, while two years ago it was only 22,000 tons. Shamoon Sadiq said that as part of diversification of markets, PHDEB was also making efforts to look Eastern European countries as other potential markets.

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